Sunday Chronicle triptease 19 Jun 2016 Of walking, sketches ...

Of walking, sketches and gelato

Published Jun 19, 2016, 12:44 am IST
Updated Jun 19, 2016, 12:44 am IST
Florence is a paradise for those who seek art in little bylanes or indulge in the goodness of culinary treats.
Florence city
 Florence city

I feel that travel is the only thing you buy which makes you richer! I am an absolute travel enthusiast and have been fortunate enough to explore various incredible destinations around the world. One such place I recently went to was Florence, which is the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region. As they say, it truly is home to some of the most beautiful art, architecture and renaissance history. My mother Tanuja and I were in Florence for just a day, as part of the IMFA (Marathi film awards) cruise and festival where she was getting a lifetime achievement award and I was performing, but I made sure that we made the most of our day there. And it definitely was a very well spent day! For all those who might take a trip to this beautiful place, remember that walking is the best way to explore it and really soak in its flavour.

Mom and I first visited the Duomo, which is the tallest and most amazing church right in the heart of the city. It’s located in the exact centre of the city, which makes it the focal point and main tourist attraction. The church is not only picturesque from the outside, but absolutely beautiful on the inside too. Both mom and I were awe-struck by its entire finish. A few facts I learnt about the Florence Duomo was that it’s the fourth largest church in the world.


A quaint bylane in FlorenceA quaint bylane in Florence

This was my first time in Florence and therefore my first experience of this Duomo. I have however, been to other Italian cities and the Milan Duomo as well, which is exquisite too. If I compare the two in my head, I find that the Florence Duomo is more stark. While exploring it, I also discovered that the architecture on the inside was made centuries ago with a lot of whitish stone, which was quite interesting to see. I also came across a lot of painters and sketch artists sitting outside the Duomo, sketching and drawing the Duomo as well as the scenery around it. I even bought a lovely sketch from one of them, which I have now hung on the wall in my office.

After that mom and I sat at one of the small outdoor cafes located around the central area, where we watched people relaxing, sitting around, drinking and eating the local food. Mom ordered a spaghetti bolognese while I relished some of the yummiest gamba, which is a delicious garlic prawn dish. I have heard and now know that the local dishes at these cafes are the best, serving some of the freshest food you can ever try. So, my suggestion to those visiting Florence and other places in Italy, is to please go for all the local produce. There’s absolutely nothing else like it!


Florence cathedralFlorence cathedral

After lunch, mom and I just walked around the city and it’s cute little lanes and bylanes, which had these lovely souvenir shops and leather shops as well. We also saw a lot of other tourists walking into so many branded stores to buy clothes, but we preferred to stick with visiting all the local city shops, to see what they had to offer. And that was the best decision we could have taken, really. Also, in my opinion, Italian people are some of the nicest I have ever met. They were always willing to help us out with any directions needed, and just happy and friendly people to talk to. A special mention is due to the extremely good-looking and well-built Italian men, who were all so charming!

Whilst walking around I came across a local gelato ice-cream parlour too, which is quite famous and got me all excited. I made mom take a trip inside and once there, I had the best chocolate ice-cream ever! Since I am a chocolate lover, I even went ahead and had a hot chocolate shot which was to die for! I really think that the authentic Italian gelato is one of the best ice-creams I have ever tried. Mom and I then spent the rest of our day just walking around and soaking in the ambience of the pretty streets, happy people, romantic setting and yummy delicacies of the city.

I truly feel that Florence is an art lovers’ delight as well as an ancient and authentic cultural hub, and should definitely be on every traveler’s bucket list! It is one of the most picturesque and splendid cities I have ever been to, and would love to go back there once again!  



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