Florence is one of the most fashionable cities in Italy and, in fact, is the home of the famous men’s Italian fashion show. We had fun counting the number of Italian men we saw wearing blue blazers, orange shoes, and khaki pants – a combination we thought was unusual but must have been the latest new fad. If you’re in the mood for shopping, there are hundreds of stores to choose from and cheap leather goods are easy to find. What we liked best about Florence though were the museums and, of course, the David.
Statues, Duomo, and Dante
The first night in Florence we took a walking tour with our guide. We went to the Duomo of Florence and learned about the history of the dome. The church was initially built in 1296 but the dome was left unfinished due to lack of knowledge as to how to build a dome but was later completed in 1436, at the height of the Renaissance. After the tour, we walked in search of Dante’s house and church. What we found was a tiny 11th century church where Dante was alleged to have married his wife. It was starkly different in its appearance to many of the Renaissance churches we had yet seen. It was starkly medieval, lit by a low and ominous lighting, decorated with simple paintings, and caked with the soot of candles. We also saw the statue of Cosimo de Medici, a wealthy banker that founded the Medici dynasty, outside the Basilica of San Lorenzo.
Italian Sliced Steak
Once again, we were able to lodge in the center of Florence just blocks away from San Lorenzo, another truly remarkable feature of being on a Rick Steves’ tour. That evening we dined with our fellow tour members on Tagliata, or a tender, juicy Italian sliced steak. We were originally scheduled to see The David that night but there was a worker strike. Our guide Trina adapted and rescheduled us to see it that morning.