Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fickle Florence

piazza repubblica carousel florence

piazza della repubblica's carousel

florence duomo raining

florence lasagna piazza repubblica

florence lasagna pasta piazza repubblica

piazza annunziata florence
market in piazza santissima annunziata, florence

florence cathedral

florence macaroon

florence duomo palazzo vecchio lion

florence rain

rain in florence

rain in florence

rain in florence

rain in florence

rain in florence arno

fishing on arno florence
fishing on the arno

rain in florence

cloudy day florence ponte vecchio rain

An alternative post title for this is "We Got Wet". Because on our day in Florence (like the last time I visited the city) it rained poured. It's hard to love a city that is meant for walking around in the sunshine, eating gelato and admiring quaint piazzas, when you're huddled under awnings and umbrellas, dodging puddles and attempting to keep your white coat and pants mud free (impossible). But, goshdarn, we tried.

While in Florence we purchased umbrellas, wandered through the city, saw the duomo's frescoes, and ducked into the Dante & Beatrice cafe for hit-the-spot paninis and coffee (+ to avoid a downpour). We took advantage of a break in the rain to see the Palazzo Vecchio, Ponte Vecchio, and dash over to the Palazzo Pitti & Boboli Gardens.

At the end of the day we dried out while eating an average, over-priced dinner in Piazza della Repubblica and watching the carousel spin around. But before that, in the late afternoon as the rain began to let up, we found ourselves in the Piazza Santissima Annunziata, admiring the loggia of the Ospedale degli Innocenti (an art history student's dream), taking great gulps of fall-crisp air and the smoke of roasting chestnuts, and watching local farmers and vendors ply their ware to fellow Florentines. Old ladies fed flocks of pigeons and old men picked up tourists' litter. Couples snuggled along the steps of the square, furiously tapping away on their iPhones. Reggage music pumped out of a bar nearby, and church bells tolled. You could buy artisan cheese, lemon trees, olive-wood bowls, local-spun textiles, wind chimes, and fresh, crusty bread. Or you could just sit and watch Florentine life unfold in front of you.

Sitting in that square, I got the feeling Florence is more fickle than it lets on. Not in the traditional, capricious, unstable, disloyal sense of the word, but in the way that fickleness implies constant change. In a yes we have history but damnit real people live here and we're creating new history all the time way. The kind of thing that alludes to life beyond postcard photos.

It was, I suspect, a few of those perfect hours that make people fall in love with this quirky, touristy, but alluring city. Despite being soaked to the bone.

- Jess

p.s. that all white outfit? I overbleached the pants and they turned yellow. bleach users: you've been warned.

date: september 1
distance travelled: 100 km/62 mi (pisa to florence)
distance travelled to date: 110 km/68 mi
weather: cloudy, rainy
parked at: the hotel, for free


  1. Rain & wind can really make it difficult to explore a city.

    I love the photos along the river - so pretty!

    1. So true. And thanks! Those are actually the select few pretty views of the Arno. Often, in reality it looks more like this:

    2. Hmmm - don't think I'd want to take a dip in that river :/

  2. I love your take on the city... I haven't been but it seems much more authentic than the usual, florence is so romantic approach :) Hopefully I will be able to visit and judge for myself one day!


    1. Definitely add it to your bucket list. It's worth a trip, but both times I went, wasn't anything like I expected.

  3. I've never been to Florence--want to go so badly! Your pictures are lovely.

    Somewhat on the topic of the white pants--do you have any posts about what to wear when you're planning a big trip? I never seem to get the hang of finding comfortable shoes that don't look super dorky and was wondering if y'all had any advice. :)


    1. Hm, I'm no fashion blogger. I wear mostly flats while travelling, which is about as comfortable as shoes get for me. I recently bought Toms and love those. But my rule of thumb is to not pack shoes that you can't wear anywhere - e.g. rubber boots may not be appropriate for a fancy dinner, but simple flats can take you anywhere. Hope this helps!

  4. I went to Florence not knowing what to expect. It was a spontaneous trip so I really didn't know what I was in for. I was so completely charmed! It was my first time in a major European city so I think that's why it holds such a special place for me. I can definitely see how rain would put a damper on sightseeing. It sounds like you made the most of it though!

  5. Oh... I want to go to Florence now! I went to Venice in April and it rained but I still loved it! :)

    1. How could you not love Venice, even in the rain! I know it's awful, but I would love to experience the floods there someday.


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