My Unfortunate Encounter with Florence.

by | Dec 2, 2011 | Europe, Italy, Travel | 3 comments

Unfortunate?! You might be wondering how on earth I could have an unfortunate encounter with Florence. All of my life I have been hearing marvelous things about Florence, a city full of inspiration and art and creativity. I had been told that, if ever I was in Italy, a visit to Florence was a must. It is undeniably a beautiful city but my first experience left me sadly disappointed.

Florence welcomed me with a steady three day downpour of rain, cloudy skies and a horrible backpacker’s campsite for accommodation. When people think of Italy, they often think of the amazing heat that dominates the country. What people don’t tell you is that it rains in Italy — alot. At least it rained frequently during the time I was there, which was during the months of June and July. Most of the time, the rain couldn’t stop us in our quest to walk every path in every city and, thankfully, the rain was often just a light drizzle. However, the rain in Florence rained down hard and fast for three days straight. I arrived in this gloomy city on my nineteenth birthday after a short stop in Verona. Once we had got our belongings rearranged and strapped to our backs, Alex, Sophie and I hopped onto a bus and began our first adventure in getting lost in this new city. As the bus made it’s way up a hill, everyone marveled at the glorious view beneath the Piazzale Michelangelo. Below us, the city of Florence sprawled out elegantly with the river Arno glistening, the Duomo in plain sight and the Ponte Vecchio Bridge alive with lights. What we didn’t realize was that this was the very view that made our hostel, Camping Michelangelo, so sought-after, as far as campsites go. It wasn’t until the bus was going back down to the river that we clued in and by then it was too late, resulting in a search for a second bus to take us back up.


Everything about the campsite was great, apart from our actual tent houses. With the constant rain and humidity, the tents maintained an uncomfortable damp feeling throughout the duration of our stay, something that made it difficult for our clothes to dry. On most evenings I was welcomed back to bed by a variety of creepy creatures crawling across my pillow, likely having gained access to our temporary home through the gaps between the tent house floor and the ground. One night later, the hostel ATM stole four hundred dollars from my account and I had to succumb to the horror of calling my dad back in Canada for emergency money. I truly tried my best to enjoy Florence! Each day the three of us set out with a mission to explore and become inspired. Numerous times we got lost, which is always a personal favorite in the adventures of travel, and I adoringly longed after the exquisite gold jewelry that made up the entirety of the Ponte Vecchio. The highlight of my short time in Florence was the surprise chocolate cake bought for my birthday from the hostel shop and the make-shift lighter as my candle. That is certainly a memory I will never forget. It isn’t hard to imagine how beautiful this city is without the rain that drenched us from the second we stepped out of our tents. I especially enjoyed the atmosphere of Florence at night, when the bridges and shops are shining and the city has a sort of whimsical, rich appeal to it. Although my first impression of Florence is, unfortunately, a mediocre one, I am determined to reunite myself with this city and experience it as it should be. What do you love, or hate, about Florence?

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