I am very lucky. As some of my roommates gloom about in homesickness, I feel like I am home. This is because somehow, I have persuaded an army of people to come and visit me in Florence.
This is good for two reasons. One, I get to see the people that I care about and I’m not totally alone as I wander about Europe. And two, it forces me to stop messing around and go see actually Florence stuff!
When you’re studying here, you live here. This is home. And just like any other home, you start to take it for granted. Have I been to the Uffizi Gallery? Uh, no. Have I been inside the Duomo Cathedral? Um…no. Have I have Florentine steak? Nope. Have I eaten a ton of gelato? YES! Yes I have.
But anyway, my point that I was getting at is that when people visit you, you are forced to actually do something during the week besides sit on your ass. You are forced to do the same cool stuff that tourists do, even though even the word “tourist” fights the word “cool.”
So when my boyfriend visited me last week (Grandma comes this week!) one of the first things that we did was trek up to Piazza Michelangelo, a pleasant little square, as Rick Steves informed me, that boasts one of the best views of the city. Unfortunately for him and myself, I was feeling it a little bit after some wine at lunch and I literally took us an hour in the opposite direction of this famous square across the Arno. And “an hour” is being gratuitous to me.
Quick and easy hike, Rick? Um, I think not. Seriously this is a goddamn JOURNEY. I thought I was in shape. I was sadly mistaken. I was sweating just looking at the pile of steps that led up the Square that is adorned with a fake David and tons of tourist shops. When we finally got there, I wanted to stay for hours just to make it worth it, but there isnt really much to do besides take a couple of pictures, listen to some music, eat some gelato, and watch the occasional wedding. Sounds awful, doesn’t it?
Another thing that I dragged my boyfriend into doing is climbing the Duomo, the beautiful landmark that chills right outside my window. I figured it was about time I climbed the 463 steps, being that I live there and all and I love it like its my parents. So we paid the eight euros, stood in the line that- take note here- clears out by the afternoon, and began the trek up the ancient and tiny steps that circle the Duomo.
Once in a while throughout your steps, you have the chance to glance out the little windows, which tease you with their ascending views as you climb Florence. Whenever you start to feel a little tired, you see the encouraging messages people have scratched all over the walls, like…
Keep going. The view is seriously worth it.
And then when you finally get to the top… you’re there. This is way better than lame Piazza Michelangelo, because you’re getting a 360 degree view of this fantastic countryside and the Tuscan hills that surround it. Yet another reason why the Duomo is seriously awesome.