I leave Florence in the morning. After three days here, I have to say I love this city. I like how incredibly close together everything is, making it seem rather small even if it is a large city (a friend of mine loves Edinburgh exactly for that reason - it is a large city and has all the conveniences of a large city without feeling like one).
While I saw quite a few things on Monday, I stumbled upon all the tourists on Tuesday - I guess I should have expected as much from a day that included the Galleria dell' Accademia (and Michelangelo's David) as well the Uffizi with the rather famous Botticelli painting The Birth of Venus. Also, it turns out, the tourists really like the bridge here - it was possibly the most crowded spot I'd found in the entire city, except for the tour group right in front of David.
I went to Palazzo Pitti today, and the Boboli Gardens were amazing - I couldn't believe the views of the cathedrale and the rest of the city scape from there. Naturally, the day I choose to go to the gardens is also the one day so far that it has rained. Oh well. Actually, I kind of wish I'd tried to do this a month earlier - while the weather really is quite great for walking around, it is just a bit too chilly to sit at a cafe in a square while enjoying the city and the scenery. Still, absolutely amazing city. It's been a while since I was this taken with a city - I would almost say maybe Edinburgh or Rome but both of those evoked slightly different feelings (I thoroughly enjoyed both those cities as well, but Rome had a much larger feel to it while Florence maybe feels more personal - or maybe it's just that it is so connected with the Medici and the Renaissance, and it's just amazing to actually be here).
It's definitely been a while since I've felt such a strong urge to buy things from a city. I mean, I bought some souvenirs in Athens but I like Greek inspired art (I go to the archealogical museum in basically every city I visit, and usually archealogical means Greek or Roman, even in cities like Berlin and Vienna), and in fact was completely expecting that - half the things I've bought in London were from a store near the British Museum that specializes in Greek replicas, so really, I was just building on what I already have in my apartment. I don't think I bought a single thing in Rome, and while I picked up some stuff in Istanbul, it really was just because I liked a particular piece of artwork. Here, on the other hand, I've been buying quite a few things that say "Firenze" on them. I guess Scotland is the closest I can think of because celtic knots are so obviously either Scottish or Irish. I can't even imagine how much money I would have spent already if I'd brought a bigger suitcase.
Everyone is attempting to sell artwork on the streets as well. Unfortunately, I like black and white photography of cities, and it doesn't seem like there are that many street vendors that sell that kind of stuff - I've managed to pick some up in London, Paris and Prague but there are quite a few cities that I liked more than Paris where I didn't manage to find any nice prints. Might be a good thing - I haven't even moved into my new apartment yet and I think I might already be out of wall space.