that time I went to Europe: part three – Florence

As my friend Mark suggested a little while back, I am going to start a series of write-ups on my trip to Europe. Really it’s an excuse to share a bunch of my pictures, more than anything. You can find part one here, and part two here.

The morning after Monte Carlo was an early rise. The boat was docking at 6 am, and we had to be ready to go. But really, it was a wonder I could sleep at all.

Being half Italian, I have spent my life dreaming of the moment I would first step foot into Italy, and how amazing it would be. For that reason, it’s a wonder I slept at all.

My alarm went off around 4:45 am and I groggily began to get ready with Jennifer and my Aunt. We made our way to the breakfast buffet, then back to room to grab our things. I wanted to be at the railings of the boat when we docked, and soak in the view of Italy, like a ray of sunshine.

As we docked in Livorno, this was my first view of Italy:

A small lighthouse with the waning fog behind it. It was perfect.

Then I turned to the actual dock. The city was beautiful, but there was some little thing detracting from it.

I wonder what it could have been…

Once you looked past Bugs and the gang though, it was a beautiful sight to behold.

From Livorno, we had to take a train to Florence. The train ride was a solid hour, and we all tried to take in the countryside as our eyes drooped with the rocking of the train. Some of us were not so successful. I won’t post pictures though, so as not to incur wrath from family members.

I didn’t get to see much of the famed Tuscan countryside, and what I managed to capture in pictures was blurred by the speed of the train. But Florence made up for this mishap.

I should preface this section of my story by saying that I had a very specific plan for Florence. It is the backdrop for one of my absolute favourite novels: The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant. The night before arriving, I combed through her book and made a list of the places I needed to see, and their significance in the Renaissance or the novel. I used that list like my bible on that day in Florence; perhaps even to the point where every family member ended up hating me a little. Sorry guys.

First on my list was the Santa Maria Novella. In this church Dunant first saw the painting that inspired the book’s protagonist, Allesandra. There are no pictures allowed in the Santa Maria Novella. But this is what it looks like on the outside:

Next on my list of must-sees was Il Duomo. Though it didn’t really need to be on my list, because you couldn’t not see this church. Officially called Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower, this church is the third largest in the world. There is no one picture I have to show you the entirety of this place, so I’ll just throw a couple out there and let you piece it together for yourselves.
Literally the best picture I managed to get of the dome.
Here’s another head’s up for you: being the amaaaaazing point-and-shoot-illiterate photographer that I am, pretty much every picture taken inside a church came out blurry. That’s just something we all have to deal with. When I go to Italy again one day, I promise I will get Liam to help me take better pictures and share them with you as compensation for the ones I have for you today (and for the rest of the series). So let’s just grit our teeth and get through these quickly:
The cool thing that you can kind of see in the middle picture is a 24 hour clock that runs on “Italian time,” which means 00:00 is at sunset. See? It was kind of worth the blurry pictures, because we all learned something.
Next on the Amanda’s Crazy Person tour was the Basilica of Santa Croce, aka where all the cool Italians either are buried, or have tributes to them.
Note Dante Allegheri in the corner!
Now, luckily for all of us, some of my pictures of the monuments came out kind of alright.
Marconi, who is important to Newfoundland as well
Galileo Galilei
Nicolo Machiavelli
If you’re curious who else was there, and ended up too blurry to be seen on my camera, check out the list here.
Next up was Piazza Della Signoria. These days, you can see the Fountain of Neptune, complete with a statue of Poseidon.
Once upon a time, it was where Savonarola’s bonfire of the vanities took place.
Not far from Poseidon was a copy of the David. Neat.
We then made a quick stop for some genuine Italian gelato, and made our way to Ponte Vecchio. There was less picture taking, and more souvenier shopping here, but I managed to snap this pretty shot of a bridge over the Arno.
After that, it was time to catch the train back to Livorno, board the ship again, and make our way to the next port: Rome.

9 thoughts on “that time I went to Europe: part three – Florence

  1. Susi Letter says:

    I´ve been to Florence too this Augus! Know all the sights! 🙂


  2. Amanda says:

    It's such a wonderful place! I can't wait to go back one day.


  3. L-Diggitty says:

    Everything looks so beautiful! I've always wanted to go to Italy too… I've never read “The Birth of Venus.” I might have to give it a whirl – I've been in need of some new reading material these days!


  4. Amanda says:

    Italy was wonderful. I can't wait to go back one day with more time. A few hours in each port is nowhere near enough time to soak it all in and appreciate what you're seeing.

    And you should absolutely read that book if you're looking for something new! It's wonderful. One of my top three.


  5. Nikki says:

    Just found you through The Blogess… My husband and I are headed to Cinque Terre and Florence in about 10 days. Loved your sneak peek!


  6. Amanda says:

    Thank you Nikki! I hope your trip is wonderful! Italy is such a beautiful place.


  7. […] bunch of my pictures, more than anything. You can find part one here, part two here, part three here, and part four here. The day we docked in Naples, Jennifer and I decided to be brave. Instead of […]


  8. […] bunch of my pictures, more than anything. You can find part one here, part two here, and part three here. Civitavecchia We docked early in the port town of Civitavecchia, about an hour and a half from […]


  9. […] first time I visited Florence, I knew there was something special about this place; there was something that made me feel […]


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