Enchanted by Florence

Enchanted by Florence Image

Most of the time while traveling, the journey transforms you. The new sites, the taste of life lived differently, the different flavor combinations, the rhythms of faraway cities; each awaken a place inside you that you hadn’t even realized was sleeping. By the time you are packing to return home, you feel you’ve barely gotten started. And to find comfort in the goodbye, you promise yourself that one day, you’ll return.

While every place has inspired and changed me in a unique way, this sentiment mostly describes my Florence. Five years ago I arrived in the Birthplace of the Renaissance on New Years Eve. It seemed with each corner I turned, I stumbled upon yet another monument or building that I had studied in Art History. It was memorizing, like a child wandering through the enchanted world of their vivid imagination. Within two short days, however, we were back on the train headed for Rome.

As if destined to be haunted by Florence, the Uffizi Gallery, a walled garden of every imaginable textbook painting from the Renaissance, was closed during my stay. More than any other place I had visited, I couldn’t shake the call to Florence. And as I began to realize my return to the US was eminent, I knew I’d be filled with regrets if I didn’t make it happen. And so, with much anticipation, I finally returned late July.

Some of the works of art that took my breath away

Fra Angelico’s Annunciation

A detail of Botticelli’s hair kissed by the golden sun

Titian’s Venus of Urbino, the painting that inspired me to study Art History

Florence was well worth the wait. Each day was filled with artful discoveries, remnants of my Art History education surfacing behind restored layers of 600 year old paint. I had waited years to stand before Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and I refused to be pushed aside by the herds of tourists who dutifully followed their guide’s every (sometimes terribly incorrect) word. The paintings came to life, details standing out in ways a 5×7 copy in a 10 lbs textbook had failed to illuminate.

I’ve heard people say Florence can be “done” in two days. I vehemently disagree, but I keep quiet. Leave Florence to those who are captive to its spell.

For more photos, check out my Flickr.

3 comments… add one
  1. The Wanderfull Traveler August 8, 2013, 7:29 pm

    Florence was definitely a favourite of mine as well. I actually preferred it to Rome although they are wildly different.
    I think I enjoyed Florence and Venice the most because you walked within a sort of living history where both you and a Renaissance artist or architect or even Dante walked similar streets if not the same. It is amazing to me and has inspired many poems.


    1. Stephanie August 10, 2013, 7:18 am

      I’ve heard that many people prefer Rome – maybe it was where our hotel was when I went, but something seemed it was missing. Perhaps I’m mistaken but I’d happily go again to be corrected!! It is fun to think you’re walking in the steps, literally, of some of the world’s greatest masterminds. I do that in Paris, too.


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