Following our trip to beautiful Montepulciano in Tuscany last summer, we headed to Florence for a whistle-stop tour before coming back to Blighty. We arrived around lunchtime and flew back the following afternoon, so we had a limited time available. We focused on a couple of things we really wanted to do, and built some time in for wondering around. I don’t see the point of trying to fit everything in to a short timeframe, as in places like Florence the queues are huge and in the heat it’s not much fun spending most of your time roasting in a ticket queue.
If you’re able to, I suggest doing the more tourist-y things first thing in the morning or as close to last entry as you can, as there will be less people around and queues should be limited. So, taking my own advice, we most wanted to see the Duomo (the cathedral) which is insanely beautiful and made up of several buildings – the main cathedral, Baptistery, Duomo and Campanile. We wanted to spend the remainder of our first day wondering around, so we bought tickets online for the following morning, and meandered around in search of craft beer and food, which we found.
An antipasti and cheese board followed by chocolate tort definitely did the trick. Then followed by gelato – obviously.
The next morning we headed off to Piazza del Duomo. Unfortunately we weren’t able to go in the Duomo, but we explored the other buildings. The architecture really is breathtaking and you can see why so many people flock here.
The Campanile, or Giotto’s Bell Tower is really majestic, and the views are stunning (although you do have to climb up 414 steps – not that I was counting or anything).
The cathedral itself, Santa Maria del Fiore, is the third largest church in the world after St. Peter’s in Rome and St. Paul’s in London; and the Baptistry of San Giovanni, one of the most ancient churches in Florence, stands opposite the cathedral.
After this it was time to mosy on back to our hotel to get our luggage. I would highly recommend Horto Convento (a converted monastery) as it’s located on the other side of the river to the Duomo and is very peaceful and welcoming.
And that was it for our stopover in Florence! The Duomo for me was a must-see, but obviously there are hundreds of things to do in Florence and I would definitely go back again to explore, such as the Accademia to see Michelangelo’s “David” and the Uffizi Gallery. I personally wouldn’t bother with the Ponte Vecchio – it’s full of overpriced stuff aimed at tourists and you can barely move for people taking selfies. What’s much nicer is to get a pretty view of it as you walk in the opposite direction.
Until next time Firenze!