I couldn’t say enough times how perfect the location of San Gimignano was in Tuscany for taking day-trips, we were only about an hour outside of Florence – and we took advantage of this two days in a row during the week.
Florence was b-e-a-utiful, and there was so much to be seen and done we definitely could not have conquered the city in just the two days we had there. Thankfully, Kyle did his research and had for us two Firenze (Florence) Cards, which proved to be worth every penny and saved us a countless amount of time. The Firenze Card gave us access to almost all of the museums and sites with pre-paid admissions (they aren’t free like museums in DC) and let us skip the lines – if we did not have one, it would have been impossible to see and do all of what we were able to.
We parked the car outside the city walls, and walked into Florence over the Ponte Vecchio – which is an old bridge with stores along it, and was very crowded and a bit underwhelming (or overhyped) in my opinion. Regardless, there were some great views.
The main piazza (from what I could tell was the main one), Piazza della Signoria, was outside of a fortress/palace/town hall, the Palazzo Vecchio, and displayed a large number of sculptures. The two below are my favorite, the one on the left, I believe according to Rick Steves, is one of the first pieces of art made to be viewed at any angle. The fountain on the right, I know nothing about, but I love the attitude in his face.
Inside the fortress/palace/town hall, the Palazzo Vecchio, was more art featuring naked men (wahoo!), maps, and history of Italy and Florence. The sculpture below represents the triumph of Florence over Siena (thanks again, Rick Steves), however I think it just looks hilarious and confusing.
If you’ve been following the blog, you’ll recognize the style of the outside of the cathedral in Florence, it looks quite similar to the Duomo in Siena, Siena had built theirs to compete with Florence. The inside, however, is not as decorative. Quite plain in comparison to Siena’s “cover every inch” decorating philosophy.
We didn’t do any shopping in Florence at all, however there were quite a lot of stores (and adorable guard dogs).
As the museums were closing that evening, we walked along the river and scaled a very steep hill (maybe a mile high), with a fresh pizza and bottle of wine, in order to watch the sun set over the city. It was crowded up there, and we were sweaty from the climb, but it was worth it.
I know I was there, and I took the photos, but I’m even now still in disbelief over how beautiful this city was. Anyone booking a flight to Florence right now? Take me with you!!