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Florence Trip

'The Birth of Venus’ is a monumental painting hung in the Uffizi Gallery, Tuscany, which now hangs monumentally in my life, particularly the culture, memories and inspiration that Florence, Sienna and Pisa had to offer.

Our first city Florence, was unbelievably entrancing. The cobbled streets accompanied with the traditional slender terrace buildings, all bright sunlit colours was a pathway to the majesty of the Duomo (Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore) – architecture that took our breath away.

Highlights in this city, however, were not only the hidden gems at each alleyway, the scent of food as we passed family restaurants or the tremendous views standing on Ponte Vecchio. It was also the charismatic, vivacious, exuberant attitude of the locals – painters, shopworkers, carriage drivers, creating an atmosphere that could inspire anyone if you let it.  Cabri, a painter I met, encouraged me to always write.

The next day in Sienna was just as exciting as Florence, and the visit to the rural town of San Gimignano was undeniably beautiful. The highlight of Sienna for me, though, was the Cathedral of Santa Catarina steeped in Catholic history, including Catarina’s  preserved head! I not only embraced the history but also the utter peace within the Cathedral.  The quietness really did encourage me to reflect and this enriched my experience in Italy even more.

San Gimignano was truly an unforgettable experience, maybe it was the country air or the views at the highest point of a hill we climbed. It was mesmerising –  nothing I have ever   witnessed can compare to the spectacular views. The street markets had a different kind of shop in every doorway. The diversity was liberating and that is one of the most magical aspects about Tuscany I found: the liberty to be candid, diverse, creative and to capture moments in photos of myself but more importantly of others naturally absorbing the diversity and richness of the mediaeval atmosphere.

A huge thank you to all the staff who made this cultural trip a reality for Year 13.

Giuilia Cestaro Year 13