Florence is known as an open-air museum, home to the de'Medicis, Michaelangeo, Bottecelli and da Vinci.
I was anxious to get out to experience Florence in all its glory, knowing I only had 3 days to see everything I wanted to see.
I found a charming and inexpensive pension in the old section of town near the famous Duomo and then set out to explore on foot.
Florence has the feeling of small medieval town with narrow, winding cobblestone streets and fabulous Renaissance buildings. It is surprisingly busy given that this is a pretty small city!
I spent several hours gazing at "David" the Galleria dell'Accademia. Carved from a single block of stone, the grain of the marble so perfectly mimics human flesh that you can almost see the blue veins beneath the statue's "skin". Even though I arrived early, the line up was quite long to get in, but it was worth it in the same way it was worth seeing the Taj Mahal in Agra. It's one of those art treasures that is not diminished by having seen pictures of it in advance because it is just so breath-taking in person. Photos really can't do the piece justice.
I headed back to my pension as the light was starting to fade. All those hours on the planes and trains was starting to catch up with me and I felt unaccountably exhausted.
I poked my head into the famous Duomo, Florence's cathedral extraordinaire. It is so huge and so surrounded by buildings that you don't get an opportunity to appreciate the building until you are practically on top of it. As fabulous as the exterior is with its very particular geometric marble patterning, the interior houses the incredible but incomplete sculpture by Michaelangelo titled "Pieta" which shows the dead body of Jesus cradled by Mary and angels.
I looked around as much as I could, rather overwhelmed by it all, and then headed home for some sleep.