Monday, May 16, 2016

Spring in Florence, Part 2

Last time I was talking about Florence, Italy. This is Spring in Florence, Part 2. You can read part 1 here. I'll essentially pick up right where I left of, which was descending from the Campanile di Giotto.

Directly across from the front of the cathedral, and across from the Campanile di Giotto, is the Battistero di San Giovanni and it a a beautiful building. The light inside is magnificent as it streams through the windows around the upper part of the naive. You can really have fun playing with the light. 

Battistero di San Giovanni

Of course it is a light bright in some spots, perhaps too bright for some people.

As I said Florence has a substantial share of tiny streets with all manner of exciting business happening. Florence seemed to be a very active, vibrant city where people were in fact working. Real people live here and that was refreshing. 

On this trip I started to work a little more on my street photography. Why not? Florence was a great place to stretch my street photography legs and start to get back into it. It is vivacious and full of working class people going about their daily lives, yet there are enough tourists to where no one thinks twice about an errant photographer. Like the couple below, next to the cobbler's shop. 

Florence Italy

Of course you have to space things out and wander around a bit and just take cityscapes instead. I suppose cityscape photography is a genre. Far be it from me to say it's not.

Florence Italy

I told a friend of mine that it is difficult not to make good photos in Italy. Sure some areas and places are more difficult than others, but the freshness of perspective I was able to get there made things easy. The other thing I started to notice is that there are many hidden niches and shrines. This would not abate, in fact the further I got into Italy the more of these niches I found. 

 It was great to see so many little hidden places. Some had electric lights in them and others were maintained well with what appeared to be fresh flowers in them. Others were not so well maintained with dusty faux flowers.

Florence Italy

I'm sure if you're a teenager, centuries old statues painstakingly hewn from marble by the masters really lose thier appeal in a hurry. I would say even more so if you live in this place, but at least maybe talking to each other is in order. I don't know, I am not, nor have I ever been, a teen-aged girl -- thank goodness. 

Fountain of Neptune Florence Italy
Very close to the disinterested teenagers there is the Fountain of Neptune in the Piazza della Signoria next to the Palazzo Vecchio. It's great how everywhere has a sexy sounding name in Italy. The statue was created by Bartolomeo Ammannati in 1565. The light on it when I walked by was amazing and I couldn't resist taking a photo. 

Florence Italy

Further wanderings took me to other interesting tiny streets, up a hill across a few bridges and many other places throughout the city. I honestly can't remember everywhere I went. I was just basically stumbling around enjoying spring in Florence. I wandered into the central market though, and had some amazing food upstairs there. Do yourself a favor and eat there. There are a few restaurants on the top floor and they all looked great.

Florence Italy

I did walk to the top of the hill only to discover that Ft. Belvedere was closed. Which was a shame since I like military history so much. I does appear that there are some really nice gardens around the fort though. I didn't explore them and just went back down the hill. 

On my last day though I ignored the advice of my innkeeper and tried to take a look at the other fort in Florence. Exactly like Stefano, the innkeeper, said the fort was undergoing renovations and was closed. He said it is also more of an outdoor venue for events than and interesting historical monument. 

At least it had a moat and some bridges and gates and whatnot. Below you will see a photo I took of the rather impressive stone wall at the fort. 

Florence Italy

At one point one evening while I was wandering around looking for some place to eat I happened to pass this really cool church bazaar. Everything in it was 1 EUR and it was staffed by two delightful old ladies. I think they are delightful, they didn't really speak English. It kind of reminded my of my grandmother working in the local hospital gift shop.

Florence Italy

 And what trip to Florence would be complete without a photo of Ponte Vecchio? It's a bridge with shops on it, there is one like it in Venice too. Most of the shops are high end and I did happen to see a dead rat lying in the gutter in front of the Rolex store. It made a nice ironic statement for me.

Ponte Vecchio Florence Italy

This isn't exactly your typical Ponte Vecchio photo, but it did appear to be very popular to climb out on the bridge supports of the downriver bridge and take in the view of Ponte Vecchio, even during the day. I didn't see the police harass anyone for doing this.

So after two days in Florence I was back on the high-speed train to Rome. Which you'll get to read about next time, or maybe Venice if I decided to go out of order. You'll have to wait and see. 

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