Florence is a city filled with so much history, beauty, art, architecture, and culture… but most importantly, it was filled with my family at Thanksgiving!
I was STILL sick from my Prague trip, but I arrived in Italy ready for good food, wine, and of course, people. My trip to Italy was by far the most frustrating experience I’ve had traveling in Europe. Pretty much everything that could have gone wrong, did go wrong. BUT I made it, and met my aunt, uncle, and cousins at Piazzale Michelangelo just in time for the sunset. My first impression of Florence was this beautiful view of the entire city. We had a wonderful dinner (pumpkin ravioli!) and great conversations.
We started the next day bright and early, heading to the Duomo. Unfortunately, tickets were sold out to climb the Duomo, but we did climb the Bell Tower, which was still breathtaking. The staircase was treacherous and tiring, but we somehow we made it to the top, and when we did, the view was worth every huff, puff, and drop of sweat.
We waked back down and entered the cathedral where we saw the dome from the bottom. I was thankful to have my camera to take some pictures and zoom in to see the detail of the beautiful artwork. The cathedral was constructed from 1296-1436; however, it was built on the site of an ancient 5th century structure. Despite the large number of tourists, I could sense the holiness of this place, especially while standing at the alter, under the dome.
Next stop: Baptistery of Saint John. The building rendered me speechless. It is one of the oldest buildings in Florence, constructed between 1059-1128. The gold ceilings and beautiful frescos were truly incredible.
I think my favorite part of the day was when we reached a bridge and saw the pure blue sky and white clouds reflected on the water. I could have stayed on that bridge forever.
It was a quick trip but a very meaningful one. I am looking forward to returning to Italy—to Rome next time—when my finals are over.
Special shout out to my cousin, Heather, who studied in Florence this semester and served as our official tour guide!