We spent just a few hours in Florence, but they were truly splendid.
As with every place we visited, it took us about 45 minutes to figure out where to go from the station and how. Finally, we bought tickets to Piazza Pitti, which had the most interesting-looking museums according to our map.
The bus-ride gave us our first sight of Florence. It was charming, everything that I wanted it to be. Quaint bridges and picturesque houses … What more does one need?
Unfortunately, a lot more.
Enough people find Florence charming for it to be rather expensive too, and we discovered that each museum had a separate entrance fee. After much deliberation, we decided to visit the royal apartments.
I could have stayed there for much longer, gazing at the delicate chandeliers and beautiful sculpture. Those spectacular chandeliers (lit, admittedly with electric bulbs) are what I will always associate with Florence. Each room was captivating, with brilliant painting that was so vivid that it was almost like sculpture. A quaint clock with fascinating machinery, detail of texture in the painting, and something that created a bubble of laughter in me – the sculpture of a sculptor sculpting.
But ushers kept locking up behind us as we walked, giving us not-so-gentle hints that the museum was due to close at 18:45. We left reluctantly, looking over our shoulders as we did so. The ticket counter was closed too, so we could not buy tickets even to the palace gardens.
We wandered around looking at statues in the courtyard and the lovely fountains everywhere. Florence is really the centre of art that literature tells us it is. There are millions of little shops selling magnificent paintings, expensive antiques and bric-a-brac I would not dare to touch for fear I would break it. We spent a long time outdoors, longer than anywhere else – because we spent the night at the station.
But that’s another story, one that I’ve already told.