I’m pretty sure all we did in Florence was eat gelato, admire art, and snap photos of the cute pups! Or at least that’s what this blog post showcases. I could try to prove otherwise, but the photos are going to speak for themselves.
Our hotel was in a great location again: between Piazza Santa Maria Novella and the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. We didn’t have a very serious checklist in Florence, just planned to eat/drink and hit the major tourist sites. Florence was also our home base for a day trip and hike through Cinque Terre so we were saving ourselves for some more intensive physical sightseeing.
We explored both sides of the Arno river near the Ponte Vecchio pretty slowly, window shopping (all the pups were perched in the doorways of the shops! so cute), popping into restaurants, coffee shops, and gelaterias. On the north side of the river we had a lot of architectural and historical sites to catch: Piazza della Repubblica, Palazzo Vecchio, the Piazza della Signoria and Statue of David, Piazzale degli Uffizi, and of course, a tour of the Uffizi Gallery. We explored A LOT of piazzas and and saw A LOT of really great art.
South of the Arno we hiked up to the Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte, a gorgeous Romanesque, 11th-century church that sits up on a hill overlooking Firenze. We timed the hike up so that on our way back down, we could stop at the Piazzale Michelangelo for sunset views over the city.
We also got tickets to the Florence Academy of Fine Arts, mostly to see the real David (I’d already seen him once before, but told Nick it was a requirement 🙂 ). We roamed the Basilica di San Lorenzo and grabbed lunch in the piazza so we could people watch, and then strolled through the central market and miraculously avoided buying anything. There are so many great cathedrals in Florence, but the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is iconic. We skipped the tour of the church itself, and opted to suffer the long line for the hike up to the top of the Campanile di Giotto, the bell tower for the church. Worth it.
Next time we venture to Italy, I think we’ll skip the major cities and explore the hills of Tuscany instead. Maybe rent a car and drive with nowhere to be…we’ll definitely take a cooking class, and drink a lot of wine….