i fall in love with florence at first stride. arriving later than we had planned, we race from train station to airbnb in an effort to avoid a late check-in fee. backpacks bouncing, luggage bumping as we zip over cobblestones and curbs. i am sweaty but smitten by the scenes we blur past.
over the next two days, we investigate and explore, learn about leonardo da vinci’s life and study his inventions, attempt to drop a penny in the grate of il porcellino (piglet) fountain, and study the construction secrets of il duomo, the world’s largest masonry dome built by unlikely architect brunelleschi (check out the pbs video below on this seemingly impossible project).
as the birthplace of the renaissance, florence is a treasure chest for our very un-formal world-schooling. by day, she enriches our minds. and by dark, she captivates our eyes and imagination. some of our night
high lights include:
- discovering the golden glow of ponte vecchio — florence’s oldest bridge — and its many jewelry and goldsmith shops, securely wood-shuttered with only tiny mirrored peek holes to provide a glimpse of the treasures inside.
- walking to the massive cattedrale di santa maria del fiore – whose gothic marble-paneled exterior looks even more magnificent by night illumination
- enjoying the quiet of the cobblestone streets on solitary walks past midnight
- joining the “pilgrimage” up to piazza michelangelo to watch the sunset (and the epic game of family tag that followed)
thoughts while overlooking florence: we gather to see the city spread out before us. climb cobblestone hills and 163 stairs to look over and beyond the day we just spent with sore feet and wonder. the streets maze through mysteries and magnificence. we map our way, searching for scenes and significance to stir our souls. all the while, our souls secretly search for He who fashions and fills all…sculptures, cathedrals, sunsets. marble chiseled into muscles you created. celebrating a shepherd king who sought and sang of you in psalms that resound though the centuries. domed cathedrals whose construction baffles minds and whose beauty fills photos and poetry.