Italy is a beautiful country to explore by train. When I found myself working in Viareggio the decision to take a train to Florence was quickly made. Via a transfer at Pisa I arrived at Firenze Centrale. I had no clue where I was going or what Florence was all about, since I hadn’t had time to prepare myself, but in a little book shop I found a guide and had a quick read.
I started making my way to the Ponte Vecchio. I saw a square with a huge cathedral. The line to get in was even bigger, so I just admired it from the outside. I continued through a street which only had shops with security men at the doors, so all I could do was window shopping. The Ponte Vecchio was very beautiful from the outside. On the bridge itself are several shops and everywhere you walk people are trying to sell you stuff, mostly jewelry.
The bridge crosses the Arno river and at the other side you can climb up a hill for a view over the city. I’m not sure I took the right route, but I did see beautiful things. I walked past Galileo’s old house and through an endless street with walls on both sides. There was a road made of stones, nothing to walk on wearing heals, and the sidewalk was so small you had to press your back to the wall and walk sideways in case a car came past.
Here and there I saw a house or a church. Meanwhile I was climbing… and when I was about to consider just walking back I saw a big road. I followed the road hoping it would lead me back to the center of Florence. From the road I had some good views over the city, but halfway down the road the rain started. I was at the Michelangelo Square and suddenly the city vanished in a big cloud. My shoes and socks were soaking wet. At my viewpoint all I saw was grey.
I continued, hearing my wet shoes squeak at every step. An advantage was that the rain scared off the many tourists. Suddenly the city was a lot quieter. I went to the Santa Croce church, that has the graves and memorials for many important Italians. I saw the Medici chapel and many pretty looking buildings of little importance. Then it was time for a quick dinner and my train back. In Viareggio I changed into warm clothes and dreamt of this beautiful city.