Hello again! I have a post about Bologna in the works, but I would love to stay caught up with each day I have in Florence, so I'm going to jump right in. I'll finish talking about Bologna when I have time!
When I arrived in Florence, I headed straight to my new hostel. I didn't know much about the location and just followed the instructions posted on the website, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that it's only a block and a half from the Duomo. Standing by the front door, I can see the massive structure towering over the other buildings. I lugged my bags up to the third floor and the hostel owner, Nadia, greeted me. She made me feel very welcome, and when she found out that we share the same birthday, she was absolutely ecstatic and made sure that everybody within the radius of the next couple rooms found out. It felt great to receive such a warm welcome, and Nadia gave me suggestions of the best places to visit in Florence.
All of the museums are closed on Monday, so I set out on a trek around the city. I ended up at Piazzale Michelangelo, an area on top of a hill that offers a stunning view of Florence and the surrounding area. With the purple blossoms on the trees and lush green hills, it was hard to believe that I wasn't looking at a painting. I sat and wrote in my journal for a while and attempted to draw some of the view. I've discovered that I'm not good at drawing buildings, but it's fun to try anyway and it cements the scene in my mind better than a picture does. I enjoyed walking back downhill in the shade of the trees and surrounded by birdsong.
Today I woke up early to visit Michelangelo's David statue at Galleria dell'Accademia, just a block away from my hostel. I had hopes of beating the worst of the crowds by going in the morning as I didn't make a reservation. By the time I got there, the line was already out the door and wrapped around multiple corners of the building. Thankfully, waiting for panels at San Diego Comic Con gave me infinite patience when it comes to waiting in lines, and I was able to keep myself entertained by people watching for two and a half hours. I think that the wait was worth it. Other travelers I'd talked to made it seem like the David was the only thing to see in the museum, but there was plenty of beautiful 15th and 16th century Florentine art to look at. I saved looking at the David for last. I had no idea that the statue would be so tall--it stands at 17 feet tall. I think it's amazing that one person was able to carve such a huge and detailed statue.
After taking it in for a while, I headed back out into the sunshine and grabbed some lunch by the famous Ponte Vecchio, a bridge where many jewelry shops sell their wares. I sat on a wall perpendicular to the bridge and watched people rowing in the river. I rowed for a while in high school and rowing in the Arno River looked ideal.
Rested and ready to move on, I walked to the Basilica of Santa Croce. It's the burial place of several famous Italians, including Michelangelo and Galileo. There was also a monument for Dante Alighieri, of particular interest to me because of my interest in the Divine Comedy. It was surreal to see some of these tombs and know that they housed the bodies of such famous historical figures.
The rest of the church was very beautiful and I enjoyed looking at the stained glass windows and what is left of the frescoes.
I was exhausted after visiting the church because of lack of sleep and walking around in the sun, so I headed back to the hostel to have a quiet night. I hope to get a good night of sleep last night so I have plenty of energy for visiting the Uffizi Gallery tomorrow!