Thursday, May 1, 2014

Italy: Fired Up About Firenze

Since Taylor C. was so generous with her hospitality, we stayed in Arezzo for two nights and used our day in the middle to take a trip by train (what else?) to the famed city of Florence. 
The place was surprisingly packed despite it being the bare beginning of tourist season. I imagine the proximity of Easter was a large draw.
We braved the streets without a paper map and moved blindly through the maze of tourists and vendors. My first purchase of the day was raspberry gelato for breakfast. The fruit base made me feel slightly better about my nutrition choices. 
We found a giant arch near a carousel that probably is really significant and continued under it until we reached the river. We walked along the edge until we accidentally found the right narrow street that spilled us into Piazza del Duomo. The cathedral was the most spectacular building I saw. The intricacies of the architecture was flawless and mesmerizing. We walked around outside for quite a while for two reasons. 1) the beauty deserved a glance from every angle. And 2) we honestly could not figure out how to get in.
The lines snaked everywhere and there were no clear signs about where to purchase tickets or if we even needed tickets.
It was definitely a problem that could wait until after lunch.
So we found a nearby cafe where we all ordered wine and I got a pizza. 
Our immediate after lunch plans were all about Michelangelo's David. We saw the replica standing in Piazza della Signoria near the Fountain of Neptune, but we were after the real thing. We found where David lived, but guess what? It was closed. No entry on Mondays. We really know how to pick exploration days. 
So we headed back to the Duomo, ready to navigate the tricky lines. We stood for hours to get tickets and then we stood in another line to climb the stairs to the top of the dome. Personally, I think it was worth it. 
To look out and see Italy for miles was perfection. 
We spent the rest of our afternoon popping in and out of shops (the Lindt chocolate store included) before spying a tiny pizza restaurant selling it by the slice on the corner. I don't think there's anything wrong with eating pizza twice a day in Italy. So we did it. And it was one of the best slices of the trip! 
We had some trouble finding the train station again at the end of the day, but we finally made it back to Arezzo where we went out for Japanese food with our hosts. 
Weird? Maybe. But it was a pretty welcome change for my taste buds after subsisting on Italian for two days straight. I ordered chicken skewers and reveled in the protein.
In the morning we packed our bags (and freshly washed, though still damp, clothes) for Rome! A dream come true for A Very Lucky Girl. 

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