July 11, 2012
"...the ends justifies the means..." - You should know who said this!
Guess where Niccolo Machiavelli was born? That's right: Firenze! We actually saw a statue of him and I thought it was fascinating being in the same place his ideas originated from.
(Here he is!)
But before I go into all of that...here's something I've been thinking about. Whenever we think about Italian cities, we say Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan, etc. Why? Their original names are Roma, Firenze, Venezia and Milano. What gives anyone the right to change a name into their language? I never understood this about Mumbai/Bombay or Bhaarat/India either. I mean first of all, it just makes it confusing when you're trying to buy tickets to go somewhere...you can't find it because you don't even know the original name. But more importantly, it just takes away from the beautiful name that a certain place was originally given. That's like saying my name is Dhara in India but everyone else can call me Dora. (Please don't.) I don't think I'll ever understand this...
Anyway. Firenze! We had off for the Fourth of July because JCU is an American University. Instead of sitting around in Rome waiting for our trip to Milano and Venezia, we decided to take a two day trip to Firenze. Not expecting much, we arrived to our tour location ready for it to be over before it even began. We didn't expect much from Firenze, but wow was it beautiful! Every corner we turned, we saw something new and intriguing. Here's a quick re-cap of what we saw with pictures instead of boring you with written details...
The Medici family's palace or Church...can't remember specifically. The Medici family is one of the most important families of Firenze! We had one whole 2 hour tour dedicated to learning about their history.
The most beautiful building I've seen yet...not sure what it is though. =/
Columbus on the right side!
Recycling is very big in Italy (maybe even all of Europe). They have intense machines like this with instructions on what the place where. At my school, the city of Rome can actually fine us if we mess up too many things. They are environmentally friendly!
Michaelangelo's famous David!
An extremely crowded Piazza...one of the common places to people watch in Firenze.
Part of a gold door that took 27 years to build...
My favorite "hang out" location in Firenze. So relaxing and so much to see!
Santa Maria Novella Church
Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge)!!
A creepy looking thing I drank water out of :) Unfortunately, the water in Firenze was not as cold as Roma or Venezia! I wonder why...
My absolute favorite street musician
A server we became friends with one evening...he was trying to entertain us without hurting himself!
So what did I learn from Firenze? Don't judge anything based on what others say. We fell in love with a place that we didn't think we would care for. It's a simple lesson that teachers tell you all the time (don't judge a book by its cover) but until we experience things like this, we don't understand it.
What else did I learn here? Do NOT take a lot of money with you because I guarantee that you will spend most of it at the famous leather market...which is HUGE! Image an extremely large street market. Now multiply that by 10. YES, that large! You can walk up and down these markets bargaining all day because there are just so many vendors selling the same exact things...I must say that it was a great place to buy souvenirs for everyone!
If you're ever in Firenze, I would recommend the hotel we stayed at: Hotel Spagna. The rooms are rather small but the location is fabulous and the price is great. Their service is fantastic and the rooms are super clean.
Anyway, it's time to go to bed...unfortunately I didn't post as much as I wanted to but I'll just have to start taking out a lot more time to do this.