Florence: Finding Serenity in Chaos

We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Florence. It’s actually our second trip here. We first visited many years ago when we lived in London, and had grown weary of the hustle and bustle of big cities.

At that time Florence was the definition of chaos  – frantic traffic, screaming scooters, and no pedestrian areas to escape the bedlam. We saw all the major sights, but appreciated very little. We went away feeling disenchanted and exhausted.

When we started planning our RTW we knew we had to give Florence a second chance. This time we let Florence talk to us … and we listened.

She said,

“Take delight in my tiny details.”

So we did.


She said,

“I’m going to explain the Renaissance to you through people, art and architecture,
not dates and facts.”

And she did.


She said,

“Love my people and their traditions.”

And we do.


Finally she said,

“Discover how the Florentines find serenity in the chaos.”

So we searched.

And as we stood on the Ponte Vecchio, gazing into the Arno, this young woman went gliding by like a water strider, and the answer became clear.


Thank you Florence for giving us a second chance.

Terri Parent(i) Vance


Author: gallivance.net

We're Terri and James Vance - high school sweethearts who went on to international careers and became world nomads. Today, 65 countries later, we're still traveling ... and still in love. Check out Our Story for more of the backstory at gallivance.net.

36 thoughts

    1. Thanks Jo – we’re definitely chillin’ this weekend because we just started a summer camping adventure. We’ve gone from hot, steamy Georgia to the northern USA. It’s bliss! 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful weekend! ~Terri

    1. Florence was a blast! We were surprised when we ran into a Military Remembrance Parade, and all the men were dressed in their various military uniforms. This particular group all wore these wonderful feathered hats and I couldn’t resist snapping a photo! 🙂 ~Terri

    1. In the tourist chaos on the Ponte Vecchio, this peaceful sight was a joy to see. As a tourist, it’s easy to forget that “normal” people live, work, and thrive there. ~James

  1. I love photography with water reflections. Number five is wonderful. Whenever I shoot a picture with a “pretty” reflection, I am always astounded by all the other beautiful colors my bare eye seems to miss. I recently shot a picture of a leaf in a somewhat murky pool of water from the runnings of a little stream and baby waterfall. The vibrant blues that came through the reflections were amazimg to me – amd definitely not planned on my part. Isn’t photography grand?

    1. Thank you so much. My love of water reflections started with the first jigsaw puzzle I did with my Mom. It was a photo of a Dutch windmill with tulips reflected in a lake … and I was hooked! Are you going to publish you leaf photo soon? Looking forward to it. ~Terri

  2. Florence has so much to see, most of which I missed. I appreciate the continued looks behind the scenes as only living in a place can provide. Keep it up, you two! – Mike

    1. And Mike, we are really enjoying seeing life behind the scenes through your eyes in Perth. Staying in a place for a period of time really does make all the difference! ~Terri

    1. Many, many thanks Rusha. This last trip we decided to enjoy the little details and not sweat the chaos … or as James says, “Let the rough edges drag.” 🙂 It was the perfect decision. ~Terri

  3. Sorry I have been away for awhile. Life has taken on a few challenges for us as of late and has consumed a great deal of our time. This was a lovely post and Florence is a city that is certainly on our radar. Hope you two are enjoying a lovely weekend.

    1. LuAnn, I am SO glad to hear from you. We knew that you’d been away a long time and just talked about you and Terry yesterday – wondering if everything was OK. I just read your post and now know the answer.

      Thanks for your kind words. We are sending our love and healing thoughts your way and are confident that all will be well.
      Wishing you all the best, Terri

      1. Thanks so much Terri and James. We are confident all will be well and I am glad to have the time to get back to reading some of my favorite blogs, yours being among them.

  4. I had a similar experience the first time I went there…but perhaps it’s time to give this city a second chance….(though perhaps not during peak season!)

    1. Hi Alba Marie, Isn’t it interesting that we both had the same “first impression reaction’ to Florence. We just needed to take a chill pill to enjoy it the second time – go with the Florentine Flow ! 🙂 I see that you’re moving to France – how wonderful. What city are you going to call home? All the best, Terri

      1. Yes it is! I am moving to Lyon and very excited to get my French up to par! As well as eat amazing food and taste amazing wine. France is beautiful and I’m glad that I get to call it my new home 🙂

    1. Curt, I love your lion … and your Florence post – especially your photos of Giambologna’s sculpture. Such raw power! I snapped this lion at the Pitti Palace because I fell in love with his face. 🙂 ~Terri

    1. You’re right … and the markets are some of my favorites in Italy! I think it took us a couple of trips to Florence to truly appreciate the wonders of the city. ~Terri

  5. Cool post. I’m headed back to Italy, 12 years after my first visit. I arrived in Italy on September 12, 2001, the day after the World Trade Center attacks. Rome was the most chaotic city I’d ever been to and arriving on that particular day made it even more unnerving. I hope it gives me a second chance also.

    1. Thanks Jeff. That must have been been incredible to be in Rome on that date. Rome is normally pretty chaotic anyway – I’m sure those events totally amped it up. On our trip to Florence we also spent some weeks in Rome and enjoyed it more than we had past – I think we’ve mellowed! 🙂 Is your Rome stop part of your trip to Turkey? We’re heading out to Eastern Europe in a few weeks. Should be fun. All the best, Terri

    1. Thanks for the comment Ishita and for dropping by the blog. When we visited Florence some years ago the traffic and noisy mopeds almost drove us mad. But when city government passed noise regulations and pedestrianized a few busy streets, it made all the difference. We spent a week there on our most recent RTW and loved it. ~James

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