Travel Profile: Florence
For the second stop of our Italian adventure, Christine and I found ourselves in Florence. The capital of Tuscany and former capital of Italy, Florence surprised us for its quaint, small-town charm and beautiful tribute to the Renaissance movement.
Coming from the road-less Venice, it was refreshing to be in a city that people live in. The historic district is entirely walkable, as you zig-zag through the boutique-filled streets and beautiful piazzas. The Florence Cathedral will eventually emerge overtop the surrounding buildings, surprisingly dwarfing everything in the immediate vicinity. Grab the museum day-pass and climb up the top of the massive Duomo. This church-hike is worth the wait in line and will yield a one-of-a-kind view of the city.
You’ll stroll through the Piazza della Signoria, Florence’s most-famous public space, and marvel at the towering statues of the gods. While a replica of Michelangelo’s David is in this square, be sure to behold the real statue at the Academia Gallery. In this setting, the 14+ ft statue is even more impressive. And finally, check out the world-renowned Uffizi Gallery to see more Renaissance-era work than you ever wanted to.
Outside of the history-musts, Florence was a great place to appreciate Italian life. We enjoyed countless espressos and cappuccinos, walked up and down the city’s bridges (most-famously, the Ponte Veccio) and enjoyed nothing short of three-hour dinners every night. We also joined an organized tour of the Chianti region, leaving the city to check out two wineries with those picturesque, Italian hills.
It was refreshing to talk with store-owners and servers that actually live in the city. A waiter even recognized us a few days later at the Bobobli Gardens. The locals provided some amazing recommendations for off-the-beaten-path food options, teaching us that making friends will always lead to tasty results.
While we were sad to leave Florence, we were happy to feel such a sense of familiarity after only four nights in the city.