Despite only spending 1 full day in Florence (it was supposed to be two, but that’s an entirely different drama which you can read about here) it quickly became my favourite city and I cannot wait to go back (maybe in slightly warmer weather). Every street you walk down holds a secret, the buildings are wondrous (yes, I’m getting gushy, but that’s actually how I felt) and every view is simply beautiful. Due to the sheer volume of art work, for the huge art enthusiast you could easily spend an entire week there, but for the average art lover, a couple of days is just right.
I am aware that my day in Florence was a different experience to many; it was 9am on New
Years Day and when I say the streets were completely empty, I mean we passed about 4 people on our little walking tour of the City, which for a place like Florence is unheard of. Yes, it did mean a lot of places were shut but it also meant I got to enjoy the streets, buildings and sculptures in their full glory (and in peace! Being 5’3 I sometimes don’t do crowds very well – all the tall people steal my breathing spots and I can’t see much).
Florence is known for being rich in culture (actually considered to be the birth place of Renaissance if you want to get technical but I’ll stop there, this isn’t a history lesson) and of course when you visit (which you must) there are the typical ‘must sees’ :
The Duomo – which will be one of the most impressively, lavishly decorated church you will ever see, on the outside that is.
The Uffizi Gallery and Accademia – to make the most out of these I highly recommend you book tickets in advance, the queues get impossibly long. P.S Accademia is free!
Piazzale Michelangelo – To get that picture perfect view of the city from above (be prepared for the uphill walk)
And the rest? Well, just let your instincts lead you and you will stumble across incredible sculptures left, right and centre! *side note* One of my other favourite views was from/of the Ponte De Vecchio!
As I say, there is so much, but I’m just going to point out a few things from my visit I really enjoyed and strongly recommend you seek them out also 🙂
Head to Piazza della Signora, this is home to the copy of Michelangelo’s ‘David’ statue and also the gallery of statues. And if you have a keen eye, you might just notice something… on the right hand side of the entrance to the Palazzo Vecchio, is a carving of a man’s face. Yup, Michelangelo was also a graffiti artist. The story goes that Michelangelo was passing through the square as a man was being condemned to pillory (locked up in the stocks) and to mark this moment in history, he decided to carve a profile of the offender. So, you can actually touch a piece of history!
On the side street of the same Piazza is a fountain where you can fill up your water bottle (and you’ll need to, a day walking in Florence can be exhausting). But that’s not ground breaking news is it? The exciting thing is that you can choose between still water, or sparkling. They actually have a sparkling water fountain!
The Best Steak You’ll Ever Consume…
We all know Italy is famous for pasta, and some may know that Florence is famous for it’s steak, so it would be rude not to have some, right? It’s served all over but my recommendation is a quaint little restaurant nestled in the backstreet of Florence called Osteria dei Baroncelli… literally drooling remembering how delicious my meal was! It feels really traditional and the staff and owners are really friendly. Trust me when I say go to your meal hungry and prepared to share because the steaks they serve are ginormous! And normally pretty on the rare side (which, as a red meat lover, I really am sure is the best way to have it)
Treat Yo’ Self To Some Leather
Every street you walk down will be offering handmade leather bags (another thing Florence is hot for) but if you’re looking for some good quality leather at a bargain price? Well, Leonardo’s Leather Store is really the only place to go! If you are joining a walking tour, some include a leather demonstration here as well! (I have a beautiful shoulder bag from here which is not actually with me yet *sob* but as soon as I am reunited with it I’ll post a photo!). It’s honestly the best souvenir – and way more practical that a fridge magnet. Ooh and also, free embossing on your leather goods (which is a plus if you’re anything like me because I love personalising everything)
Got Time For A Party?
Okay, this is a serious recommendation, just bare with me…
I consumed so much wine in Italy (naturally) but if you are with a group of friends and fancy a bigger night then I recommend Red Garter…so, it’s not authentically Italian (it’s actually Italy’s oldest American bar) but, they do karaoke. And how can you not like karaoke?? Honestly before you totally snuff this idea you have to give it a go!
*Side Note* Accommodation
There are so many reasonably priced hotels and hostels in Florence but I stayed in PLUS Hostel – it’s only a 10 minute walk to the centre and is pretty basic but what more do you need? The staff are lovely, prices reasonable and they have an excellent bar!
SO, that’s my low down on Florence. I tried to keep it as concise as possible but you know me, I like to talk! Especially about things I really like 🙂 I’ve added a map below of all the aforementioned places!
P.S before travelling, if you are addicted to Data, head to your nearest 3-store and purchase a £20 PAYG sim – this lasts for 30 days and includes 12gb of data which saved my life while I was trying to navigate around Italy by myself!
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