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Report 1247: A Not-So-Slow First Trip to Italy and Budapest

By andasamo from Nova Scotia, Canada, Spring 2006

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Page 5 of 14: Daytrip to Florence ...

photo by Andasamo

The beautiful Giotto's Bell Tower

Up early to catch the train to Florence. L wanted to at least glimpse some of Florence's wonders before she headed home. So I booked the “Original Florence in One Day” tour in advance, thinking we’d be better off with a guided tour. Mom and I would return later in the trip but this day was a treat for L.

Out of the train station and straight on to ... er, where were we? OK, I admit it; we got lost on the way to the tour office. But we bought a map and managed to find the street, although we were late. Lo and behold, there was our tour group coming toward us, with our guide Freya calling out, “You must be the Hogansons, join right in!” We didn’t miss a thing. Freya had an amazing knowledge of Renaissance Florence. The morning was spent walking around the historic centre absorbing Freya’s intriguing stories of the Medici and Strozzi families among others, and viewing Orsanmichele, the Ponte Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria and the Duomo. Break for (hazelnut) gelato and then a tour of the Uffizi. Talk about overwhelming (there’s that word again.) Freya explained how we could see the progression from the Dark Ages to the Renaissance as we went through the rooms. I especially loved Cimabue’s Madonna; it has a grace and gentleness that I found so beautiful.

After lunch at the Uffizi cafe, our final tour was the Accademia. Our guide held us back at the entrance of the room to explain Michelangelo’s partially completed Slave statues and I am glad she did so because they are so powerful and worth one’s attention, but as soon as David comes into view, all else is eclipsed. Now I finally and completely understand what can possibly be so incredible about a statue. I won’t try to describe how it feels to be gaze upon this work of art, it must be seen in person. All I can say is that we spent far longer than we ever imagined because we simply couldn’t pull our eyes away.

Reluctantly we left, after a final backward glance, and walked to the train station to head back to Rome.

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