Day 10 – Will the real David please stand up?
6 April 2015
Rome > Florence > Montecatini
A pretty decent breakfast to start the day, there was bacon and eggs and croissant of course. I’ve had a lot of croissants during our trip though I didn’t really get sick of it. I was addicted to its buttery goodness. The rain cleared the day we left Rome, fancy that! We made our way to our next destination, the city of Florence or Firenze in Italian. I could still remember back in high school in Italian class I was first introduced to Florence. I was sure I drew a bridge with houses on it which I copied from a poster in the class, didn’t know what the bridge was called but the name Firenze was across it. I could remember showing my drawing to my teacher and she was pretty impressed.
To do list:
1. Visit a leather factory/shop
2. Walking tour of the city
3. Drive to Montecatini
We reached Florence around lunch time. We walked towards Piazza Santa Croce where the Santa Croce church stood. It was an amazing looking church. Inside is where the Italian sculptor Michelangelo and astronomer Galileo was buried. We made our way to a leather shop, Clarisse told us that Florence was known for its leather and if ever we were to purchase anything leather then it was the city to do so due to the fine quality of leather they sold. The leather goods in the shop were quite expensive haha and so we didn’t purchase anything. Wifey and I bought a slice of pizza each and had lunch at the square. As we were eating a gypsy with white powder all over her face came towards us with her hand in front of her. We got up as soon as she got closer, there was no way she was going to steal anything from us.
We then walked in search of the ‘bridge’ that I drew a picture of. It wasn’t that far from the square. Once we had a glimpse of the river, then we were sure the bridge was just over it. When I first set my eyes on it, it felt quite surreal, seeing it in real life. I still couldn’t believe I was actually there. The bridge which I found out was called “Ponte Vecchio”. I wanted to get closer but since our walking tour was about to start we had to head back to the meeting place.
Before the walking tour began, Wifey asked Clarisse whether we’ll see the famous statue of David by Michelangelo during the walk and she mentioned that a replica of the statue is at another square and was part of the walking tour. We wanted to see the real thing. She did say that the real David is in Florence, at a gallery not far from where we were but she was worried that we wouldn’t have enough time to see it as the lines to get in would have been quite long. If we were to stay with the walking tour, there was not enough time to line up and see the statue and so Wifey devised a plan to make our own way to the gallery instead of finishing the walking tour.
The tour started from Santa Croce, we were guided by a local tour guide, we had our earpiece once again. We walked through alley ways and little streets within the city. He showed us a marker on one of the walls which indicated that the water from the river that flows through Florence once flooded the town up to that point, which was probably 10 metres high. He then showed us the birthplace of the “Father of Italian language” Dante Alighieri. He had a statue at Piazza Santa Croce and one at his home. I thought Santa Croce church was amazing, but it was topped by Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, it was huge! There was a long line outside of the church of people waiting to go up the dome, the view up there would have been awesome, but we didn’t have time for that. The only time we had was to see the real David. And so this was the perfect time for us to sneak off from the walking tour and we did just that. The gallery was 10 mins away and we had to get a move on. We only had two hours left in Florence before we were to leave. We reached the Galleria dell’Accademia and saw the line to get in. It wasn’t that long and so our hopes were high that we could pull this off. Then the line stalled. Only a few people could come in every 10 mins or so. Wifey was also paranoid about the two people behind us who apparently was acting suspicious, she was thinking they were pickpockets and so there were moments that in the line that we thought of leaving but then I told her that we were getting close, there was no turning back.
45 mins later and we were in! I think it cost us €12 each to get in. We didn’t have a lot of time and so we immediately searched for the statue of David, the rest of the artwork and sculptors had to wait as long as we got to see what we were after in the first place. And so we walked around, followed a map, lo and behold we found him, standing proudly at the end of the domed room, with a crowd gathered around him, cameras and phones all raised to capture the great statue that is David. I didn’t know he was that ‘big’ as in tall. I got out my selfie stick and just before we were to take a selfie with him we were told by a guard that selfie sticks weren’t allowed in the museum :(. And so we had to settle with my arm taking the selfie instead. Once we took enough photos of him we wandered around the gallery and saw other artwork and statues. An hour later we headed back to Piazza Santa Croce which was our tour meeting place.
We then drove to Montecatini where our hotel was. The drive would have only taken 45 mins but ended up being at least 2 hours long due to the closure of the highway, there was an accident and so we had to drive around it. We arrived around 7:30pm, had dinner at 8pm and then went for a walk. We didn’t really get to see much of the town, a lot of the shops were closed already and it was really cold and so we went back to our room and had an early night.
Florence had been amazing! One tip I could give is that if you visit Florence and don’t have the whole day to see everything and you want to see the statue of David, pre-book your ticket online and you can go in straight away, no need to line up :).