Ahhh, there are so many photos that I haven’t got around to putting up on the blog from all our travels this year. I’ve had a sudden pang of guilt that I hadn’t done anything with them so I thought I better get around to it before the end of the year!
The order isn’t likely to be chronological and you will have to excuse me if I’m a bit vague on the details. I think that’s why they tell you to write travel posts as soon as you’re on the plane home. I’m pretty sure that’s a big fat blogger fail on my behalf! (Note to self: must try harder in 2017!)
Despite this, we also love to look back at our travel experiences so it’s always worth documenting them somewhere. So buckle up and come see a little of the magical town of Florence with us!
FLORENCE TRAVEL GUIDE – PART 1
If you looking to travel to Florence, you’re likely to see ‘Firenze’ mentioned one or two times too. Rest assure that they are the same place! Firenze is the Italian translation for Florence. It’s about half way between Milan and Rome and the capital of the beautiful region of Tuscany.
I was only going to write one post for Florence but it was turning into a thesis so I’ve split it into two parts. This part, Part 1, is the Visit/ See / Do edition and the next post will be completely dedicated to lots of delicious Italian food.
So here some of my favourite things that we did while we were in Florence:
(Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6, 50122 Firenze, Italy)
The Uffizi Gallery boasts an huge collection of artwork and statues predominantly from the renaissance period. Interestingly, many of pieces pieces were commissioned by the powerful Medici family for their personal collection. The artworks were handed over to the Florence State in the 1700s and it’s become one of the oldest and most popular museums in the world.
I always find it surreal to be standing amongst such pieces of art that you’ve only seen in books or on tv. Some of my favourites pieces were the The Birth of Venus (Botticelli) and Portraits of the Duke and Duchess of Urbino (Francesca) but there are plenty more for you to feast your eyes on!
Just make sure to book your tickets in advance so you can get into a priority queue (you can book a guided tour or get priority entrance with the Firenze Card).
(Piazza del Duomo, 50122 Firenze, Italy)
You can’t miss the Florence’s most iconic structure in the historic city centre of the town. The complex includes the Dome (Duomo), Cathedral, Baptistry, Bell Tower & Crypt.
For some reason most of the complex was closed on the day we visited. I wouldn’t have been let into the Cathedral anyway because I didn’t have anything to cover my bare shoulders or legs. Instead we just walked around and admired the elaborate facade. #somuchmarble!
We did get to walk up the 414 stairs of the Giotto Bell Tower and hear the bells chime. Once you catch your breath at the top, you get to enjoy some of the best panoramic vantage points of Florence.
If your legs are up for it then you can also go up to the Duomo (Dome) viewing platform too. It’s another 463 stairs so you might want to take on that challenge another day!
(50125 Firenze, Italy)
While there are more steps getting up to the Pizalle Michelangelo, you won’t regret this walk. Watching the colours in the sky change from pinks to purples to fiery reds at sunset was a moment of true beauty! It must be one of the most romantic views in the world.
While the square boasts one of the best viewpoints of the city, it is actually a dedication to Michaelangelo and has bronze replicas of some of his sculptures such as the statue of David.
If you want to get an ever higher view over the city then walk along to the Basilica San Minato al Monte. This church is a beautiful piece of Romanesque architecture and you can see the sunset over the Tuscan hills.
(Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, 18, 50123 Firenze, Italy // Piazza di Santa Croce, 16, 50122 Firenze, Italy)
If you like the architecture of many of the Basilicas in Florence then it’s also worth visiting the Basicilica of Santa Maria Novella and the Basilica of Sante Croce. Both have similar green and white marble facades similar to the Duomo and house intricate frescoes (mural paintings) and cloisters (walkways) inside them. The Sante Croce is also the burial place of famous Italians such as Michelangelo, Galileo and Machiavellie.
Walk along the Arno River
The Arno River flows through the middle of Florence city and admire the pretty pastel buildings on either side of the city. There are several bridges that cross the river which also offer great views up and down the river too.
Florence is one of those cities where there are pockets of beauty everywhere you turn. There are painted pastel buildings, colourful doors and vespas lining the streets. Despite the huge amount of tourists wondering the city, there are so many quiet little alleyways oozing with Italian charm. Take your camera out for some snaps and you won’t be disappointed by this romantic city!
Don’t worry I haven’t forgotten the food! You can find the Florence Travel Guide Part 2 right here.
1. Watch for pic-pockets! It goes without saying that you should watch your wallet, phone, camera in a touristy place like Florence. My passport did a vanishing act when some nasty individual decided to open my bag and help themselves to it. Make sure you especially watch out on the Ponte Vecchio because the pic pockets are well known to hang around this area while you’re busy taking photos. If you want to get to the other side of town then cross other bridges which aren’t as busy.
2. Cover up if you want to enter the cathedrals: We went in September when it was 28+ degrees and had minimal layers with our shoulders and legs bare. Just remember if you want to get into certain churches then you will need to be covered-up and take off hats, sunglasses etc.
3. Be wise with your footwear! As you can see from the exploring we did, there is alot of walking involved in Florence! The streets are paved with cobblestones which aren’t so forgiving on your feet so comfy shoes are a must.
4. Look into a Firenze Card – For 72 euros you can get access to a range of museums, galleries and attractions for 72 hours. It’s a great deal and I’ve got no idea why we didn’t do it!
5. Getting to/from the city – You can fly into Florence City Airport however there are more regular flights into Pisa. You can easily get a bus transfer or train into Florence (Firenze) Station if you don’t have too much luggage with you.