Thursday, 14 April 2016

Italy: Florence part 1

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته and good day!

Off to Firenze!!!

If you missed the Venice part, here it is.  

We arrived in Florence around 1.30pm. Our initial plan was to go to Cinque Terre, which is the west coast of Italy. It has a beautiful view of the terrace overlooking the sea, like this.

Beautiful right? This village seemed like from a fairy tale or something. Pic taken from google. However, due to some technical difficulties, we decided to go to Florence a day early since it only takes 3 hours by bus to go there. The tickets only costs around €13. 

We had to book for a last minute accommodation since we changed our plans. Luckily, we found one that's cheap, and near the city. This is the review of the place. 

We arrived in Florence around noon, we stopped for lunch at a halal kebab place while looking for our accommodation. The owner was Pakistani and when he found out my bestie was half Pakistani as well, he gave us free Pakistani chai (tea). Lucky!

After we settled in our accommodation, prayed and washed up a bit, we decided to stroll around the city. We went out around 4pm, so we didn't plan to enter any attraction that day since most of them are almost closed anyway. Near our accommodation, like literally 10 minute walk from it is this place called Piazza della Santissima Annunziata (tergeliat lidah bak hang...). 

They held local market on that day. 

There were many things such as handmade pormodoro (tomato) sauces, handmade wood crafts, handmade perfumes and many more!

Our accommodation is very near to most attractions including the famous Duomo! You can see the dome (the red arrow).

I suggested we go visit the synagogue here, which is one of the largest in southern europe.

When we arrive at the synagogue, the place was already closed. We did manage to enter the next day though. I'll tell you about that later. Just around the corner near the synagogue, there's a convenient store, owned by a Banggoli muslim. We bought some drinks and he gave us an awesome discount. He even offered to give us free bags of crisps. 

Back home in Malaysia, these people are not much appreciated, some are even hated. But being abroad, you'll be so thankful to come across them because once they see you (Malaysians), they'll be so nice to you either give you free things or a massive discount on the things they're selling. So don't be harsh on other people that you perceive as being beneath you, they might be the one helping you the most some other time, or some other place. 

After the synagogue, we walked back to the dome. There's many of these horse carriages here. 

During this time of year, people love sitting outside to drink and eat. It's a nice weather after months of dreadful coldness.

On the way to the dome, there's this library where you can come to eat breakfast or lunch and sit at the terrace and have an amazing view of the dome.

And now the dome....tadaaaaa

This thing is huuuugggeeee!! I'll show you how huge it is in another post. 

You can enter the cathedral for free, but if you want to go up the dome and bell tower, you need to pay €15 where you can enter the museum, the baptistry, the dome, the cemetery and the bell tower. It's an awesome deal if you ask me. This is the schedule for the opening time. We were lucky that we planned to go on the next day, because one of the attraction (santa reparata) was closed today (3rd april). 

This is the baptistry (battistero). See the golden door?

This door is made by Lorenzo Ghiberti and gave the name 'the gates of paradise'. There's another one located in the Santa Maria museum beside the dome. 

Walking beside the cathedral, you'll bound to see nuns and priests. Being the catholic city, there's a whole lot of them. They look cute.

Beside the dome, you'll find Magnum Firenze. reason. Just because I've been to the one in London. =P

So we continue our journey at the alley next to the baptistry.

The main reason? To find this.

My bestie's labmate is from Florence. So we had a lot of suggestions and guidance from him, and he suggested we visit this place. There's actually a lot of them around Florence. They sell a lot of Italian products such as pasta, olive oil, sauces, even kitchenware. If you are on a tight budget like us, this shop is only meant for looking (cuci mata orang kata).

This is Basilica de San Lorenzo. The building is very unique. Look at the arrangement of the stones.

Afterwards, we walk to the Mercato Centrale...or also known as central market. hahaha..Along the way, there are many small vendors selling all sorts of stuff. If you didn't know before, Florence is well known for selling a quality and cheap Italian leather products from coats to bags. So you'll see a lot of shops selling leather products. One shop even mentioned he often had a visit from the YDPA and his wife where he managed to sell one coat to her majesty recently. While the people back home are struggling to feed themselves...hmmm

Anyway..this is the central market...

You would think they'll be like the CM in KL, but you'll be wrong. huhu...

This CM is kind of like a large food court. You can find various choices of Italian food here. We weren't that hungry at this time, plus we weren't really keen on eating vegetarian again. 

When we saw this gelato time to think, we just bought some. The price was reasonable too. Most gelato shops sell slightly more than this one. Here, you can get 3 flavours for €2.50. Pretty good eh? 

We each bought one cup. Who can pass this opportunity?! The cannoli (it's a famous pastry from Sicily) is only €3, and the's actually ice cream!!! It was soooooo gooooood..The shell was so crunchy and the ice cream inside...well..there's no word to describe it. 

We went back home when it gets dark. 

Until next time....Ciao!

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