Thursday, 28 July 2011

Florence, Part II

Ah, Florence. One of the places that I would like to call home in the not too distant future. I fell in love with Florence. Mad, passionate love. I don’t really know how to describe it in words, but it has a special ambiance. One of being cosmopolitan, sophisticated, stylish but not in the least bit pretentious. The streets are lined with boutiques, leather bag shops, quaint restaurants, chocolatiers and second-hand bookstores that smell of years gone by.

And the people. My word, but the people are beautiful. No, beautiful is not sufficient. Exquisite. Yes, they are exquisite. Both men and women are impeccably dressed.  I couldn’t help but think that I had walked onto the set of a movie. Not some Hollywood blockbuster. A lovely little art house film. It really made me lament the fact that South Africans in general don’t really care about what they wear. I don’t mean being a self-consuming slave to fashion, just caring enough to wear clothes that are an extension of your personality. Ok, enough of me rambling. Back to Florence.

Ladies, I am happy to announce that the stereotype that Italian men are all that and a bag of chips is absolutely and unequivocally true. I cannot tell you how overwhelming it is to walk down the street and every second male falls into the “As hot as Brad Pitt” category. We didn’t get to see as many of the historical sites as we should have. You see, we were distracted by the, erm, shops.  My favourites were Brandy & Melville and a super duper vintage store called Melrose. If you want to do some bargain shopping in Florence, you should hit the leather market. The prices you pay for leather bags and jackets are a fraction of the price that you would pay in South Africa. Despite shopping till we dropped, we did go see the Statue of David. It was incredible. Beyond amazing, really. The food in Florence was undeniably better than it was in Venice. The people were also a lot more welcoming. I could really go on and on about this place forever. But I’ll let you marvel in the pictures instead!
Most common modes of transport in Florence: Bicycles, Vespas and tiny cars to fit on the tiny streets.  I think I should invest in a pretty little bicycle with a wicker basket. 

There's even designated space on the sidewalk for the bicycles. 

Some rather colourful characters took us on a horse-drawn carriage tour of Florence. 

Another beautiful building. So many of them, wow. 

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