Experiencing the Renaissance - My Family Travels

The locals call the place Firenze. I call it a masterpiece. Florence was the first place I actually travelled to as a tourist rather than a kid complaining about having to go with his family. We stayed a total of 4 days in the heart of the European Renaissance, enjoying the most of it.

Our group was me, my brother Dennis, and our cousin Fred. Not knowing anything about this masterful city, I simply did whatever Dennis and Fred did upon arriving on July 3rd: rest and sleep. We stayed at a hotel on Via Nazionale called Hotel Ascot. Apparently, there were hoards of mosquitoes waiting for us in our room. They mainly targeted my brother, who complained the next day of having 42 mosquito bites. I’m not sure whether his situation was worse than mine- As for me, I was starving, as we only ate one meal on the day we arrived, and I could not sleep all night. Honestly, I do not know how I made it through.

As soon as we were able to, my brother and I left our hotel Monday morning to explore 6 AM Florence (we were not allowed out earlier, as it was deemed “dangerous”). Buying some Italian pastries was the best decision we could have made; they were absolutely delicious! Now awake with our hands sticky, we walked over and saw the magnificent Santa Maria Cathedral. This was the famous cathedral that Giotto built the tower of and Brunelleschi built the Duomo of.

As a result, we walked back to our hotel and enjoyed our complimentary breakfast. They had some cereal as well as some milk, but the milk was warm! How did these Italians manage to drink milk warm? I still don’t understand to this day. And their yogurt! Disgusting! Imagine yogurt with all the sweetness and flavor taken out of it, and there’s Italian yogurt for you. The Italian breakfast had one redeeming feature, however: croissants. They tasted amazing. The American ones are nothing compared to the European ones! I even smuggled some of them out of the bar/breakfast room so that I could eat some throughout the day. On the other hand, our meals in Florence were repetitive yet good-tasting. Italian-made pizza and pasta is the best! It tastes much better than those made in America, and they’re actually quite cheap (the pizzas especially) looking at the calorie/cost amount.

Unfortunately, all of this is nothing compared to the artful masterpiece of Florence. You can name any piece of artwork from the Italian Renaissance-bar certain pieces such as the Mona Lisa- and find them somewhere in Florence. Outside of the Florence Cathedral, we saw Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise. They’re actually massive! At the Piazza Della Signoria, we saw Cellini’s Perseus with the Head of Medusa as well as Michelangelo’s David! In my head, I thought, “No way they’re having all of these famous works out for public display!” Outside of the Uffizi, we saw statues of practically every famous Florentine from history: Machiavelli, Lorenzo and Giovanni de Medici, Leonardo da Vinci, and more. I never knew Florence had such a rich history! The churches and museums of Florence amplify my point- inside the Basilica di Santa Novella and the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore were huge ceilings hundreds of meters high; I hate to think about what sort of engineering was required to make them.

The Uffizi Gallery was the best of the best. In it was every famous painting of the Renaissance- from Tintoretto to Titian. Unfortunately, there isn’t much I can say about paintings in words. You’ll just have to see for yourself! I absolutely recommend it!

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