When I first stepped on to this renaissance city of Italy in the year 2010, I wasn't smitten until I lived there. On my first arrival at Firenze, the train station called Stazione Santa Maria Novella welcomed me with it's old and charming look. I feel like I was transported back in the old days of Europe just like how I've seen it in any old movies. There were twists and turns before I arrived at the house where I will stay in Florence in 2010. The Italian owner told me that she had a full-house when I arrived so she cannot accommodate me, unexpectedly. Oh oh... that was really unexpected for me! But it was a pleasant surprise that she drove me with her mini cooper and brought me to hostel where I will stay and happened to be her hostel. Then I had my accommodation. It was at Via Aprile Venti Nove where I first stayed in Florence. Great view of the duomo Santa Maria del Fiore and the terracotta roofs of the neighborhood. After a year, I came back to live in Firenze. I stayed at Via Agostini Lapini near Piazza Alberti with my peculiar landlord Letizia and cool Chinese, Spanish and Belgian housemates. I also stayed and lived at Borgo Lorenzo with my Italian best friend. The street of his house is just beside the Duomo and every morning I wake up with the sound of the church bell ringing. I also stayed at Via Della Scala just behind Stazione Santa Maria Novella but only for awhile to stay with my Amore that time. The first shelter I had in Firenze will always be significant for the reason that it became my passage to different houses I have visited and stayed in Firenze. Mi Manchi Via Aprile Venti Nove :)
How many times in this lifetime that I've seen a carousel? Countless. But the one that gave me goosebumps is the carousel at Piazza della Repubblica. Its grandeur and elegance are the characteristics that make this piece of art remarkable. I was told that the arc at the Piazza has been the gateway of the cavallo (horses) during the old days. And this carousel stands just so close to the arc. Whether day time or night time, this cutie ride glistens to whoever will see it. I saw this carousel for the first time during the night-- and it really gave me a nice feeling just by staring at it for a long time. So when I lived in Firenze, it's impossible for me not to pass by Piazza Repubblica just to have a look at this majestic rotating object. Even the surroundings of the Piazza became the venue of a lot interesting activities. Mi Manchi Piazza della Repubblica :-)
Bicicletta. The typical means of transportation among foreign and local students in Firenze. I lived in Florence and I was on my third day living there when I contacted a guy named Pietro. He was selling his bicycle and lives in the nearby town called Sesto Fiorentino. Although it was difficult for me to transport the second hand bike which will cost me 60 euros, I still looked at it. Pietro told me that there are cheaper bikes, but those are the stolen ones! Uhu... it's the same everywhere! Bicycle thieves! So after meeting Pietro, I just decided not to buy one and just rent a bike when I need it. I think it's better that way and there will be no attachment involve. I usually park my rented bike just outside the house at Via Agostino Lapini-- my Spanish housemate had her bike too and parked there as well. The joyride of the bicycle is one of the most interesting things I had in Firenze. Having experienced driving on the cobblestones was quite tough and challenging. Not to mention all the ATAF buses running around you plus the pandemonium of tourists were all part of the daily traffic struggles! Indeed, Mi Manchi Via Agostino Lapini :-)
Via Dei Martelli, reminds me of the Vodafone shop, Mc Donald's, a museum, and countless cafes that will lead you to Piazza San Marco. It's also one of the main big roads around the center of Firenze and most of the time there are plenty of tourists walking. Christmas Day of 2011 was the first time I saw this road with just a few people walking by. It's Buon Natale as the Italians will say... The beauty of doing nothing strongly happens on Christmas day. My memories of this main road is quite random and not really stunning. But I always remember simple and non sense situation most of the time. Because when you look at small things in a bigger perspective, you will then realize the value of it. I would say that this main road had serve snippets of good memories of my stay. I would truly say... Mi manchi Via Dei Martelli :-)
Ponte Vecchio from another point of view. You will see this bridge with the Arno river and all its typical features on all touristy photos but it's rare that people would pay attention on this tiny handcrafted metal thing. This is being sold to tourists when you go around Ponte Vecchio near Uffizi gallery. I find this object as a charming discovery in the most romantic spot of the city--Ponte Vecchio! The old bridge is the spot to view the river, listen to Saturday night live music, eat gelato, glance at the jewelry shops or simply have a good walk. I extremely miss it. Mi manchi Ponte Vecchio :-)
These are some polaroids from Firenze from my 2010-2011-2012 stay in the city. These photos are not the highlight or the most important photos I had in Florence but receiving them now reminds me that I really had tiny bits and pieces of wonderful memories during the time I lived there. I would love to write more of my Italian life, but I told myself that maybe I should write a book. It's just hard for me to put all the details of my stay into writing at the moment. There are ups and down since I came back from Italy. Roller coaster ride back here in Saigon but now I'm quite settled with some things. And today, I received these photos that made me wear a little smile on my face. No matter what, Firenze will always be my home and definitely I will be back soon whether for travel, exhibition, shopping or to live again. Who knows? For now I find comfort and happiness from where I am and who I am with ---without forgetting the good memories I had back in Italy. They will always be in the pocket of my heart :-)
I welcome myself back to blogging this 2013!