Falling in love with Florence.
Updated: May 28, 2019
It may be a small city, but Florence has so much to offer. I spent around four days there, but could have spent a month discovering new places and immersing myself into the culture. I flew into Rome, and spent a couple hours there before hopping on my train to Florence. Florence is so accessible by train and bus, and the train station is always lively. The line at the train station for cabs seems long, but it went by fast for us. You honestly don’t even need to take a cab from the train station to get into Florence, but it was pouring rain for us, so we decided cab was the move.
Once we started exploring, we made our first stop: The Duomo. It’s originally known as Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, and is the cathedral central in Florence. The walls and architecture of this cathedral look like wall paper. It amazed me that people actually carved these beautiful sculptures and figures into the walls. You can go into the cathedral, and pay a small fee to walk up to the bell tower on top, and see all of Florence. There is a cute café that we ventured to that’s located at the top of La Rinascente which has an amazing view of the Duomo. I highly recommend you go get coffee there and stare at the Duomo in amazement.
Just walking along the streets of Florence, you can feel the rich history from the Medici family. They were the previous rulers of Florence, and they created the Ponte Vecchio bridge, which is the oldest bridge that crosses the Arno river. There are shops along the bridge but they only sell jewelry / watches / fancy goods to keep the element of richness in Florence. You can spend a lot of time wandering through the Medici House.
Of course, while you’re in Florence, you have got to make it over to see the David. The statue is located in the Galleria dell’Accademia. It’s always crowded, but worth the trip. In the area outside of the gallery, there are lots of other statues that you can look at while you’re waiting, or if you want to take a breather.
Close to the Galleria dell’Accademia is the Gucci Garden exhibit. You get a discount if you have a Student ID, but without it, it doesn’t cost much. The tour is pretty much self-guided, with display cases that explain the inspiration behind the piece of art. My favorite part of the museum was the luggage room. Gucci produces amazing luggage, and it was cool to see how the bags evolved over time. There’s a gift shop on the ground level, and a café where you can eat, but if you’re like me, you’re just going to be window shopping through the store.
We spent one night walking up to the Michelangelo Steps for sunset. The hike isn’t too bad, you could do it in any outfit, and any type of shoes. What we did, was we each got a bottle of wine (don’t forget an opener also!), brought cups, and got sandwiches’ from Antico Vinaio a famous sandwich shop in Florence. We went up to the steps and got to watch the sunset over the city, and it still to this day was one of the most incredible sights I’ve witnessed. There’s nothing better than enjoying an amazing view with amazing people, drinking Chianti.
There’s a “secret bakery” along a side street in Florence. You can smell the treats they are making for the next morning, so follow that scent! If you knock on their door, a baker will come down, ask for some change, and however much you give him, he will come back with their left-over goods from that day. Whatever you get melts in your mouth.
If you’re in Florence, you’ve GOT to go to Tuscany. We did a wine tour through Italy on a Budget, and it was the perfect amount of time for a reasonable price. We left in the morning on small busses, and arrived to our first winery. I assumed that the wine tasting was going to be like the movies, where they tell you to “watch the legs” of the wine, and pull out the “different notes,” but instead they poured us some pretty hefty glasses, let us try each kind they make, and gave us bread and truffle oil to snack on. Not only is their wine amazing, but the views of their vineyards are insane. We went to two different vineyards, and ended our time in a little city where we got to get ice cream, explore, and simply enjoy the views.
I hope you enjoy your time in Florence as much as we did. Ciao!