I expected this to be the highlight of my current trip. This was my second time in Florence, and it was as beautiful as I remember.
I picked a nice hostel, only a 10 minute walk from the train station, and about 10 minutes walk to all the main sights. The only thing I didn’t like was having the top bunk…the ladder was wobbly and I nearly fell off a few times!
I got to Florence in the evening, so I just walked around locally the first night. I found a great restaurant, Trattoria Katti, that I ended up going back to the next night…I swear I never knew vegetable soup could be so good! There was an Irish pub on my street, and they had Belgian beer on-tap, imagine that…so after a couple of Grimbergens I called it an early night and got prepped for a full day in the morning.
My first stop the next day was the Duomo, a very impressive cathedral both on the inside and outside…I was really impressed with the mural painted on the ceiling above the altar.
I also ran into a parade of some kind, not sure what it was all about but everyone was dressed as knights, marching through the streets of Florence…pretty cool.
After that it was a short walk to Piazza della Signoria, a true gem in Florence. This square is full of upscale shops and restaurants, but also is scattered with incredible statues, mostly in an area called Loggia dei Lanzi. I particularly liked the reproduction of David, a cool statue with Perseus holding Medusa’s head, the fountain of Neptune, and the statue by Giambologna called ‘The Rape of the Sabine Women’. The David statue is right in front of the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence’s town hall….and one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve seen in Italy. You can’t help but take a lot of pictures in this Piazza.
I then walked quite a ways, across the river, to Boboli Gardens. This was well worth the 10 euro admission…the grounds were gorgeous and littered with grandiose statues and a really cool fountain. The views from the gardens were beautiful. I found this really cool head statue that I just had to pose next to! There were a lot of people at the gardens just hanging out, seems like a pretty cool place to relax…and it gets you away from the main tourist area of Florence.
I walked back across the river, and took some great shots of the bridges in the area. The nicest one, of course, being Ponte Vecchio, which was as amazing up close as it is in the pictures…it’s especially a great sight at night, with the reflection of the lights off the water (though I couldn’t get a good pic with my flash).
The weather was great while I was here, and Florence is a very walkable city, and even better there didn’t seem to be much traffic in the tourist areas I walked through. I must admit, I’m not the biggest fan of Italy, but Florence is definitely one of the best Italian cities I’ve been to.