It was probably a result of all the walking around after a fairly long journey, but I was very tired last night so I thought I’d go to bed early. Besides, I had a very early start the next day. I had to be ready to leave by 7 am. I set my cellphone’s alarm for the morning. Called reception to ask for a wake-up call. Much to my relief, I fell asleep as soon as I got under the covers.
I woke up in a panic. I couldn’t believe I’d not only slept through my alarm again but had also missed the wake-up call! There goes the trip to Florence, I said to myself scornfully. 150€ wasted. Wonderful. I reached for the cellphone, which was charging a little distance from the bed (…so that I have to get out of bed to turn off the alarm. Does that ever work?!), to look at the time. I dropped the phone, cursed myself, picked it up, looked at the time and cursed again. I had been asleep an hour. One hour. Only. one. hour. I haven’t ever experienced jet lag in this manner.
I tried going back to sleep, then woke up at midnight and couldn’t fall asleep until 5 am. Argh. When the real wake-up call came at 6 am, I was ready to ignore it. I’d already dealt with the loss of the trip’s cost earlier, right? I dragged myself out of bed, got on the coach and caught an hour’s worth of shuteye during the 3-hour drive there. And during the drive back.
I was so taken with the beauty of Florence. I desperately want to visit it in the summer so I can see it in full bloom. First stop was the Accademia di Belle Arti. The 17-foot statue of Michelangelo’s David, carved from a single block of carrara marble, of which you are not allowed to take pictures, was more magnificent than I could have imagined. In its original location in Piazza della Signoria a plaster copy of it stands. You can take pictures of that one.
At the museum, in the same room, were some of Michelangelo’s unfinished sculptures which are referred to as prisoners. I forget the Italian word for it. Prisoners because in their unfinished state they look like people struggling to escape the rock they were being sculpted from. Hearing this can give one a totally new perspective on these works.
We walked towards the Piazza del Duomo and started taking pictures of the first view we had of a Gothic-looking cathedral wall when our guide stopped and said, “I’m sure you think this is beautiful. But this is filthy. Come, see the front.” The Florence Cathedral, Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, is nothing short of breathtaking. The façade, dedicated to the Mother of Christ, is a beautiful mix of several different architectural styles including Gothic, Renaissance, Greek, but the interior is relatively simple. The cathedral’s dome was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi and it’s where Michelangelo got his inspiration for the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica.
Where shopping is concerned, Florence is famous for leather. Had to buy a pair of shoes. They happened to be Clocharme boots. (If you look at their Collezioni, you’ll see that their promo pictures can be…um, a little racy.) I bought these suede boots and, I kid you not, as soon as I wore them out of the store (with my overused ballet flats, in a box, in tow) I felt I had an added spring in my step. To take advantage of the profusion of leather, I bought a bag and you can tell it’s real leather: You can smell it from a few feet away and I discovered that it can get nauseating sometimes.
Got back to the hotel in Rome around 9 pm, rested a little, then finished off the day by wandering about near Piazza Navona, kinda losing my way late at night and snacking on cotton candy bianco and Nutella crepes. Mmmm.
Oh and then I was awake again until 4 am. Jet lag. Not a fan.