By Anna Chang-Chien, Florence '14
On the morning of our much anticipated “free day,” we woke up to a downcast sky and a forecast of rain. However, the rain did not dampen our spirits in the least. After a quick breakfast we excitedly headed out with some of the (wiser) members of the group armed with rain gear. Our first stop was the Boboli Gardens; an enormous garden that led straight to the back of the Pitti Palace. We spent the entire morning wondering blissfully through the paths, taking amusing pictures of poses with statues and marvelling at the breathtaking views. A light drizzle of rain sporadically fell, but not enough to truly bother anyone. Mistakenly, we thought that the worst of the rain had elapsed.
Heading to an early lunch, we were able to avoid the usual long lines outside of All’ Antici Vinaio— a sandwich shop famous for it’s enormous and delicious sandwiches. After scarfing down our food, we headed for the shops lining the Ponte Vecchio. Our entire group was particularly enamoured with a calligraphy store— it became increasingly difficult not to splurge on impractical things such as quill pens or wax sealers. Next, we headed towards the Piazza della Repubblica for the real highlight of the day: shopping! Yet as we neared the streets of shining shop windows and leather stands, a torrent of rain fell from the grey skies, forcing us to take shelter in the doorways of stores before gratefully purchasing umbrellas from a stand.
For the rest of the afternoon, we roamed the vast corners of several department stores, marveling at the latest European fashions. By the time we exited our last shop, the sun coincidentally decided to shine again. We ended our perfect day with dinner at a restaurant on the Piazza Michelangelo looking over the magnificent city.