Florence is the world’s cradle of Renaissance. Florence is one of the most touristic cities in Italy, usually fighting with Venice for the second place on the list after Rome. It even appears on the top lists of global rankings as one of the must-visit places in the whole world. So, it is very natural that Florentine streets are always overcrowded with masses of visitors, and as Florence city itself is not a big one, this impression is being felt even more intensively. However, it is possible to find and enjoy silence even there. For example, in the early morning.
That was Sunday, October 12th, a quarter past six in the morning. When I reached center from the side of Santa Maria Novella train station, darkness was still covering the city.
At 6:22 am I passed already opened souvenir kiosk in via dei Panzani street, which exists as a straight gateway from the station towards Florence Cathedral.
Square of Cathedral itself actually was not totally empty. There were sweepers working around, early travellers, with luggage going towards the station, locals, taking out their dogs, young partiers, still awake from the celebrations of the night before, Chinese tourists, already exploring downtown with maps in their hands, as well photographers with the stands, waiting for the best moment to capture city’s beauty. And, there was me, strolling around the cobbled streets, trying to experience something new. Starting with still dark Florence, I passed the main tourist paths, the most important squares, a few times crossed river Arno, had a chat with policeman, who just started his turn on the Ponte Vecchio old bridge, stopped for the morning’s Caffe Latte, till the full daylight came. It took just a few hours of such morning’s silence, and then again the city filled up with bustle and wanderers from all around the world.
However, the most beautiful and magical from all was the moment of sunrise, just a few minutes before the city got fully covered up with a daylight. Without any doubts it played a role of a total reward after such an early waking up. Try it once, and you’ll understand what an unforgettable experience I am speaking about. My verdict? Meeting the sunrise over the river Arno I’d definitely put on the list of “Must do in Florence”!
May I invite you now to take a walk in early Sunday morning’s Florence?
6:22 Everything around was closed, but in via dei Panzani street I found already opened souvenir kiosk:
6:38 Darkness was still covering the city and the full moon over the Ponte Vecchio was a reminder of slowly passing-away night:
6:44 The views of lightened up Ponte Vecchio from Ponte Santa Trinita bridge:
6:49 Blue sky in via de’ Tornabuoni, famous for its high end shops:
6:53 Florence Cathedral and first appearance of daylight:
6:54 The moment, when Florence Cathedral’s square, which during the day is always overcrowded with masses of tourists, was still quiet:
6:58 Piazza della Signoria square, the old Palazzo Vecchio palace and Loggia dei Lanzi:
6:59 Piazza della Signoria and the Fountain of Neptune:
7:01 Pillars and arcs of Galleria degli Uffizi, opening the views of the other side of river Arno:
7:04 Access of the via Por Santa Maria, where during the day gather crowds of people, waiting for their chance to put a step on the Old Bridge:
7:04 Tranquility of the old Ponte Vecchio bridge. Even the famous jewelry shops are still closed:
7:08 This was the most beautiful and magical moment of all. Meeting the sunrise over the river Arno I’d definitely put on the list of “Top things to do in Florence”! You just stand, admire and don’t want anything else in life…
7:14 Piazza Santo Spirito, during the night famous between partiers, where you can find many bars and restaurants or simply just get into the crowd, enjoying the evening right in the middle of the square. On Sunday morning it was already busy, by the way, the busiest spot, which I’ve met on my way, because vendors were preparing for the weekly Antique Market:
7:18 The only ones, hanging around the Palazzo Pitti palace, were pigeons:
7:24 Access to the Ponte Vecchio from Via Guicciardini, which as well during the day gets overflooded with people:
7:34 Still silent and calm Ponte Vecchio:
7:36 Mercato Nuovo market, famous for its leather goods, was trying to wake up:
7:38 Piazza della Repubblica. In the old days its cafes and restaurants were popular among famous writers and artists:
7:41 The lonely passer-by in Piazza Duomo:
7:46 Finally, it’s time for my deserved Caffe Latte. Yes, in the early Sunday morning not so many cafes were opened, what actually quite surprised me. However, you can always be sure for getting your coffee in McDonald’s close to the train station, which is opened 24/7:
7:59 Always bustling Borgo San Lorenzo at this hour was still quiet:
8:01 Basilica di San Lorenzo, one of the biggest Florentine churches, located in the area of San Lorenzo market, famous for the leather goods:
8:11 Piazza della Santissima Annunziata with a large bronze statue of Ferdinando I de’ Medici in the center:
8:38 The lively atmosphere was already felt in Piazza Santa Croce, one more famous Florentine square. There was an orchestra rehearsing, probably for further event of the day:
8:49 Piazza del Duomo was getting the first crowds of the day:
That was a really pleasant experience to see usually very lively city, lightened up with different lights and covered with not-yet-seen veil of tranquility. The experience, which I’d recommend for everyone. Just wake up and go!
by Gintarė Adamonytė