“Consider your origins: you were not made to live as brutes, but to follow virtue and knowledge.” -Dante Alighieri

Last Friday, I finally made it to Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, as it was another included excursion with my program.

Let me start off by saying that I hate, hate, hate audio tours. If you hand me a walkie-talkie looking speaker and give me the ear bud, I will automatically be put into a bad mood. In Florence, I was in less of a bad mood, but I get very aggravated listening to someone lecture as we walk around the city looking at things I care less about than the things I would tour on my own. Plus, by the end, it was 2:00 and I hadn’t eaten a thing all day, so I wasn’t paying the most attention.

So, in case you haven’t picked up on my tone, we started off the day with an audio tour. We walked around, stopped in a few churches, and went to the Academia Museum, where we saw the Statue of David. We passed by the infamous Duomo, but didn’t go inside until after lunch.

We went to our included  lunch and had probably about 4 or 5 different dishes.

After lunch, we finally had time to explore on our own, which I wanted to do all along. However, I only had maybe an hour and a half.

First, we went to the Basilica of Santa Croce, which, according to Wikipedia, says, “It is the burial place of some of the most illustrious Italians, such as Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Foscolo, Gentile, and Rossini, thus it is known also as the Temple of the Italian Glories.” It is also the world’s largest Franciscan church. There’s also a memorial for Dante Alighieri there.

It was cool to go into, but I didn’t want to pay to get into a church because I don’t agree with that, so we went in the separate line that allowed us in to pray. We couldn’t walk around too much, but we were able to see the basilica a bit.

After this, we went to the Duomo. I was shocked how bland it was on the inside. We walked in, and the walls are white and bare. I notified my friends that the dome was decorated to illustrate Dante’s Divine Comedy. That part was amazing. The whole church was simple, until we arrived under the magnificent fresco and were able to identify characters and instances from the series. I immediately identified Charon (The Ferryman of Hades), the skeleton from Greek Mythology that carries souls across rivers that divide the living world from that of the dead. Satan was also chewing on Judas (and maybe Brutus and Cassius, but I only noticed one of his three heads).

All in all, Florence was pretty cool. I would have liked to look more at museums and explore on my own, but at the same time, I was fine doing it for a day. I’m glad I’m studying in Rome; it’s just bigger with more to do and to explore to, in my opinion. Florence was pretty small and intimate.

From the Duomo, I left, got my postcard (I’m getting one per place that I go to), hopped in a taxi, and boarded a flight to Amsterdam!

It was definitely a jam packed day, but it was cool to see the birthplace of the Renaissance. Pictures to follow.

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