Firenze, Firenze – otherwise known as Florence. I still don’t understand why we need to translate foreign names of places into English versions, it just seems lazy avoiding the authentic pronunciations of places. And laziness does not come to mind when exploring such an intriguing city. The warm colours of the structures gleam when bathed in the sunlight, revealing hundreds of years of history that is reflected in the Arno river. There are museums housing glorious works of art at every cobblestone corner and just as many gelato shops to match. Not to mention the fabulous panini shops filled with delicious tuscan meats and cheeses, and shops filled to the brim with chianti. It is truly a paradise for food, wine and art lovers, and I felt right at home living here for two months of my trip.
There was always something new to see and eat, and a day off from uni meant a day to explore more of the wonderful city. I had to pinch myself everyday to remind myself that I was living in this remarkable place.
A trip to Florence is not complete without a trip to the Tuscan wine region. My housemates and I went on a winery tour to sample some of Tuscany’s best cheese and wine. In addition to becoming nicely tipsy and well-fed, we couldn’t take our eyes off the breathtaking Tuscan landscape with the rolling hills and majestic villas.
You know when you just know that you’ll return to some place in the future? That’s how I feel about Firenze. I’m certain that next time I will be able to continue working on my lacklustre Italian speaking skills, consume more pasta and chianti, and find more uneven cobblestone streets to trip over on.
Ahh, Milan. The capital of fashion and finance – not that they’re interlinked. I had heard many stories of ‘cosmopolitan’ and ‘business-like’ Milan, and of course had seen plenty of photos from fashion week. But other than that, I didn’t know what to expect other than plenty of high-end shops and skyscrapers. And oh – the window shopping was glorious. There was row after row of luxury labels and apparel I had only witnessed in Vogue and while scrolling through runway photos. The excitement I felt for being in the presence of gorgeous clothing beat witnessing the Sistine Chapel, and the fact that there was no way I could afford to buy anything refused to dampen my spirits one bit.
Scattered around the city were stunning old buildings, which beautifully contrasted with the modern structures and made for good exploring. Of course we visited Milan’s Duomo, and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (which used to be the premier spot for the Milanese bourgeoisie to meet), and the Museum. We didn’t get a chance to see The Last Supper, but that will have to wait for a future visit.
I dragged my housemate (who could not care less about fashion) to a vintage fashion exhibition, showcasing outfits created by distinguished Milanese designers over the last century. While I was poring over the use of fabrics and styles, he tried his best to engage with it all.
I only spent the day in Milan which is not nearly enough time to experience the city and its atmosphere, but I loved what I had the opportunity to see (and eat!). It truly is a fashion lover’s paradise, and I was in awe of how achingly chic the Milanese people were. It really made me question why I had to pack so sensibly and leave all my nice clothes at home, when I knew that I would be visiting a country that essentially breathes fashion.
This picture of the sunset on the Duomo was my last sight of Milan, and hopefully it won’t be long until I return to see more breathtaking views.
Thanks for visiting my blog! Check out my Instagram @ilikeyourshirt_blog for more pictures of my travels in Italy! x
The concept of Italy is so romantic. Everything is awash with shades of red (napoli sauce, vino rossa, Ferraris – that fiery Italian passion), and one can’t help but flirt with the expectation of a steamy love affair with a gorgeous Italian stallion thanks to the barrage of starry-eyed american movie narratives. Unrealistic flings aside, I will whole-heartedly give myself over to bottles of chianti and pasta al pomodore. And I refuse to engage in any self-talk about the effect of my extravagant consumption, because as seen in the inspiring american narrative of Eat Pray Love, one can simply buy bigger jeans. I intend to carry this attitude with me for the next two months in Italy, because I shall actually be living and breathing in the city of Firenze (for those uncultured folk, it’s Florence) and that’s a pretty exciting opportunity.
My introduction to Italian culture was set in Roma, which I suppose is natural for a first time traveller to this pizza-and-pasta-abundant land. My first impressions of Rome have been fabulous and filled with awe; how can one city house so many spectacular buildings and features? It was staggering how many imposing monuments would be waiting at every corner, with some dating back a couple thousand years. It clearly demonstrates how their history boasts plenty of wealth and pride, and as a history lover myself, I ate it all up.
We spent three days exploring the unmissable main sights, and often while it was cold and rainy. Fortunately I had my exceedingly bright Aldi jacket to protect me from the elements, but not from the stares of disapproving fashionable Romans.
My primary question and concern during my trip in Rome was: how did the artists manage to paint detailed images on ceilings? Surely there would have been some intense logistics (and possibly a few stiff necks) behind how these ceilings were created.
The architecture! The artwork! There’s evidence of unbelievable craftsmanship everywhere. Three days was sweet, but definitely not enough to completely appreciate the inexhaustible facets forming historic and contemporary Roma. This means that another visit to this remarkable city is on the agenda. x
For more pictures of my Italian adventures, check out my Instagram @ilikeyourshirt_blog!