Italy is a place of bikes where the alley ways and streets are filled with both bikes well loved and abandoned. Some are tagged with graffiti, while others are dainty and clean. Some are simply left abandoned, down a dark alleyway for someone else to find.
They are so interesting to look at with the a thousand different backdrops from different city walls. The city changes but the bikes stay the same. They are a monument to mobility that mark the streets without mercy.
Before even entering the magnificent city of Florence we are greeted by a grand overlook of the entire city underneath a replica of the David statue. Besides, the overlook from the Campanile in Venice, this was one of the coolest city overlooks I have ever seen. All of Florence lays before you, you can see Il Duomo, the Ponte Vecchio, spires from cathedrals, and all the wonderful components that make up the glory that is Florence
It is so very strange how different this city is than any I have been to in the United States. There is such a grace and splendor that emanates from this city that is not present elsewhere.
You can feel the Renaissance as if it happened yesterday. You can feel the presence of some of the greatest minds of all time, living here. Walking the streets that they once walked. Seeing the sights they say as part of their daily routines. This is the city of minds, of rebirth and discovery.
The Ponte Vecchio, a bridge that is full of artisan splendor, with jewelry shops hanging from the sides of the bridges and on either side the main fairways of Florence.
This is a city that cannot only be seen from an overlook and enjoyed because the real life of the city can be found walking through the streets between works and houses of the greats. Once you enter Florence, it will never be the same.
In Florence there is a tradition called the Florence Lover’s Locks. It is said that in Florence that if you and your true love take a lock with your names written on it and lock it somewhere in FLorence your love will last forever. As we explored Florence, all over the city we discovered these locks. They are only allowed in certain sections of the city and in all other places they will be cut down. Because of this people have had to get creative and lock them in impossible to reach and obscure places. It was amazing to look all over the city in random unfathomable places that had locks hanging from it like of the bottom of a bridge or incredibly high on a wall. This romantic symbol hidden all over the city is just one note of charm to introduce the beauty and splendor of Florence.
Waking up in the morning and walking outside into a bright sunny city were noise seems to happily embrace you is an experience unknown to me before Venice. To feel the life, the heartbeat of the city pulsing with movement, joy, and vibrancy with every breath and word uttered in the near vicinity. Italy is a place of passion, where people do not simply go through the motions of life, they live it. I felt that here in Venice and love it.
We took a water taxi as a method of touring the marvelous Grand canal of Venice. The open expansive water ways bordered by buildings like cliff edges. The buildings are beautiful and old-looking. Some dilapidated, others wildly vibrant with color and life. I was told that actually Venice is not very inhabited in the home on the Canal, only the rich can afford it so many of these beautiful homes ar left empty, to watch over the waterways like silent lonesome guardians.
The color of Venice is gorgeous, each green waterway leads down some beautiful alleyway where mysterious adventures lie waiting for other times. There is just a majesty unmatched here and it leaves you with an astounding feeling of awe and appreciation for this sinking city.
It feels almost like magic as we ride on our boat through the veins of the city, watching life unravel before us, hearing snippets of italian on the wind and sounds of life.
Our first stop in Venice besides the Grand Canal boat ride was the Rialto Bridge. This great white arch over the Grand Canal is teeming with people, street vendors, and glorious merchant/ artisan shops.
It is a center of activity and we made sure to stop at the Rialto market to buy some fruit for later.
It is strange, at Italian markets they do not let you touch anything. No testing of ripeness or for bad spots on fruit, you tell the merchant what type you want and how many and they give you which ever they choose. This was very strange for me to actually be chastised for touching fruit that I was going to buy.
They also had some interesting foods that I am not used to seeing at my local farmer’s market. It was really fun interacting with the people who just try to live their lives here in Venice, not tourists.
On the actual Rialto we found beautiful shops full of Venetian glass, handmade leather, and of course Venetian masks made with artful and caring hands. It was ana amazing way to start our adventure. Once off the water, an entire new world of Venice is revealed, hidden in dark alley ways, bright open Piazzas, and artisan shops as well as magnificent restaurants. All of this was waiting on th other side of that bridge, and we crossed it hungrily.
For those of you who are not aware, I have been in Europe for the last week. I have been without internet and will soon be again, so I will just give a quick update. We started in Germany with a flight to Munich, after several days there we left for Venice, on the way we also stopped in Austria. We had a magical stay in Venice and have just finally moved on to Tuscany where we are currently staying in Chianti, a very small wine village right between Florence and Siena. After a day trip to Florence today tomorrow we are moving on to Siena and ending our day in Vinci, Italy.
Soooooo if you didn’t catch all of that I have been to Germany, Austria, and Italy. I am having the time of my life and can’t believe I am almost half way done with this trip already. Frankly it breaks my heart, but this is the advenutre of a lifetime and I am trying to appreciate every single moment of it.
Here are some random pictures of our adventures so far, when I return from my escapades in Europe I will elaborate and provide all stories, observations, and of course, pictures.