This past weekend we had the last of our three major trips as a group. On this trip we got to visit Sienna for one day and then made our way to Florence for the next three days. Sienna was beautiful in so many ways, we got to walk around some of the different contradas, districts, of sienna. Each contrada has its own logo, and colors. We spent most of our time in the Tartuca (Tortoise) contrada which was this year’s winner of the Palio. The Palio is a horse race that is celebrated twice a year in the months of July and august. Ten horses and riders represent their contrada by wearing specific colors. The Palio gets held at the Piazza del Compo which is considered the heart of sienna. I wish we had had the opportunity to attend it, but unfortunately, we were just a couple of months too late.
Our next stop was Florence, our hotel was located in the middle of the city in the piazza of the Santa Maria Novella right next to the basilica by the famous renaissance architect Leon Battista Alberti. Florence is hands down my favorite Italian city so far, the architecture was astonishing, whether it was famous buildings that we have studied previously or residential buildings. The atmosphere of the city makes you fall in love with it instantly.
We got to visit the accademia museum which housed the famous David statue by the great Michelangelo, as well as other well-known statue that represent significant stories of the past. The highlight of my trip was when I got to climb up the dome of the cathedral of Florence, formally the Cathedral di Santa Maria del Fiore. The dome of the cathedral is the biggest brick structure in the world. It consists of an inner and an outer shell that are held together by giant brick arches and interlocking rings of stone and wood. in order to go all the way on top of the dome you would have to be walking in between the two shells, a three foot wide path if not less. I’m not going to lie it was a struggle going up there but the view that we experienced once we got to the top was worth it all
The night life was also wild in Florence, there were a lot of disco techs near our hotel where we got to meet locals as well as other international students from all over the world that are working on completing their study abroad program. We also got the chance to visit Pisa, because why not go to see the tower when it’s only an hour away! Unfortunately, it was raining, so we made sure that we got our basic pictures before leaving. After this journey, Florence defiantly has a special place in my heart and I will make sure that I will visit it in the near future to learn more and more the city.