Somebodyisfromhere.com was in Florence for only 20 minutes and was already lost trying to figure out how to get back near the train station to start over again. He found an area in a park that looked like it would have taxis and he heard American accents. He asked them for directions.
And they weren’t able to help.
Somebodyisfromhere.com had heard that about Florence. It was a popular place for students to study abroad. It certainly seemed accurate walking around town. In truth, there were travelers of all stripes in Florence and for good reason. Florence is freakin’ amazing.
American students weren’t the only representations of the red, white, and blue in town. A big art exhibit in Florence was even called, “Americans in Florence.” The Palazzo Strozzi’s website explains, “Coinciding with the 500th anniversary of the death of Amerigo Vespucci, the exhibition celebrates the strong ties between the Old and New World…”
Somebodyisfromhere.com didn’t make it all the way inside because he had a movie to catch but he did give the lobby a once over and caught some freaky minimalism dancing (probably not American). He also perused a collection of homicide pictures which featured body bags in somewhat serene places (probably American?).
But across the street Somebodyisfromhere.com’s movie called him. Seeing a movie on vacation is sort of tacky, but he needed a nap and this sounded like a compromise.
The Odeon is across the plaza from the art museum. Every once and awhile the theater features something called “Original Sound.” Back in the day, when Hollywood could add color to black and white films many people didn’t like it because it wasn’t seen as natural. It seems in Florence they occasionally take the same approach to movies showing them in their natural languages.
The theater is beautiful and old with fancy balconies and they were showing Cosmopolis directed by the always peculiar David Cronenberg.
The movie, starring Robert Pattinson, on its face has about as much plot as The Big Lebowski. Whereas Lebowski was ostensibly about a Dude trying to get back his rug, Cosmopolis was about a billionaire driving to get his haircut.
This drive, of course, does not occur on a normal day. He and his guards have to navigate a Presidential motorcade, the failing yuan (he’s a billionaire!), and a threat on Richie Rich’s life.
The movie is dark. Somebodyisfromhere.com, like most red blooded awesome males, is not the biggest fan of Pattinson for reasons that need not be explained. In that sense, Cosmopolis is like the movie Rules of Attraction which made James Van Der Beek almost respectable despite his history. You gotta admire the guts it takes to make the movie.
Speaking of Rules of Attraction, Cosmopolis plays like a Bret Easton Ellis story as written by Aaron Sorkin. The dialogue is fast. In fact, most of it takes place inside a super limo. It’s practically a play really.
Making a Bret Easton Ellis comparison lacks focus a little, though. In fact, it was based on the book of the same name by Don DeLillo.
The movie isn’t for everybody. Somebodyisfromhere.com liked it because it took risks and it was (actually) fun to watch Robert Pattison grow slightly unhinged (hey ladies, it’s as if the whole movie was Pattinson’s dream the night whatsherface cheated on him. He gets to carry a gun, say mean things, and do a chick in a limo).
Cosmopolis is also the kind of movie that’s good to walk off a little bit after you seen it and there’s no better place to go for a walk than Florence. Outside the theater (besides the aforementioned museum) there is a carousel because….why not? Surrounding that there’s a gigantic plaza with all kinds of outside seating and gelato stands. In any other town this would be really cool, except in Florence this is like the lamest plaza on Earth because of what is nearby.
A block away Somebodyisfromhere.com went to another plaza, the Piazza del Signoria, that had an Irish bar named after the Irish hero Michael Collins. After Somebodyisfromhere.com got himself feeling good he walked across the plaza where he saw an philharmonic setting up. It being Italy and all they played music from all of the old masters: Micheal Jackson, Sting, and Abba.
Most cities might even like this plaza because that stuff is pretty cool. But, this is Florence. Even this area can’t hold a candle to what lies just a couple more blocks away. There lies the Duomo.
Or as Somebodyisfromhere.com calls it, “Holy crap, the Duomo?!!?” That’s because he did startlingly little research going to Florence. He told somebody he was going to Italy and he mentioned that he had a weekend off. That person said, “You HAVE to go to Florence.”
So he was really just walking around town checking out stuff when he saw this:
Now, granted, that picture isn’t as good as it should be. He even had to crop out some stuff because he’s terrible at photography apparently. However, walking up to the Duomo is startling. The building really is otherworldly. It was built in 1296, but if you told Somebodyisfromhere.com 2064 he wouldn’t be surprised. What makes it so startling is that it is massive. It also is uniquely colored mostly in white but also some orange.
Florence even has more going for it too. You can also walk the Arno River which has plenty of sights of it’s own.
Unlike the Duomo picture, Somebodyisfromhere.com is actually proud of this shot. He managed to catch the essence of the sculpture and managed to keep the picture safe for work. This guy, much like almost every other statue in town, is naked.
There’s still more to see when walking. Ponte Vecchio is a bridge over the Arno. When Somebodyisfromhere.com approached it there were acoustic guitarists playing John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Somebodyisfromhere.com got a slice of pizza and a beer to go from a local pizza place and watched more of their set. The last song he watched involved the men lying on the middle of the road portion of the bridge while playing a long Southern European style instrumental. Somebodyisfromhere.com loved the pizza in Florence.
If walking is not your thing, people also like Florence because it is in Tuscany. Tour buses leave the train station to tour the wine (and olive oil) region. Somebodyisfromhere.com visited Chianti about an hour outside of the city.
Somebodyisfromhere.com likes to travel. He writes a conversational travel magazine for gosh sake. However, he doesn’t get to travel as much as he would like. That being said, he has seen something like nine European countries. When people ask where is his favorite place, he says London. When people ask what is the coolest place he has seen, he shall say Florence.