A New City

The first half of today was dedicated to leaving Milan and traveling to Florence, approximately a four hour trip by bus. Because I slept on the bus, I don’t have much to say about the trip except that I learned how different the definitions of rest stop are in the U.S. compared to Italy. Specifically, the foods offered in the Italian rest stop were very different than the Sheetz I’m used to back home. Everything was extremely fresh; I literally watched my pasta being cooked in front of me. On the four hour trip home from Pitt, I usually get fried mozzarella sticks from Sheetz.

Upon arrival in Florence, we checked into Hotel Guelfo Bianco. Here is different than our last accommodation at Hotel Sempione because the rooms are decorated more ornately. For instance, the ceiling of my quad room is adorned with golden flowers and our walls are painted in a lilac shade. The walls have gold-framed mirrors and we have floor length curtains.

Aside from a group dinner, the main activity of the day was a visit to the beautiful Ufizzi (offices) gallery. There, we saw works like Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus and even a Leonardo da Vinci original. I felt lucky to be in the presence of such famous works of art, in a city whose culture is centered around it. One interesting fact our tour guide explained is that for Italians, what we call still-life art (without humans) is considered to be almost nothing because it is the humans that provide animation and expression to the pieces.

Today was the first of several museum visits during this leg of the trip, so I am eager to explore even more in the days to come.

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