When Julius Caesar colonized a region near the Arno, he named the region “the city of flowers”-Florence(Firenze). Whether Caesar had foreseen it or not, that fragrant name remained until today as the best matching name for that region, where tremendous amounts of great artists and artworks bloomed with the support of the Medici during the Renaissance. For those of you who are looking for magnificent artworks and architectures from Renaissance or love of your life, Florence would be an excellent choice.
*Following dialogue is conducted between two people who had traveled to Florence last summer.
Hwang : I heard that you had traveled to Florence last summer just like I did and enjoyed there. What made Florence so special to you?
Koo : There are various reasons and I'll tell you one by one.
Hwang : Ok.
Koo : Traveling through Germany and Rome before Florence, I was so exhausted that I even thought about giving up Florence. So I decided to spend time in Florence lightheartedly just walking around and relaxing. When I first arrived there, I was somewhat disappointed because Florence looked so desolate compared to other places I had visited. And then I saw Ponte Vecchio in the evening. After that, I went over to Piazelle Michelangelo and the breathtaking night view there helped me forget all the unpleasant things during the travel. You know what I mean.. I just can't forget the feeling.
Hwang : Seems like I have an exactly reversed version of your story. Did you watch the movie Between Calm And Passion?
Koo : No, unfortunately.
Hwang : You should watch that movie! I was so excited to be in Florence at first solely because of that movie. But since the weather was scorching, I was completely drained out.
Koo : I thought the weather in Florence was quite alright. The weather in Rome was killing me.
Hwang : Really? For me, Florence was so hot that Rome was tolerable. I heard that Florence is like Daegu in Italy. By the way, it is interesting that we both got over hard time in Ponte Vecchio. Just like you, as soon as I arrived in Ponte Vecchio, every bad feelings I had because of the weather disappeared.
Picture1 Ponte Vecchio in sunset
Koo : The sunset in Ponte Vecchio was so beautiful. I stood there until sunset watching people performing.
Hwang : People drinking wine, performing, and kissing... Watching people on the bridge was also fun.
Koo : Yeah :)
Hwang : Did you know that Ponte Vecchio is the oldest bridge in the Arno?
Koo : Wow, I didn't know that. Isn't it where Dante and Beatrice had met each other for the first time?
Hwang : It is. For me, watching Ponte Vecchio at sunset on the other bridge was one of the most impressive experiences during the whole travel. I'm gonna miss that place
Koo : I prefer the night scene in Piazelle Michelangelo, though. I kept swearing while I was climbing up the hill but the view was rewarding. It's sad that my camera failed to capture it.
Hwang : I know. Cameras can't compete with what our eyes actually see.
Koo : Let our eyes capture and mind keep it.
Hwang : But to be honest with you, when I was in Piazelle Michelangelo, there were too many Korean tourists and vendors selling stuff like selfie sticks. It just felt like I was somewhere in Korea.
Koo : That's why the timing is important. When I was in Piazelle Michelangelo, it wasn't like that.
Picture2 The night view in Piazelle Michelangelo
Hwang : Did you go to Galleria degli Uffizi?
Koo : No. I didn't have that much time since my schedule allowed me only a day in Florence.
Hwang : I guess you had made a wise choice.
Koo : Why?
Hwang : There were too many Christian artworks which I personally think were boring and it was too large to see all the artworks there. Still, The Birth of Venus by Botticelli was beautiful.
Koo : Let me tell you what I felt visiting many museums and galleries in Europe. It was fun when I visited such places as a kid with a tour guide but this time I felt tired and bored. You see as much as you know. That's a great veritas.
Hwang : Well said. Here's one more lesson. Read the Bible and classic greek myths, kids!
Koo : I had read those books but I can't remember anything from them.
Hwang : Wait, how could we miss Duomo? That is where Aoi and Junsei in Between Calm And Passion meet each other again! "Duomo in Florence is a dome for the lovers. A place to pledge their eternal love." That is the very first line of the movie.
Koo : I didn't go up there. I just marvelled at that giant white cathedral.
Hwang : In the movie, only a few people were there and the characters didn't even seem like it was hard climbing up there. As soon as I got there, I realized that the movie deceived me. More than two hundred people including me were stuck in that extremely narrow staircases in Duomo. If the view was not rewarding, I would have been very angry.
Picture3 The view of Florence captured on top of Duomo
Koo : In my case, the leather market was disappointing. It was far worse than my expectation. I stopped by there on my way to a restaurant named "ZA-ZA" which is famous for the Florentine T-Bone steak. My friend and I devoured a kilogram of that chunk of meat!
Hwang : One more lesson. Don't miss the T-Bone steak in Florence. I went to that restaurant, too. It was so good
Koo : I miss Florence... The fact that it didn't have an urban character made me love it more.
Hwang : Me, too. It was nice talking with you today. It reminded me of the days in Florence. Thanks a lot!
Sharing my experiences in Florence with Koo, I realized that traveling is not an one-time event. The waves left behind the travel stay in the traveler's heart and change the way he thinks and acts, sometimes throughout the person's life. Try Florence and you are going to spend the rest of your life time missing there!
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