These Shoes Aren’t Made for Walking: Barefoot in Florence


Post gelato, smiling through the pain

I learned a great lesson while traveling. I actually have learned many, but this particular one takes place long ago in the city of Florence… We rose early in the morning with just a day to explore. We planned for a quick walk around town, grab some breakfast, and head back to the apartment to change for a hike up to the Piazzale Michelangelo, the famous square with panoramic views of Florence. But plans change and we found ourselves on the Ponte Vecchio crossing the Arno river, getting closer to the stairs to climb up to the square and all of a sudden the haze disappeared, the sun came out, and the 95+ degree heat in the middle of Italy hit me. And it hit my sweaty feet against the leather sandals I wore.

Blisters quickly formed… and as a dancer, I am used to blisters, but these spanned the whole bottom and side of my foot and with each step grew bigger and more painful. There was no point in going back now, half way up to the square I took off my sandals. Now it was just my bare feet against the burning stone steps. I may have gotten a few stares, but what could I do? The only saving grace was the sight of a gelato shop at the top. To this day I will never forget that gelato shop and the strength it gave me. Well, enough strength to get up the rest of the stairs and take the picture above before retiring to a bench. I don’t remember how I got back to our apartment but I am assuming it was sans sandals.

Moral of the story: When traveling, don’t even bring shoes or sandals that aren’t good for walking. Don’t even allow the temptation or you could end up like me… barefoot [with blisters] in Florence.

A pair of sandals I’d recomend for any hot weather travels are these Teva flip flops.


If I ever do return to Florence, I would love to go back to the Piazzale Michelangelo at night, with a trusted pair of running shoes on my feet. Just imagine the view!


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