Florence, Italy – Day One

The first morning I decided to check out the Statue of David. check out the leather markets and the Statue of David. I was absolutely gob smacked to see so many stalls all selling similar items. Well everything leather at least. The streets were lined as far as the eye could see with leather stalls. Long coats, jackets, vests, pants, underwear, wallets, purses, handbags, man-bags, laptop bags, jewelery boxes, belts, straps and just about everything else your leather imagination will allow you to dream up.

I walked for hours through the markets looking at things that I wasn’t going to buy. There are bargains to be had, but the general consensus is you are paying for quality. For those that are serious on a purchase, I can’t see any reason not to haggle the price. Just don’t expect vendors to chase after you if you walk away unhappy with a price. Also a lot of the leather is imported, so local leather’s are generally more expensive than imported items.

I was in the market until about lunch time when I realized just how hungry I was. Something that I was very surprised to see was a shop selling curry! I suppose one of the things I really likes about Florence was that it felt like the most culturally diverse Italian city I’d been to. Food could be found to suit any palette and it wasn’t very expensive either. My Panini and Pasta intake could finally be eased with so many other options on hand.

On to the one of the greatest sculptures I’ve had the pleasure of seeing in my life… Oh, am I building it up too much? in that case, I was off to see a man, cut out of a rock! If ever you find yourself in Florence as I hope you one day will, and you want to see Michelangelo’s famed Statue of David note that the lines are really long. hundreds of people queue for hours to see the sculpture. So here are a few helpful hints.

1. If you want to get in with out the wait, either, turn up before it opens and beat the queue

2. Pre-purchace your ticket for a booked entry time.

3. Give in to joining a tour that gets priority entrance, it will be a higher price though.

4. If you don’t much care for art and sculpture but still want to see it, there are two others that you can see for free. The first is in the as I mentioned earlier is located at Palazzo Vecchio. Right near the Iffizi. The second is at the Michelangelo Square, overlooking Florence.

Michelangelo’s Statue of David, for me, was simply breathtaking. Draped in sunlight, standing prominently as a symbol of strength it The size, the intricate detail of the carving, even down to the veins on his hands and intricate details in form had studying the piece for about 20 minutes. One must also remember that the entire piece was created from a single piece of marble and has stood for over 500 years.

For the rest of the afternoon I took a walk around the city. Just a couple of things of note, The street art is amazing. As I walked through the streets there were artists doing chalk drawings on the pavement. They set up bowls on each corner of a marked space, and they would proceed to draw a piece. I took a photo of it but unfortunately did not get the artists details. Really brilliant stuff.

A little further along, within another market, note that I was well and truly lost in the streets at this point. I found a boar. It was a fountain that people must associate with good luck since the shout of the bronze sculpture was bright and polished, while the rest was the dull brown. Its interesting what people will rub for luck. So another thing to take note of, Gypsies are prominent in the area, I stood and watched on as people would put coins into the mouth of the boar, the coins would fall into the water. The coins that remained in reach were quickly snatched up by a gypsy girl who snatched every coin she could. So a quick note, Keep your valuables where hands can’t get to. Inner jacket pockets, pants, or in a closed bag. Oddly though, I still felt safer here in Florence than I did in Rome.

After some more exploring I then returned to Plus Florence for a much-needed rest…. and maybe a few beers.

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