I had originally imagined titling this simply "Friday in Florence." Then I opened my folder of photos and realized that I had 56 photos taken in the six or so hours of that first day in Florence.
Thus the subtitle. This post is limited to photos taken from the bus and a very few others.
I was smart this year and did not have a carry-on bag apart from my purse and another bag about the same size as my purse. So that meant all I had to drag around was my suitcase. Wheels make all the difference, and I still wonder why it took so many years for someone to come up with the idea of putting suitcases on wheels. At any rate, they are wonderful, those wheels. Even so, wheeling around both a larger suitcase and a smaller carry-on was a pain when I did it, so I was glad not to this time.
And it allowed me to consider the possibility of taking the bus from the train station rather than feeling like I needed a taxi.
And so I did.
Anyway, as I walked out of the station I got a nice picture of the Italian flag . . .
. . . and its accompanying electrical wire companions.
The first day I came to Florence, as a college student, our professor/director, Terry Edwards, mentioned while giving us the basic downtown tour that we might as well give up on the idea of getting a photograph with very much of the city in it, if we thought we could manage not to have a crane somewhere in the picture. Work is always going on somewhere in a city with so many older buildings to be taken care of.
So it seemed like a funny little welcome to see a crane not a minute after stepping out of the station!
Before taking the bus I did something I had never done in the 25 years I have been visiting or living in Italy-- I went to the Tourist Information Office to see what they might have. It's near the train station, but I'd never felt the need to stop in there. I'm not even sure I knew what it was, though I imagine we were told back in college.
Tourist brochures in hand, I headed back toward the station, found the stop for Bus D, I believe it was. The lettered bus system is new since last time I took a bus. I didn't exactly hop on the bus, but with only the one suitcase, getting on wasn't too bad, and soon I was seated in a new-fangled air-conditioned Florence bus and enjoying the views from my window.
I hope you'll enjoy them, too.
Going down one side of the Arno after having crossed over.
And then crossing back over to the other side.
We just don't have big walls like this in Memphis.
Or big city gates like this! It amazes me that they built these so many years ago and that we just ride right by them, and under them.
I'm amazed this turned out as well as it did. We must have really slowed down turning a curve.
Yes, Roberto Benigni was in town, so I saw these signs here, there, and everywhere throughout my time there. I didn't pay to go see Benigni, however. He was performing on the square of Santa Croce church, by the way, which is why I have no pictures from that square. Normally one of my favorite places, it was covered in stadium seats, electrical wiring, staging, etc. Uglissimo! But I digress.
Because on that first Friday, I was still enchanted by the city's beauty. And surprised that my bus went right in front of the Palazzo Pitti!
Not certain, but I believe this is part if the exterior walls of the Uffizi, seen from across the river.
I was just pondering the walls and how far away from Memphis and America I felt. I was still in a city, but a very different kind of city in some ways.
And finally the bus stopped at Piazza Ferrucci, and it was time to really feel far away from home and walk the distance to my home away from home, about a quarter mile, perhaps a little more. Again I was struck by the difference in lifestyles. A quarter mile is nothing, and yet in many parts of America, we would never walk that far because our cars are in parking lots much closer than that. We hardly get the chance.
As you can see, it was a pleasant walk along Viale Michelangelo, a tree-lined avenue that goes up to the Piazzale Michelangelo. But that will wait for another post.