Friday, August 5, 2011

Milan and Florence

            Over the weekend I went to two of Italy’s most famous cities, Milan and Florence.  Friday I took a day trip to Milan just with my roommate.  As a fashion major, I have always wanted to travel to Milan, and it was no disappointment.  Designer stores line the streets for miles.  Italian designers especially like Ferragamo, Dolce and Gabbana, and Alberta Makali proudly showcase the best of their new lines.  It’s clear that Milan is a Mecca for high-end fashion. 
            In the midst of the stores and the shops, almost out of nowhere, Milan’s beautiful and gothic Duomo appears almost out of nowhere.  The massive building was breathtaking, and one of my favorite sites.  Situated in a piazza, the Duomo reminds you of the rich history of Milan. 

The Duomo

            For the first time, I saw the beautiful handcrafted leather goods I had always heard about.  There are leather markets as well as regular shops that pop up more than Starbucks in the US.  Each store has similar prices and items, all though each shop owner makes the goods by hand.  The smell of leather authenticates the beautiful handcrafted work.  
            After a long day of walking and shopping, it was time to return to the train station and catch a train to Florence.  I arrived in my hotel room with my roommate, Ashlie.  Distracted by our entirely pink room (including two pink sequined throw pillows,) we almost didn’t realize how beautiful the view from our window was.  Our hotel was located at the bottom corner of a piazza.  We overlooked the tops of trees, and a beautiful section of Florence, or Firenze as they call it in Italy.  We could even see the top of the Duomo.

A dark and semi blurry view from my hotel at night

            When the sun rose, Ashlie and I got up bright and early to fit in maximum exploration.  Out with only a map and a small amount of Italian vocabulary, the two of us were determined to find the Duomo, the piazza containing the replica of the statue of David, Ponte Vecchio the famous bridge, and the Ufizi Museum.  Luckily, we managed to find everything!  The Duomo was only about a ten minute walk from our little pink hotel, and everything else seemed rather close as well.  The streets of Florence are exactly as I pictured them to be.  More family owned leather shops and hand crafted jewelry stores lined our walkways.  The architecture transforms you to another century.  Florence was one of my favorite places in Italy.  As my roommate and I were exploring, we discovered a looong line of people.  With English commonly spoken due to the large amount of tourists it didn’t take us long to find out that the original statue of David was only meters away from us, and these people were waiting in line to go and view it.  Spending most of our money on getting to Florence, my roommate and I opted to see the free replica in a nearby piazza.  It was just as beautiful!  We also managed to find the Ponte Vecchio.  The streets on either side of the bridge are lined with gold and silver shops each claiming to have the best prices and most unique jewelry.  The view from the bridge was well worth seeing.

The Duomo in Florence

Ponte Vecchio
The view from Ponte Vecchio
Statue of David replica
           The sites of Florence were absolutely beautiful, but after being somewhere filled with tourists it was really nice to return to quiet Torino.

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