Welcome to the highly popular bi monthly blog here on Boyletoday.com from ‘Next Stop Who Knows’.
The blog is written by Boyle natives Carlo Cretaro and Florence Murphy who left their homes in Boyle 7 years ago to travel the world and start an online business. They visit some weird and wonderful places and write about their experiences on their blog over at www.nextstopwhoknows.com. Specialising in web design and lead generation for local businesses, you can read more about their services at www.nextstopmarketing.com
I had always wanted to see the city of Florence. Not only did I have a big thing in common with the city but I loved the idea of going to Italy. The pizza. The pasta. The romance. The culture. The shopping. The history. The old ornate buildings. I wanted to experience it all.
Back in 2006, Carlo took the intuitive and booked us a long weekend in Florence for my birthday and I literally could not wait.
We were two days in with only one day to go. So far, the city was everything I had ever imagined.
We had spent hours walking along little cobblestone streets gazing at the beautiful architecture. We both learned about Florence in school and how it’s the birthplace of the Renaissance so we enjoyed seeing the famous buildings and statues from that era in person.
We drank coffee in the cute cafes and had our fill of the most amazing freshly-made pizzas and pastas. We’re not lovers of art but that’s not to say we didn’t appreciate seeing the famous pieces by Michelangelo and Da Vinci in the Uffizi Gallery. We took so many pictures of the Florence Cathedral and it was even more beautiful lit up at night-time.
With only a few hours to go, there was only one more thing to see and that was the famous Statue of David.
The Famous Statue
The Statue of David is one of the most renowned sculptures in the world. Created by the great artist Michelangelo, the statue is celebrated for its insane attention to detail. My history teacher, the late great Mrs. Newman, always made it a point of calling it the naked statue for obvious reasons!
We took out the city map that we’d picked up from the tourist centre on our first day.
Remember; this was pre Google maps, Tripadvisor and all of the apps that make travelling so easy today.
We set our sights on the Galleria dell’Accademia. One of the best things about Florence is it has a small town feel and most things are within walking distance. So we set off on foot with a camera, a video camera, and empty memory cards.
4kms and 45 minutes later, we arrived at the statue. The first thing that struck us was the lack of crowds and protection around the statue. No glass casing, no security, no big hype. Bit strange we thought.
There he was – out in the wide open for all to see and touch. One of the most famous statues in the world in the middle of a square and no one was passing a blind bit of heed of it.
We didn’t really give it a second thought and we agreed that we must have come at a good time. Cameras and camcorder out, we got pictures and videos from every angle.
With big smiles and a fully ticked ‘Florence bucket-list’, we made our way back to the hotel.
What We Didn’t Know
Fast-forward 14 hours and we were sat on the plane home. Delighted with life, we were chatting about our experiences and how we’d love to return to Italy for a longer trip.
That’s when the lady beside us interrupted to say how she too had plans to return to Florence as she didn’t get to see the Statue Of David because it was too crowded.
“Too crowded?” we asked.
“Yes, it would have taken us 2 hours to get inside to see it” she answered.
“Inside? Inside where? The statue was outside” I thought.
The penny still hadn’t dropped.
“But the statue is outside, right? We got to see it and perhaps we were very lucky but there were zero crowds and no queue. We had it all to ourselves.”
“You guys must have seen the replica statue and not the real thing!!’
The penny dropped.
We had spent over an hour taking photos of a replica of the real statue thinking how lucky we were to have it all to ourselves!!
We laughed it off and got off the plane with one more reason to return to the city of Florence for another trip!!
If you’re going to Florence, the original statue is in the Galleria dell’Accademia. The replica that we ogled over is at the entrance of the Palazzo Vecchio so don’t make the same mistake we did!
Sometimes the best travel stories and memories come from getting lost and making mistakes!
(Log on again on April 23rd for more from ‘Next Stop Who Knows’ only on Boyletoday.com)