After conquering Rome and Pompeii, Erin and I hopped on a train north to Florence. Firenze is the capital city and most populated city of Tuscany? It is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance. It has such a different vibe and atmosphere than Roma. It is a smaller town, and although still attracts plenty of tourists, was a bit of fresh air. Our hostel, Academy Hostel, was extremely well-placed– just next to the Dumono down a quiet street! It also included free breakfast, wine, and pasta, meaning that our food budget was drastically saved during our time in Florence!
Free Walking Tours
Similar to Rome, Florence offers two free walking tours through the same company. One tour focuses on introducing the city, and the other focuses more on the Medici family and their influence in Florence. I learned a great deal on both of these tours and would recommend them to anyone.
The Vecchio Bridge is the oldest bridge in Florence– the only bridge to survive the German retreat during World War II. The bridge spans the Arno River at its narrowest point, and is believed to have been built during Roman times. This area of Florence is fun and full of shops and entertainment.
During one afternoon, I hiked to the top of Piazzale Michelangelo with a woman from my hostel, Charlotte of Hiatus Hunnie! You really do get the best views of Florence from here! This was one of the best things I did in Florence. Uffizi Gallery
The Uffizi is one of the oldest and most famous art museums of the Western world, and is obviously a “must-see” in Florence. Of course, my favorite painting the famous Birth of Venus painting by Sandro Botticelli, but the museum is filled with a ton of very inspiring pieces of work. I highly recommend reserving tickets ahead of time for the museum, as wait times can be excruciatingly long. Thankfully there are no photos allowed in this museum, which I prefer because it keeps people moving along and doesn’t crowd the rooms or art work.
Accademia di Belle Arti Firenze
I’m not going to lie, David was breath taking. The Accademia Gallery was my favorite museum in Florence. I learned a lot about Michelangelo during this visit, and with the help of Rick Steve’s audio guides, I left the museum with a much more thorough understanding of his sculptures. I was naughty and snapped a picture of the sculpture.
After visiting the Dumono in Siena, the inside of the famous Florence Cathedral was underwhelming. My advice would be to not wait in line to go inside. Simply grab some gelato (which was created in Florence!) and enjoy the impressive exterior architecture. The Duomo stands out and for good reason; its magnificent Renaissance dome was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi and is sort of the trademark of the city.
Museo Salvatore Ferragamo
The Salvatore Ferragamo Museum is for shoe-lovers. Florence, like Milan, is an important fashion capital in Italy and Europe (I even bought a new pair of boots in Florence!) The museum contains 10,000 models of Salvatore Ferragamo’s work, in addition to photographs, books, magazines and wooden lasts of famous feet. The shoes, reveal the creativity of an artist who was always corresponding his works with the current cultural moods.
One of the worst parts about traveling is meeting such awesome people on the road and then having to say goodbye. One night we went out with a bunch of anglophone travelers from our hostel to a sweet jazz club! Other Florence Highlights