One of the biggest pieces of advice I was given before going abroad was to take a weekend to myself to explore my city and get to know my surroundings. Boy, was that the best advice I’d had. I have always been the type of person who loves to do things with other people. I would call myself selectively independent. But the weekend I was alone in Florence was the most memorable for me. I made a schedule ahead of time to make sure that I hit all of the right places. I wanted to see the Uffizi alone because I felt as though I wanted to take my time through the museum to enjoy it at my own pace. If you are ever traveling, do the same.
Everyone has different eating and leisure schedules and instead of either being exasperated and wanting to leave or feeling like you’re being rushed, you can enjoy everything for yourself and make your own memory. The Uffizi was everything I had ever dreamed for. The entire museum is made up of Renaissance Art and had all of the paintings we had been discussing in class. Being able to see each of them in person was mesmerizing and brought a different feel to the meaning behind each painting. For example, La Primavera by Botticelli seemed small on the slideshows we learned from in class, but in person, the
painting takes up the entire wall and standing next to it makes you feel tiny.
Walking into the room, my breath was taken away by the way the painting shimmers in the light and the immaculate attention to detail and botany that you could not have known through looking at a photograph. If you’ve learned Art History, you will know that there are many many renderings of the Mary and Child. I felt as though walking through the gallery, I was able to learn the different techniques and styles that each great painter had because of his own interpretation of the scene.
The Uffizi holds so many meanings because there is a special passage way between it and the Pitti Palace which was where the Medici lived (and across the street from Accademia). I did not visit any other museums that weekend, but I decided to go on a walk along the Arno and take in the city from another angle. The Arno is the central location in Florence because it divides both sides. One side has shops, the Duomo, and other main attractions, while the other is more residential. We lived on the residential side where our school was, but everything in Florence is only 15 minutes away from each other. The greatest accomplishment I’d had during this weekend was when someone came up to me asking for directions for how to get somewhere. I felt like a true Italian walking through the streets, speaking the language to people at the markets that popped up on Saturdays. I found little shops and got lost in the city while I did so.
With a month left in Florence, it was crunch time and I started feeling more pressure to make a list of all of the places I wanted to see and check some things off of the bucket list. There is a carousel in the middle of the Piazza della Repubblica that we’d passed a hundred times on our way around the city and I decided that instead of going to sleep early, I would venture with Alyssa to take a ride and enjoy the night. That was the night of the supermoon and you could see it shining above us from every part of the city. Even though it was late at night, we took the opportunity to walk around the city and we ended up getting gelato and sitting under the Duomo. There’s something about taking a rest in one of the benches at night, looking up at the history of the city in front of you that is mesmerizing. We were lucky that week because our Italian Renaissance professor took us to the Galleria Dell’accademia where we learned about David and the other very important paintings in the gallery. Afterwards, we had the chance to watch authentic Italian Opera with our Italian Style professor and enjoyed a couple of duets and a sing-along to my now favorite song “Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu” followed by gelato at our favorite gelateria on our side of the bridge.