After being torn away at an ungodly hour from the cosy, crisp sheets of our unexpectedly lovely hotel in Rome me and Zach left the hectic capital behind and boarded the train to Florence.
Despite being early morning by the time we reached Florence the city was already in full swing, queues snaking around the Piazza del Duomo and crowds flooding over the Ponte Vecchio. After four hours sleep and a bit of a sore head from the copious amount of limoncello consumed the night before, it was all a bit overwhelming. We decided to have a few hours rest in the hostel and hit the cobbles once the crowds had died down. A few hours rest turned into a five hour nap and we eventually emerged with blurry eyes and rumbling tummies and headed for pizza.
Fuelled up we headed for an afternoon of site-seeing and dome climbing…
€20 euros down, an hour of queuing and 977 steps later we had climbed the Duomo, Giotto’s Campanile and the turret of the Palzzo Vecchio. The views from the top were certainly worth the cost and the sweaty ascent, the red roofs sprawled out into the Tuscan countryside, disappearing amongst the dark green spikes of the Cyprus trees. As the afternoon sun beat down on the city beneath Zach and I stayed in the shade at the top of the bell tower before succumbing to our need for gelato and heading back down.
Once back at ground level we entered Battistero di San Giovanni, one of the oldest buildings in the city. The walls of the baptistery are covered in beautiful wall to ceiling gold mosaic frescos depicting numerous stories, the most famous of those being a particular strange part of the ceiling that shows the horrors of hell- lots of fire and snakes and distorted faces. We sat for a while until my neck began to ache from taking in the amazing, ornate ceiling and then, finally deciding we were cultured out for the day, we wound our way through the markets and down to the Ponte Vecchio.
We squeezed through the crowds to find a spot to watch the beautiful sun set over the river. As the sun dipped lower and sank into the Arno, the city began to change, the lights gradually came up and music flowed out of nearby restaurants, one thought came to my mind, its time for another limoncello…