Firenze. The Sunday Traveler was on the road towards Florence this day in April back in 2002. Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, the medieval European trade and finance center. We started out early in the morning to travel from Montecatini Terme to spend the day in Florence.
The Ponte Vecchio, the Arno, stuff of dreams. And upon arrival our little tour group was told this was our day to wander at will by ourselves if we wished, told to remember where the tour van was, and to be back at the appointed hour or the van would leave without us (no they wouldn’t I thought nervously). I wrote down the name of the street and burned a picture of what places were around into my brain so I could find my way back…I hoped. I clutched my Italian phrase book, and off I went down the street to find as much as I could in the time given, ecstatic and almost floating around the rest of the day from here to there taking photos, if I remembered. I will, at this point, just provide a little pictoral tour for you of what I did get photos of. The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Duomo, Santo Spirito, Burnelieschi’s dome. There was so much, so much antiquity and beauty it was overload. To have only one day was cruel, I wanted more (I never traveled with a tour group again after this).
I spent more time ogling architecture, people, streets, that I took not many photos of this fabulous city, but just wandered and soaked it all up; I can feel it now still as I write this. Sometimes I think I need to return to this way of travel; to go, take a photo here and there, and just take in the vibe with my eyes and soul.
And I found my way back to the tour van in time.