Stepping back in time in Florence

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Florence is often called the best city in the world. It came out top of the list in the Conde Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Awards for the second year in a row. I took some photos of Florence that will give you an idea of what it is like, if you haven’t been, and bring back memories if you have.

Florence

We spent two days in Florence and did everything below as well as squeeze in a visit to the Leaning Tower of Pisa in that time. By the end of our two days we were utterly exhausted. According to our step counters, this was also the day we did the most steps ever.

Florence

Narrow alleys in Florence

Walking in Florence was like stepping back in time. It is like a living museum. As I stood on the street corner, I could picture the men and women walking around in their medieval costumes. Right on cue, a horse and cart went past.

Florence

Horse and cart in Florence

We went on a walking tour with Daniele. There were two tours – a Renaissance tour and a Medici tour. We met him at this spot. An Armenian woman in traditional dress fed pigeons as we waited for our tour to start.

Florence

Woman feeding pigeons

Florence

Piazza di Santa Maria Novella

On the Renaissance tour, he pointed out the homes of famous residents of Florence including Michaelangelo and Carlo Collodi (Pinocchio’s creator). Other famous people who had lived in Florence were Donatello, Botticelli, Roberto Cavalli – The Fashion Designer, and Catherine de Medici – The Ruthless Queen. Michelangelo, Machiavelli and Galileo Galilei are buried here in the Church of Santa Croce.

Florence

Michaelangelo lived here

We also saw the famous Duomo (Duomo di Firenze Cathedral), the famous structure synonymous with pictures of Florence. It is capped by Filippo Brunelleschi’s red-tiled cupola.

Florence

Duomo – Cathedral of Santa Maria dei Fiore

Florence

Palazzo Pitti – one of the palaces where the Medicis lived

The Ponte Vecchio is another famous landmark of Florence and its oldest bridge. It is a beautiful arched bridge housing shops – previously butcher shops and fisheries but now jewellery shops. There are great views of the River Arno from here.

This building is covered with dollar bills. No, they’re not real.

Florence

Building covered with $100 bills

Florence

Building covered with $100 bills

We also visited the Uffizi Gallery which houses art by Michaelangelo, Rafaello (the painter not the chocolate), Botticelli and Leonardo Da Vinci. Of course, all this was lost upon my children and they were quite bored. We had to buy the tickets for the Uffizi Gallery before we left South Africa, as the queues are crazy. We used Rick Steve’s audio guides here as we did in Venice and Rome.

Florence

Uffizi Gallery

We made a quick stop at the leather market where my kids bought genuine leather sling bags to carry their tablets in. Unfortunately my son’s bag containing his tablet was stolen in Rome, our next stop.

Leather Market Florence

Leather Market

At the end of the day, I dragged my tired family to the department store in the Piazza della Repubblica which is said to have one of the best views of Florence. When we got there, it was too crowded to take good pictures.

Florence

Piazza del Republica

We stayed at a hotel called Vasari Palace. It had a very artistic feel to it – with lots of paintings – which was quite appropriate considering it was in Florence. Medieval knights and dames were painted on the doors, to give the effect that they were guarding the room. On a side note, my Tripadvisor review on this hotel is my most read review on the website. At the last count, it had had almost 4000 views.

Florence

Entrance to hotel room

Did I think that Florence was the best city in the world? It was charming but I don’t think that I would put it at the top of my list. I preferred Venice and Istanbul.

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7 comments
Florence Tuscany

Salutations from Florence

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Susanna Kelly

Florence is in fact a great city. It depends on what the reasons behind it. I am convinced Munich is the best city in the world to live in, but I think Istanbul tops my list of cities to experience.

Reply
    Sara

    I agree Susanna. Florence is a great city but I like Istanbul more.

    Reply
'Liya

I loved Florence but would definitely agree Venice and Istanbul top it!

Reply
    Sara

    Thanks Liya. I’m glad to have someone agree with me 🙂

    Reply
Bright Side of Life

I love Florence and your photographs brought make lots of happy memories. My nephew is a chorister at Winchester (UK) and he will be singing in the Duomo next April. Proud Auntie!! 🙂

Reply
    Sara

    Wow, that’s quite an honour -Congratulations!

    Reply
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