Blog Post: Tuscany Trip 2019 Day 7 – First Day in Florence
Today was a day we were all expecting, but not quite ready for. It was finally time to leave La Ca’ Solare and travel to Florence. I was excited to go to a new city, but sad to leave the warm, welcoming environment of the agriturismo. I asked everyone what they would miss most about our experience there, and the unanimous answer was the friendly environment and hospitality of our hosts. I completely agreed with them, and am also going to miss the apricot jam served at breakfast. The atmosphere was bittersweet as we all packed our bags and checked to make sure we hadn’t left anything. When I was finished packing, I went outside to take some final pictures of the beautiful Tuscan landscape. Once everyone had their bags packed, Francesco and Keith packed the car, and we all said goodbye to our hosts and their adorable dog, Merlino.
The drive to Florence only took about an hour, and it was relaxing to drive through Tuscany’s expansive landscape. Because I’ve never been to Florence (or Italy, before this trip), I had no idea what the city would be like. Being abroad is a new and exciting experience for me, so I’ve found that it’s more rewarding to go to new places with no prior expectations. As a result, I was surprised by how beautiful Florence was. The unique architecture especially caught my attention as we arrived at what will be our hotel for the next three days.
After receiving our room keys and carrying our bags upstairs, we had about an hour to get lunch. Because of the time limit, we chose a restaurant right next to the hotel. I ordered grilled chicken and fried potatoes that were so good, we had to get some to-go!
Our first activity for the day was a tour of the Uffizi Gallery, one of the most famous museums in the world. I’d heard of legendary artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo but never imagined myself seeing their work in person, so I was very excited. We entered the museum with our tour guide and admired the art as she explained its significance. I’ve never done a guided museum tour before but quickly found it to be very enjoyable and useful, as I didn’t have any prior knowledge of Italian art history. Some of my favorite works in the museum were Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, da Vinci’s unfinished Adoration of the Magi, and above all, Michelangelo’s Holy Family. Michelangelo’s work was my favorite because of the use of color, foreground and background, the incredible frame, and the fact that it was the only painting he ever did. I was shocked by this fact because I figured a famous artist would have many paintings, but it turns out he preferred sculpting.
Next, we went to the Gucci museum. I was surprised at how similar a fashion museum was to other types of museums I’ve been to. Our guide, who was dressed in the same fashionable uniform as the rest of the staff, explained the history behind different collections as we admired the clothes and accessories displayed in each room. It was interesting to see the similarities and differences between older and newer items. I especially enjoyed the gift shop and its pieces that were one-of-a-kind.
After the Gucci museum, we had some time to explore Florence and rest at the hotel, and ended the night with a delicious dinner from a local restaurant, and nearby gelato. Overall this was a busy yet fun day that served as a great introduction to Florence. I really appreciated that the city’s rich history is still noticeable and celebrated today. We’re all excited to see more of Florence and I already want to come back some day!
[My contribution to a blog as part of Webster University Geneva's annual trip to Tuscany for a Film, Television, and Video Production course.]