He occupied every available space, small and big shelves of the shops, the display windows and even the wooden benches on the sidewalk. You will find him practically everywhere, staring out at you mischievously from the corner of his eyes.
He is none other than Pinocchio!
He is the boy puppet whose nose grew every time he lied, from the children’s novel ‘The Adventures of Pinocchio’ written by Carlo Collodi. In his distinguished white-collared red coat, knee-length green trousers and pointy red hat, his wooden figurines are a common sight in Florence. Seeing him all around you will leave you both amused and amazed at the same time. You cannot help but wonder how a fictional character could become so real!
And believe me when I say, Pinocchio is as real as he could be, for he is the boy who lives outside his book!
Florence will make you realize that this is the place where imaginations of creators of any genre come alive. As long as you have the power of imagination, Florence will continue to fuel that until it becomes a reality as it did to our beloved Pinocchio.
As you walk down the narrow cobbled street of the city, it twines in and out of multitudes side lanes adorned with delightful stores until it opens up to the L-shaped square, Piazza Della Signoria, right where the Open Air Museum houses some of the finest sculptures of the world. The minute details carved out of mere stones show the potent power the makers possessed, making the stones come to life.
Florence is like a potpourri of the old and new. An invisible string attaches the two ends of both the eras. It is right here that you cannot miss the fresh smell with a comforting hint of something old in the air like the whiff from your old classy cashmere gifted to you by your grandmother.
On one hand, you will find the great artworks of Michelangelo, David, and Donatello and on the other, your eyes will twinkle on recognizing some of the world’s renowned brand stores like Chanel, Gucci and Victoria’s Secret dotting the pavements. Here modernism does not clash with traditionalism rather its fuses effortlessly giving you ample opportunities to venture deeper into the heart of it until you are lost in your joyous moment of discovering the beauty of the place.
One thing that is bound to catch your attention here is the symbol of Florence, the Red Lily or fleur de lis. The impressive symbol adds on to the décor around the place.
With some of the prominent buildings, the square is undoubtedly an important place that is constantly abuzz with a flurry of activities of both tourists and locals alike.
A connecting lane from here will take you to the 4th largest cathedral of the world, Piazza del Duomo or the Cathedral Square. You will surely be dazed at the sight of the magnificent cathedral and its surrounding buildings. The red-brick dome will dominate your sky of vision with the gigantic Bell Tower. As you try and take in the captivating view you come to understand you are standing at a juncture where two different timelines of old and new merges naturally.
Before you bid adieu to Florence, do not miss looking out at the entire city from the Piazzale Michelangelo. Overlooking the Arno River, acres and acres of red-tiled white cottages can be seen rising and falling like a continuous wave. This image will surely be permanently remain embedded in your memory. It is here after your exploration of Florence comes to an end that you will be enlightened as to why Florence is truly a boulevard of every creator’s dreams.