After about a week of solid sweating, I was heading into a few of the hottest days so there wasn’t going to be any relief. I went through almost an entire 1.5L water bottle by the time I got to the bus in Verona and it was only getting warmer. My 11 am bus got there about 15 minutes late and it was already in the high 90s by then. Italy, you’re beautiful, but man it is hot in August!
I was very excited to be going to Florence next because I know so many people who went there, studied there, and basically just adored the city. It was going to be the hottest city so far but I still had high hopes. (Keep in mind I was thinking this on an air conditioned bus!)
It took a few hours to get there but once I did, I was actually a little relieved to be getting off the bus. I have never been someone who gets travel sick before, but now, every time I get on a bus that lasts more than an hour, I start not feeling well. The hot breeze was better than sitting on the bus at this point. I quickly bought yet another 1.5L water bottle (and silently cursed myself for not bringing a refillable water bottle) and made my way to the next hostel. Turns out this one had air conditioning, but for some reason, it wasn’t very cold. I still had to sleep with no sheets on at night, but it was at least shady on that side of the building. The street we were on had TONS of restaurants and it smelled amazing when I was getting there around dinner time, and since I was feeling a little better with the heat, I went in search of an air conditioned restaurant.
I will definitely be going back to Italy at some point in my life because I am pretty sure I hardly ate anything but gelato. The first night in Florence I got some spaghetti, but other than that, it was too hot. I sacrificed for the coffee there because if any of you know me, you know that I cannot live without it. It was just too hot to really eat anything warm so I went for a sweet, cold treat instead of a substantial meal most nights. Definitely a cheaper option in the short term, but considering how many times I actually got a gelato throughout the day, it probably was pretty even.
I woke up fairly early on the full day I had in Florence mainly because of the heat, but I took advantage of it and went out for the day. There was a lot to see and the sooner I got out, the sooner I could get out of the heat. I had this idea in my head that Florence was this major city and it was pretty big so it would be difficult to walk (literally on my mind 24/7 with this stupid ankle) but it was actually really easy to walk around. The river wasn’t too far from my hostel and the way back presented me with some pretty awe-inspiring things to see.
The river was calm and serene, even though there was a line for about a mile to get into a museum running along it. The markets weren’t all open yet because of how early it was, but it was nice. Italy is such a busy place in the summer and being able to see it in a moment of calm was lucky. I walked along and saw the famous bridges of Florence all perfectly reflected in the smooth waters below.
I could hear bells in the distance, but I couldn’t figure out how far the Duomo was and just how many churches there were in Florence. If you ever go to Italy, be prepared for a LOT of churches. I started my walk away from the river and found a bustling square with all kind of art around it. I had a look around and noticed some very familiar sights! I made my way to a side street (in search of gelato of course) and walked into the Duomo. This is such a habit of mine. I start looking for something to eat or drink and instead I find the most beautiful, historical places. I really need to pay more attention!
The Duomo is gorgeous. It looks like it isn’t a real building and looks like a paper cutout. I sat there and wrote a postcard to a friend and just kept looking up at it. I couldn’t believe I was actually there and seeing the thing that my friends had all talked about. I sat there longer and enjoyed a cappuccino or two while the bells tolled and people from all over the world flocked to see it. It really is nice to just sit somewhere and appreciate something like that, even if it is 105 degrees outside.
Naturally, I went off in search of some more gelato and found a place that made the most beautiful gelato cone I had encountered thus far. I would have been fine with just a big scoop on a cone, but of course, this is Italy, so it’s artistic and beautiful food.
By this time it was mid-afternoon and I was pretty warm and ready to take a shower and cool off back at the hostel. I stopped for a spritz drink (excellent recommendation!!) and settled in for the night. It’s funny how traveling through this heat makes you so tired. I probably could have fallen asleep at 7:00 pm but I made sure I stayed up late enough where I wouldn’t wake up at some ungodly hour of the morning.
But since Murphy’s law follows me, I woke up at 5:30 am and was ready to go since it was already so hot! I do think Florence was my favorite place in Italy, though, and I think that no matter what the weather is like, I will definitely be back.