Florence, home masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture
Florence turned out to be one of those magical European cities – full of incredible architecture and not just the enormous cathedrals and religious buildings. Some of the apartments and shop buildings were just as impressive with the enormous doors and incredible decorative edges to the buildings.
We caught the flight from Stansted and flew directly into Pisa; you can then either catch the bus or the train to Florence; both of this drop off at the same point as the bus station is next to the train station and take a similar amount of time. We chose to get the bus and see some Italian countryside from.. well the motorway! Although it was like any other bus journey we did have the added entertainment of watching an Italian guy try to chat up a Russian girl in front of us
Although it was like any other bus journey we did have the added entertainment of watching an Italian guy trying to chat up a Russian girl in front of us which was highly amusing. Especially when she gave him a mobile number and he tested it only to find out it wasn’t real!
Arriving in the city centre was beautiful, the main plaza with restaurants, Florence cathedral and Church of San Miniato al Monte in is utterly breathtaking! The sheer scale of the buildings is overwhelming and it’s not just one building; there are 3 striking marble monuments right on top of each other, each as incredible as the last!
We were incredibly lucky to have such great weather on our three-day trip; the square was beautiful bathed in sunshine and just like the picture I’d looked at for weeks on Instagram!
This city really is FULL of tourist though so if you’re arriving for a few days my best advice; in the morning of day 1 head over to the ticket office on the left side of this square if you’re facing the big round building. you get a 72 hour pass for €15 but you have to put this in the machine and book your time at the different monuments for queue jumping. Some like the dome you can’t get up without booking and they are usually booked by lunchtime the day before so get in fast!
Having said that we climbed the bell tower as we couldn’t book the dome and didn’t feel like we missed out, it has incredible views and looks out over the dome! Be prepared for LOTS of steps and having to pass people on narrow stairs as its very high with only one way up and down!
Italian has to be one of my favourite foods, I think it’s that guilty pleasure when you know you’re off carbs! I have to admit I ate quite a lot of pizza while I was there but; if you are going to it anywhere, do it in the country that invented it!
I did fall in LOVE with soft chocolate and orange biscotti; one night wandering back from a restaurant we found a beautiful little biscotti shop which I couldn’t resist taste testing…officially love at first taste! I’ve even found the company online and am getting ready to put in an order! http://www.ilcantucciodisanlorenzo.it/it/catalogo.aspx
My best advice for food in Florence is to go off the tourist route, try and find places down the back streets full of Italians otherwise you’ll be paying tourist prices for a tourist menu. They are well hidden but well worth it!