For my tenth day in Italy I awoke early to catch a train, I was going on a day trip from Firenze to the nearby city of Prato. What I was soon to learn that not only had I gone far too early in the day but that I had also gone on the wrong day, a Monday, when half of the place was closed.
Welcome to part eight of my diary of my Italian trip across November 2017, the images here are all from my Olympus OM-1 and are shot on Fuji Superia 200 colour film, I hope you enjoy.
There had been two main reasons I wanted to visit Prato, firstly my Italian teacher at the time was from there and had told me it was nice, and secondly to visit the Castello Dell’Imperatore. The first reason turned out to be I’d say half true, it was a nice walk I had around the city, although nothing was open and there was very little for me to do except take photos. The second reason was a huge disappointment as half the Castello was closed for refurbishment and the other half was covered in scaffolding.
The Castello itself is pretty impressive, I mean it’s over 800 years old and is right in the middle of the city. But then again I am from Wales wherre Castles are ten a penny and I grew up in a town that had exactly that, a massive castle in the centre of it. If only the damn place had been open properly and I could’ve seen more or at least seen some views from the top of one of the towers.
I ended up spending most of my time sitting outside a cafe and drinking coffee, watching the world go by and photographing it as it did so.
The medieval wall along the outskirts of the old part of the city was pretty impressive, not quite as much as Lucca of course.
In the afternoon I headed back to Firenze on the train. I spent the evening after dinner wandering the city at night, it’s amazing how different a place looks in the dark, it was so peaceful with many of the tourists not around and seeing the statues in the Piazza della signoria lit up at night is an experience I would recommend to anyone. The next day I had more substantial plans, a visit to both the Palazzo Pitti and the Girodini di Boboli.
To say day eleven was much better than the previous day would be a ridiculous understatement, it was fantastic. First thing I headed to the Pitti Palazzo, former home of Dukes of Tuscany and Kings of Italy, the place itself was filled with treasures of artwork and although not anywhere near as incredible to wander around as Il Uffizi (which I had visited the year before), it was still a great experience.
What made the day however was spending the afternoon wandering around a nearly deserted Giordini di Boboli. The place woudl normally be packed with tourists but with this being mid to lat Autumn there was very few people around, just peace and quiet and feeling like you’d stepped back in time to when these where the personal gardens of the Dukes of Tuscany.
Look, it was so peaceful a heron landed right in front of me and wasn’t scared off.
Not quite sure what pose this guy is striking, he looks awesome though.
One of the few other visitors that day, taking advantage of the lack of crowds to interrupt his painting.
Views of Tuscany from atop the hill at the rear of the gardens.
And views of Firenze from the other side.
After I left the gardens I decided to walk along the old city wall all the way to Piazzele Michelangelo, one of my favourite spots on the planet, to both photograph and watch the sunset……with a beer.
It’s views like this that remind me why Firenze is my favourite city I’ve visited, truly one of the most beautiful cities on the planet. Although don’t let the sunshine fool you, it was pretty cold at that time of day with the sun about to set.
If you’re enjoying this series and would like to see more mages then perhaps you’d like to purchase a copy of the photo zine I made of the trip through my Etsy store, you can find it here.