After our few days in Rome, we hopped on a train (the trains are so fast!), and headed North to Florence. I had no expectations whatsoever for Florence, and ended up being blown away.
Florence is absolutely walkable, which I love about any city–we never needed a bus or taxi. There is something interesting to see wherever you go. The multitude of piazzas offer plenty of opportunity for sitting with some cappuccino or gelato and people watching. Speaking of the food! I can’t even explain. Food in Florence was to.die.for. There is great shopping in Florence, as well, if that’s your thing–lots of street markets, high end retail shops, and everything in between. If you want any kitchen gadgets or accessories, head to Bartolini’s. I bought my pasta maker there, and loved it.
We stayed at the Hotel Malaspina, which I recommend wholeheartedly. It’s in a great location, their breakfast is delicious, and the hotel staff is very helpful and accommodating. We even lucked out with a room that had a tiny balcony overlooking the park!
A big site in Florence is the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore. The outside is massive and absolutely gorgeous. You can tour the inside, as well as climb the dome (Il Duomo) for some killer views.
Florence is home to many wonderful and well-curated museums. We enjoyed wandering the Museum dell’Accademia, where we saw Michelangelo’s David. It’s amazing to see works of art like this in the flesh, after having studied them out of a textbook in art history class. You stare up at it, in all of its smoothly carved marble magnificence, and it becomes real. Michelangelo carved David over 500 years ago, and here it is. Kind of makes me small and insignificant, but also proud of being a part of this thing called the human existence.
We took a break from all of the art, and toured the Leonardo da Vinci Museum, which houses recreations of da Vinci’s original designs. You can even try some of them! The Galileo Museum, while not having much in the way of actual Galileo artifact, offered an interesting look at different aspects of science and math in antiquity. In some ways, things were very advanced, considering it was hundreds of years ago. In others, not so much.
We relaxed a lot more in Florence than we did in Rome, which was nice. Three cheers for napping on vacation.
All in all, Florence is a great city to visit, explore, and experience. I’d absolutely go back, rent a flat, and have a great time pretending I was a local for a few days.
After 3 days in Florence, we hopped on the train and headed farther North to Venice. I’ll be back next Thursday with some photos, if you’d like to see.