Florence, or better known as Firenze, birthplace of Pinocchio, pianos, paved roads and Leonardo da Vinci. Whether it’s chasing the history of Italian Renaissance, threads of Italian fashion or just the Italian women, there are many excellent reasons to visit.
We only spent a day in Florence, which was more than enough for us. At the time, we felt like we were on the go, go, go… Prague, to Cinque Terre, to Florence and after that, Venice. We’d been on the move with little rest and relaxation, so we chose a country home off Airbnb about 20 minutes to Florence by train. It was perfect though- we had dogs and cats to play with, a stocked-kitchen to cook in, and countryside fresh air to breathe. Bellissimo.
Train Ride into Florence
After our first night, we took the train to Florence. The train ride was just beautiful. Pressed against the windows, we could see the various little towns situated in the hills, each equipped with the necessary clock tower, tall Italian Cyprus trees and red tiled roofs. We didn’t miss anything because an overjoyed British woman would call attention to her husband anytime we were about to pass something noteworthy. Gratzie.
Soon enough, we pulled into the S. Maria Novella Station. Nothing to blog about, except how confusing it was to decipher which train to board. Ryann asked three different people, all pointing us in different directions. Finally, we were told the correct train to board. If you take a train back to a small town, good luck! Give yourself enough time to find the right train.
What’s in Florence
Museums, bridges, churches- the usual European lineup. We had deliberated whether or not we wanted to spend the money to visit any museums or churches- and chose against it. Many would probably gasp and faint at the thought of passing up the arts and relics from the Renaissance, but we were saving our museum-viewing stamina for Paris.
Let us warn you, the line to the Duomo is looooooooooooooooong. Lucky for you, at least you’re in the middle of a Piazza and if you go with someone, you can take turns going for gelato-runs. Otherwise, it’s a boring wait. We bypassed it, deciding to appreciate the architecture and ornate decoration from the outside. In addition to this, the well-known and celebrated famed golden doors were under construction when we were there (May 2015), so the little that was on display, had a mass of people assembled underneath. We saw what we saw, appreciated the detail and history and moved on.
Although it is a means of crossing point A to point B over the flowing currents of the Arno River, it’s not just a bridge. The story of Vecchio Bridge is one to be told. In it’s early years, the bridge held residence to the dirty and unkempt of Florence. Overflowing, stinky trash infected the area-giving the growing and illustrious city a sore eye and smelly scent. The city had evicted it’s occupants, cleaned up the bridge and reinstated much cleaner people of society. The bridge lived on, providing a walking path and a home for may throughout the years. But the bridge wouldn’t feel so pleased for long. The Arno River offered a view of other bridges along the river and Vecchio saw his bridge friends and family get blown to pieces during WWII. He knew he was next, unless the most feared leader in all of the world would save him. Yes, Adolf Hitler had declared the bridge entirely too beautiful to destroy. So, it is true, Hitler did one good thing. See the bridge yourself, bring a suit & towel and bask in the sun with the locals along the bank.
Once you’ve had enough of walking the city streets, following the euphoric smells with your nose and losing yourself in the glorious Renaissance architecture, the bliss doesn’t end there. Take a bus (12 or 13) to the last stop, Piazza del Michaelangelo. About a 20 minute ride from the S. Maria Novella train station, the bus led us up the hill to the lookout. After seeing for ourselves, it’s no wonder the lookout was named #1 on Trip Advisor. We probably should’ve brought our selfie stick, but we’ve done so well asking other people for pictures- so we left it in the car. Unfortunately, it was obvious the kind man offering to take our picture has never used a camera before. Blurry and off-centered. Oh well, the view is so much better anyway!