If you go to Florence once, you will certainly go back. If you visit twice, it’s guaranteed there will be a third time. How do you see it all in one visit? You simply don’t. Ponte Vecchio, Michelangelo, the Uffizi Gallery, Santa Croce… that doesn’t even include the multitude of sights and scenarios beyond the standard touristi draw.
Where do I begin? First thing… per usual, I take the train into Florence and walk to my hotel because although my luggage can be a bit heavy, it really is easy. The walk is beautiful and charming with the Italian architecture and bustling scene.
The big piazza is a scene day or night. I love to enjoy the live music being played and life happening all around. There are so many shops in every direction. It’s impossible to tell you which direction to start. There are iconic Italian fashion designers with prominent boutiques, internationally recognized retailers and local artisans all intermingled within the streets of Florence. The trick is to know which way to walk (or maybe happenstance and dumb luck). There are also street vendors selling scarves by the dozen willing to wheel and deal but walk a few steps further and you will see the same thing at a lower price. I once had a lady tell me to, “eat shit” because I advised my mum not to buy her overpriced scarves. Not the best marketing move.
Piazza Della Signoria is busy but if you need a lunch break, it’s quite nice to enjoy a glass of vino and appreciate the statues and sculptures nearby.
I enjoy my pictures of the Duomo from the Spring more so than I do the Fall. In any season, it is breathtaking to the naked eye. Walking around it in the early morning or late night walks when the sky is pitch black, I cannot get over how stunning it is.
The craziest yet most unsurprising part of my first trip to Florence is that I never really saw David’s Michelangelo. I spent a day in the Uffizi Gallery and I was so incredibly tired rushing through the Galleria dell’Accademia that I didn’t enjoy much of anything. Exhaustion was real and I say that as someone who loves and studies art.
As far as eating is concerned, I have already expressed my undying love for Trattoria Tiberio. I also shopped at Eataly, but I do that in every Italian city in which there is a location. This year (2018), Gucci is opening a restaurant and I would love to try that.
The walk up to Piazzale Michelangelo is one that you won’t soon forget but it is worth every heartbeat. It’s possibly the halfway mark to the real gem and there is a seat if you need to catch your breath. My advice here is to sit and enjoy it for a minute. The next few you steps you take will be steep and aplenty. When you make it to the top and look out at the views of Tuscany… if you’re anything like me, you will be both grounded and centered again. It is one of Italy’s beauties that you have to be really grateful for (and if you walked all this way, you earned it)!