She caught first sight of the Duomo while she was trundling her luggage along what had now become a rather haphazard route between the station and her hotel. A shock of green and white marble tantalizing her from the end of the street. It, quite literally, stopped her in her tracks. She was to learn, during the next few days, that Florence has a habit of doing that …
The unpretentious family run hotel situated right at the end of Ponte Vecchio was perfect for a female first time solo traveller. Everything she wanted to see within touching distance, and a friendly face to come back to after a day’s “determined not to miss a thing” sightseeing.
A three night city break, particularly going solo, is more than enough time to get to grips with most cities. With no-one else to please, she could focus on the things she wanted to see and do …. with the freedom to take, literally, a different path whenever she felt like it. The Florence must do’s – the Uffizi, the Pitti Palace, the Duomo of course – called to her like presents that are so beautifully wrapped, it goes without saying that what’s inside will be something special. Botticelli, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Caravaggio … the names just roll of the tongue, all there, conjuring up a veritable cultural feast for the soul. The highlight for her, seeing the towering presence of the David standing tall at the end of the main gallery at the Accademia, took her breath away. He’s quite something.
What she hadn’t anticipated was that the whole city feels like an architectural extravaganza, the most stunningly buildings at every turn.
But it doesn’t seem to show off about it. Florence waits to be found, like a serene and beautiful woman, who is quietly confident in her own skin.