Before we knew it, it was the morning of our last day in Florence. I was very sad about it as I have totally fallen for this city. Firenze is for sure another city that I am adding to the list of cities that I would move to within a second.
We started the day with going to the Duomo, which is a miracle of Renaissance engineering and architecture. The inside of the cathedral holds some Uccello frescoes but is otherwise pretty bare. The baptistery contained beautiful Byzantine mosaics and the breathtaking Gates of Paradise. Inside the Museo we got to see statues by Michelangelo, Donatello and Andrea Pisano. One of the highlights was climbing 414 steps up to the top of the Giotto’s bell tower. It was quite the exercise, but it was definitely worth it as the payoff was an incredible view of the entire city.
Then it was time to do a little bit of shopping. We went to the San Lorenzo Market where I bought a beautiful yellow leather belt and a nice cashmere scarf for the cold Canadian winters. I went into some more stationery stores fascinated by the locally made paper products and we ended up stumbling across a tiny little leather store with beautiful leather bags. The store owner explained some of their production methods to us and it was wonderful to be in a little store that wasn’t filled with tourists. I have to say I absolutely love Italian fashion and the shopping in Florence was amazing. Our next stop was Santa Croce, which is pretty much Florence’s Westminster Abbey. The church also contains the tombs of one of my favorite painters of all times “Michelangelo”, Giotto frescos and the world famous leather school Scuola del Cuoio, where we had the opportunity to watch the craftsman work on leather purses and leather-bound books. What an incredible art form!
We walked along the river Arno to the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge. There are shops hanging from both sides of Taddeo Gaddi’s medieval bridge. In the 16th century Ferdinando I evicted the butchers from the shops because he didn’t like the smell and they have been replaced by goldsmiths, silversmiths and art dealers. It is said that the economic concept of bankruptcy originated here: when a merchant could not pay his debts, the table on which he sold his wares (the “banco”) was physically broken (“rotto”) by soldiers, and this practice was called “bancorotto” (broken table; possibly it can come from “banca rotta” which means “broken bank”). Not having a table anymore, the merchant was not able to sell anything.
For our last night we went back to the Piazza della Signoria and had a wonderful dinner listing to an incredible opera singer who was performing on the street. Of course we ended our last night with some gelato.