Firenze! Home to pasta, pizza, prosecco, piazzas and prosciutto (thanks to charlotte for that little list there) though they may be for Italy in total not just Florence.
As you may have seen from my latest Instagram photos, I was lucky enough to get away from work for a couple of days and headed off to Florence for a long weekend. It was my first trip to the city (town?) and I have to say I loved it, much more than I thought I would too!
We actually flew to Pisa instead of Florence as the flights were around £60 return instead of over £200! And it is only a 50 minute trains journey across which is 8 euros so well worth it! We flew out after work so arrived quite late in the evening. As a result we decided to spend one night in Pisa and get up early the next day to see the leaning tower of Pisa before going across to Florence.
I have actually been to Pisa before when I was about 6 with my family, we should have dug out the photo of me Jane and Gill standing in front of the tower then so we could re-enact the picture 20 years later! But unfortunately we thought about doing this too late.
Warning- clichéd photo coming up 🙂
You can now actually walk up the tower again, yay, as they have reinforced the tower so its not at risk of falling down…at least for now.
After our morning being touristy in Pisa it was off to Florence and a massive bowl of pasta for lunch!
As you can see from the photos above our first day wandering around Pisa and Florence was a little bit grey which continued to get worse throughout the day ending in a huge, HUGE thunderstorm which went on for most of the evening! Luckily for us it didn’t actually get in the way of our plans as after lunch we checked into our Airbnb and had a slightly more relaxed evening. It even eased up for us when we wanted to go out for dinner which was fantastic.
I also just want to say a little about Airbnb, firstly how much has it changed the game! I love them and now would always choose to stay in an apartment through Airbnb rather than a hotel. In Florence we stayed in this airbnb. The apartment wasn’t particularly amazing to be honest, clean and big enough but it was the location which was particularly great. As you can see from the picture on the advert it overlooked the river and was actually on the edge of the ponte vecchio! I would definitely recommend it you could walk everywhere in about 10 minutes or less!
When in Florence, we went off to the Accademia to see Michael Angelo’s David amongst others. Wait for the money shot…here it is:
In general I have to say that renaissance art isn’t really for me, massive generalisation I know!
We also bought tickets to walk up the Duomo and bell tower. Both are absolutely beautiful but at the same time I think how they have patterned the different marble really makes it look like it is made of cardboard and can be knocked over with the push of a finger, especially when looking at it from far away, well to me and my sisters anyways.
When buying tickets for the Duomo and the bell tower you have to remember to book a time for each attraction. Its free to do, right next to the ticket booth and allows you to miss all the queues. We didn’t understand why people were standing in queues where a sign said you would be waiting for over an hour and a half seemed crazy to us! Here is a picture of the duomo taken from the top of the bell tower! Well worth the climb!
Inside the duomo there is also the most amazing fresco on the dome, I believe its the largest fresco in the world, but maybe don’t quote me on that
We also walked up to the popular view point on the other side of the river for great views over Florence. Combining this with sunset really does give the best views too but be warned it does get busy!
Overall I think I liked Florence more than I thought I would as there were actually less crowds than I thought there would be! I have heard the crowds can be horrific but maybe due to going in October or the bad weather on Friday but they were surprisingly fine for us!
So overall take aways if you are thinking of going to Florence? Here they are:
- Fly to Pisa to dramatically reduce costs of the flights
- Go to Florence in October to not be swamped in the crowds of tourists
- Stay in an Airbnb! Not necessarily the same one I did but it really does add to the holiday
- Buy tickets to go up the bell tower and Duomo but don’t forget to book a time to miss the queues!
- Eat all the pasta, pizza, prosciutto and prosecco you can!
The city really is beautiful! I would recommend it to everyone, but for now I think I have eaten enough pasta, at least for a couple of days anyway.
ps- their ice creams are amazing too! I got two in one!!!