[...Florence , Italy April 17, 2011...]
I arrived in Florence at 4:30 in the afternoon after a 70-minute bus ride from Pisa. Immediately the phrase “under the Tuscan sun” came to mind. Rolling hills dotted with slender cyprus trees, bright blue, cloudless skies topped off with 70-degree weather. The popularity of this Italian city was made clear to me by the amount of people I saw loitering around as we pulled up into Santa Maria Novella station. I feel safe in numbers so I can’t complain.
My travel agent – Google Earth, led me directly to the hotel without fail, although with the many narrow alleys in Florence, I can understand how one can easily get disoriented. Still, this is nothing compared to the maze in Venice. With my luggage safely ensconced in my hotel room, I stepped out and made my way towards the Duomo, passing through the busy outdoor market of San Lorenzo where the smell of distinct Italian leather filled the air, joining the aroma wafting off the windows of pizzerias and trattorias. At one point, I lost a glimpse of the cathedral’s dome I had been following through the roofline, when suddenly the late afternoon bells of Giotto’s campanile chimed. This was what it must’ve been like in the 14th century – it was a travel back in time! So I followed that sound instead, and sure enough, I found myself in Piazza del Duomo in no time.
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