Florence treated us kindly. I'd felt a little stressed and down towards the end of this summer, so the vacation was a much needed one. I'm not sure if it managed to cure the blues, but while there everything was nothing short of lovely, and the stress is definitely gone. I'll now write myself a prescription of museum after museum for the next time I feel super stressed.
In Florence we went to lots of tiny museums (in addition to the big ones), like the Museum of Mineralogy, where there was no one else there, or had just a tiny handful of people wandering around in different parts of the museum. Florence was filled to the brim with tourists, even when the locals were away vacationing, and many shops closed, so stepping away from the crowds was always a good idea.
We got to enjoy great weather all week. Hot, but windy enough for it not to feel stifling, and the light was just gorgeous throughout our visit no matter what the time of the day was. I now understand why many of the late 19th century Finnish artists traveled to southern Europe for inspiration. The light is quite unlike the light we have here. At times it felt like we had completely stepped away from reality.
Before heading off to the airport we managed to squeeze in a visit to Il Torchio, where we met Erin, who had coincidentally just returned from her vacation to Finland/northern Europe. I could have admired her books and workshop for longer, but time quickly ran out as we chatted. I did buy a few sheets of paper - more on my Florence paper finds at a later date. Talking with Erin was a much needed grounding moment; it really was the first time in a week that I had a connection to everyday life. Such an absurd idea, but there was nothing in Florence that looked or felt like home. Talking about bookbinding always feels like home.
I don't want to bore you with travel stories, but I still wanted to share photos and bits with you guys. I know this is a photo heavy post, but I'd rather have it all out there at once instead of turning this blog into a travel blog for the next month, so I hope you accept my excuse this one time and click ahead to read more.
We spent lots of time wandering on the side streets and kept finding wonderful street art everywhere we went.
I don't know enough Italian to understand what these poems say, but as a poet I'm still delighted to run into poetry on the streets. I'd actually rather not know what these say - it'd be a real downer if I hated them.
The Boboli Garden was gorgeous, but on that day the weather soon got the best of us. We escaped the heat to the Costume Gallery, which was the best part of Pitti Palace for us both. I think it says a lot when a grumpy guy enjoys 20th century women's clothing more than the Gallery of Modern Art, although the Costume Gallery had better air conditioning.
I could have taken photos non-stop - the city was full of amazing details. The architecture is just fascinating, especially to a Finn like me.
One mandatory sunset at Ponte Vecchio photo. In reality Ponte Vecchio was our least favourite place. We lived in Oltrarno and had to cross the crowded Ponte Vecchio at least a few times a day.
Another thing we did a few times a day was eat gelato! We tried out a number of the best rated gelato shops, and My Sugar is our clear winner. I believe words like orgasmic and heaven were used by V. At the time I focused more on eating than finding any words.
My last nerdy tip for visiting Florence: go to Museo Galileo! It was awesome! So many beautiful astrolabes and other gorgeous tools...
That's all for now. I came home with more paper than I left with, but more on the papers later. I hope you enjoyed this little peek of Florence!