Thursday, July 16, 2009


Florence is an old lady's name. I had preferred the Italian "Firenze" which sounds like fire, or a fiery lady at least. But after seeing Florence, I'd say its English name is pretty accurate.

Last time we went to Italy we hit all the famous places: Rome, Venice, Cinque Terre, but missed Florence. I was dying to go and pictured the charm of a Tuscan hill town + some of the world's most famous art. Well, the art was there. But the city was too dirty, too crowded, completely lacking in the fountains and piazzas that make Italy so enticing. Even the square around their epic cathedral doesn't provide enough space for you to step back and get a half-decent photo of it. Yes, I think the main problem is a lack of piazzas.

It all feels a bit like a tourist trap. You pay €12 to see the David, which is incredible, but the rest of the museum is pretty much a dud. There were some uncompleted Michelangelos, but other than that there was a whole room devoted to plaster casts of mediocre statues. Not even the real mediocre statues! We went to two more museums which had some nice art. But by the end of the day we were wishing they'd combine it all into a big impressive museum that you didn't have to traipse through Florence for. Florence is one of my rare pans, perhaps tying with Brussels.

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