Vacation Photos: Florence, pt. 1

Via della Vigna Nuova

Galleria degli Uffizi

The Birth of Venus

Florence

Rain

Ponte alla Carraia

Bicycles, Santa Trinita

Bicycle, Florence

Bicycle, Florence

Florence

Reflection, Piazza Santo Spirito

Florence

Florence

Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Santa Trinita

Does anyone remember this old Kodak commercial from the 90s? A couple is looking through photos from their honeymoon in Hawaii, and after everything the wife says (“It was romantic,” and, “It was exotic.”), the husband says, “It rained.” That’s what our time in Florence felt like. It rained! We went to the Uffizi Gallery and saw Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus.” It rained. We ate some of the most delicious gelato on the trip. It rained. We had lunch at a teensy prosciutteria (aptly named La Prosciutteria) where they slice cured meats to order; I had prosciutto and herbed ricotta with honey and it was out of this world. And then it rained. We walked to a sprawling indoor market and ate a delicious meal at a little lunch counter run by an old man named Rocco. And oh, yes, it rained.

But even all that rain couldn’t put a damper on how wonderful of a city it is. It’s more quaint than Rome, and just lovely. I think it was my favorite city out of everywhere we visited in Italy, in sort of a Golidlocks way: smaller than Rome, but bigger than Siena. Juuuust right. It’s visually stunning, too, a real treat to wander and explore. And since so much of the city is clustered right against the Arno river, you’re always crossing bridges and being afforded gorgeous vistas. The whole city felt safe and inviting, no matter where we trekked (and we covered quite a bit of ground in the three days we were there).

We did get some sunny patches in between all that rain. You know what else there was a lot of? Bikes! Bicycles everywhere. Old, young, and everyone in between rode a bike. What a life! Perhaps my favorite thing about life in Italy was the daily occurrence of ‘apertivo.’ Usually between the hours of 6-8pm, with some variance, bars offer a generous buffet of cold and hot dishes you are free to stuff your face with for just the purchase of a cocktail. It’s the most magical concept (and one that would never work in the states without contributing to our already raging obesity epidemic) and while you could technically make an entire meal out of just the apertivo offerings, we always followed it up with a full dinner, because it’s Italy, and you don’t pass up dinner. Anyway, apertivo was my favorite, but my second favorite thing was how little reliance there is on automobiles. (This is true for everywhere I’ve been in Europe, adding just one more thing to the column of “Things They Get Right,” along with universal healthcare and an emphasis on quality of life in general.) Buses were always packed, locals walked everywhere even in the rain, and almost everyone owns a bicycle. We’d hear the happy chime of a bike bell with regularity, a noise I will forever associate with the small, crooked alleys of Florence, along with the sound of bike wheels on damp streets, like someone peeling off long strips of tape.

Did I mention it rained?

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June 9, 2015 / art / photo / Travel / LEAVE A COMMENT / 20

20 comments

  • But, wow, I’m stuck by the similarities that Florence has with Paris! Isn’t that right? A bit more… structured, maybe, missing the French balconies.. But otherwise..! And also. Here in Paris, as you might know already… It rains.

    • It reminded me of Paris too, Emelie! Definitely missing those Haussmann buildings, but the similarities are really strong, visually and culturally. I love the rain in Paris, and I ended up loving it in Italy, too, but I just didn’t know it rained so much there! Even the locals were surprised by the inclement weather. I always figured Italy was sunshine 24/7 ;) It was a learning lesson I was happy to receive! xo

  • OMG, OMG, OMG! These are stunning! I HAVE to go to Florence! You have such an eye!

    • You would LOVE Florence, probably more than Rome. It’s a few speeds slower here, but still so wonderful. xo

  • I thought the same thing as Emelie: that first picture (and many others) reminded me of France! :)
    You managed to capture your rainy days beautifully. Florence looks gorgeous.

    • Thank you so much, Charlotte!! I definitely picked up the French vibe while we were there. I think it’s those ubiquitous green pharmacy signs that do it ;) Haha. xo

  • The reflection photo is beautiful!! Rain is my most favourite thing in the world, so what you just described is my idea of the perfect holiday and I’m horribly jealous!
    Maybe I need to move to Florence. I want to be where the rain is.

    • Aw, thank you Lauren! We were walking to apertivo and saw a guy all but laying on the street with his camera and, being the nosy Nelly I am, I had to take a peek. He was getting that shot of the reflection in the puddle! So I did the same thing, haha ;)
      You would love Florence, it’s impossible not to. But I was told that it never rains like that, that we must’ve brought it with us because the weather was so out of place. If you want rain, Paris or London is the place to be! :) xo

  • beautiful. Italy is such an amazing place. rain or shine xoxo

    • It really, truly is. I know I complained about it, but the rain made it sooo much more special for me. xo

  • La onzième photo est extraordinaire, ce reflet dans l’eau est incroyable. Florence est une ville fabuleuse et la galerie des offices est un musée qui laisse des souvenirs impérissables. Lorsqu’on voyage, le bonheur de la découverte et le plaisir de l’instant vécu font oublier la tristesse de la pluie…

    • Merci, Veronique! J’adore la tristesse de la pluie, c’est tres belle pour moi. Mais vous avez raison, le bonheur de voyager peux faire tous bien. (Je ne sais pas si c’est les bons mots?). Vous êtes un poet, vraiment. xoxo

  • These photos are gorgeous! I am in awe of all the beautiful architecture!

    • Thank you, Valerie!! I loved the architecture there as well. Coming from the states where our oldest buildings are, what, 250 years old? Florence felt so magical in comparison! xo

  • There’s people, people in your. Photo’s! Now more people. Well, you are an American Girl in Italy after all.

    • People! They exist in Italy! ;) xoxo

  • So, did it rain at all during your trip? …

    I love your commentary on how things are over there. (Apertivo sounds amaaaaazing!) It is really amazing how different everything is between here and Europe… just a different state of mind entirely, which leads to all of the differences that you mentioned. I love that there is not such an emphasis on cars there! (And we wonder why people are so much slimmer in Europe…) I drive a Nissan Versa and when I visited my parents in Switzerland last year they mentioned that over there, that’s considered a big car. Yet here, I can’t tell you how many comments I’ve heard about how small my car is. And the rain… god forbid anyone gets wet here – it’s a sea of umbrellas any time there’s the slightest drizzle. Perhaps if we got outside a little more often we would appreciate it!

    • It rained ;)

      I have lots to say about the cultural and lifestyle differences between here and Europe, but you’re right, it’s an entirely different world. The emphasis over there seems to be on living a good life and here it’s working to live. Enjoyment seems to take a backseat over here, even in small ways like buying fresh flowers or something. The differences are vast, and that’s not to say they have it all figured out (hello, Greece’s economy). I don’t know. I got a giggle out of your car story. :) It’s so true! xo

  • I’ve heard from multiple people that Florence is their favourite city in Italy – I must go! The rain looks so romantical

    • That’s what we were told by everyone who’d visited Italy, too. And we totally get it now. You would love it. xo