Visiting Florence: Getting Lost and Loving It

April 30, 2013
getting lost in florence

foreign-correspondent badge finalI have a gift for getting lost. Or all the maps in the world are wrong. This includes the map I had of Florence. I thought I’d followed it perfectly. I scrutinised the tiny streets, turned it the right way, the left way, asked other people for confirmation. And I was still, inexplicably, lost. I was walking in circles, like a headless, annoyed chicken. I walked past the same restaurant five times before I threw the map in the bin.

Sometimes, like above, I give up and just embrace the feeling of being lost. I think that not having a sense of direction leads you to stumble upon the most interesting days. Florence is the perfect place for this: to let go and see where the city takes you. The buildings are beautiful, the city is safe, the streets crooked and winding. Every corner you turn, you see something wonderful. An art gallery. A Renaissance monument smiling serenely down at you. The house of Dante, tucked away in a tiny courtyard.

I think that not having a sense of direction leads you to stumble upon the most interesting days.

One of my favourite parts of travelling alone is the sense of freedom. The world becomes your oyster. In Florence, I felt like a flower in the wind: giddy with excitement and the notion that I had no real idea of where I was, or what I was doing. I could do whatever I wanted, no questions asked. What an epiphany!

I decided that what I wanted to do was eat three scoops of gelato. At 10am. The sun was shining, the map discarded, and I had 48 hours ahead of me to explore.

Visiting Florence

Visiting Florence: Getting Lost and Loving It

And explore I did. Florence is a small enough city that, even with no idea of where you are, you always manage to navigate back to an important attraction. Even if it takes you a little longer than usual. I saw everything I wanted, but along the way I stumbled upon some tiny markets, intricate churches, and an outdoor wine garden. I practiced my Italian. I joined a queue without really knowing what it was (guessing it’d be something important) and ended up entering the Galleria dell’Accademia, where I saw Michelangelo’s David for the first time. I asked a little Italian pensioner where the best food was for dinner, and he hobbled me over to a tiny trattoria I’d never have given a second look. Inside, it was home to the best truffle pasta, tiramisu and limoncello I’ve had in Italy so far.

In Florence, I felt like a flower in the wind: giddy with excitement and the notion that I had no real idea of where I was, or what I was doing.

Sitting in that trattoria, I felt both apart and a part of Florence; whilst I had no idea where I was, I felt all tangled up in the city; I felt like I had a real connection to it. I felt like I understood the city a little more. And I don’t think I have felt so happy in a long time.

Sometimes getting lost helps you to really find a place. Throw the map away, hop off the tourist track and you never know what you’ll find.

Visiting Florence: Getting Lost and Loving It, top photo credit: Remo Cassella

 


Visiting Florence: Getting Lost and Loving It

About Alex Pendleton

Alex Pendleton loves writing, exploring, baking and strong coffee. She has a permanent case of wanderlust, and is currently back in the UK planning her next adventure. She has traveled extensively, studied in the Czech Republic and worked in Germany and Italy.

One thought on “Visiting Florence: Getting Lost and Loving It

  1. Krystal
    May 7, 2013
    Reply

    Alex:

    What was teh name of the trattoria?

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