I had preconceptions of Florence before I stepped off the train. Venice met all my expectations and dreams. Florence just seemed like a city in between Venice and Rome filled with a bunch of art. Working in advertising had increased my appreciation for art and creativity, but my short attention span causes me to walk through art museums at the speed of lightening. See it. Looks good. Let’s move on. I knew Florence would be nice, but I was more excited about Tuscany. Wine! And short attention spans are fun when you’re drinking wine (chug. new glass. chug. new glass. let me try two at one time!).
As I walked through the streets to our apartment, I could smell the artistic talent, history, and appreciation. Yes – it’s so strong that you can smell it. I walked down the streets of Florence as my boyfriend, Max, worked on contacting our Airbnb host, Sylvia.
A few moments later, Sylvia arrived at the apartment. Frazzled and out of breath, she hugged us and led us up the stairway. Sylvia was a walking piece of art. Her outfit was an assortment of random accessories and colors, resembling a Picasso painting and her personality was certainly that of an open-minded, all over the place artist. It wasn’t until the end of the trip that I realized she was a walking and breathing Florence – an artist full of life and creativity who wasn’t afraid of going against the grain.
She opened the door to she apartment, and suddenly I felt like I had stepped into the Florence Museum of Art. Her walls covered with paintings depicted humanity and politics, contained graffiti and bright colors. As I walked around the apartment, I realized that everything was art, not just the paintings on the walls. Bedspreads and lamps and coffee tables and kitchen tables and bathroom tiles were all painted with unique colors and designs and felt as if they could live in an art museum. She explained that the paintings on the walls could be purchased for a small price. We could take home a piece of her lovely Airbnb if we’d like.
Each time I came back to our Airbnb I came to realize that it wasn’t the actual paintings and art that was turning around my “art is boring” attitude. It was the passion and stories behind the art. Sylvia spent hours creating art about things she felt most passionate about and wanted to share her own perspective with the world. And her Airbnb became a space where she shared that perspective. As a guest, her Airbnb became more than my home for five days. It became a reminder that we all have a fire inside of us that is waiting to be ignited.
Traveling is about immersing yourself in the culture. Florence has great art museums, statues, and history, but overall it is a city passion and drive. If you get the chance to visit Florence, I highly encourage you to stay at Sylvia’s “art”partment (https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/72941). Not only will you gain an appreciation for art, but you’ll reignite your passion for whatever it is in your life that makes you tick. You’ll discover your blank canvas and take off running.