- Valentina Solci
First Time's a Charm....Firenze Bound
My friend, Cala, and I decided to take a last minute trip to Firenze a few weeks ago. Here's what went down...
We rented out an Airbnb on the southside of Firenze's river, Fiume Arno. Thus, we were located 30 minutes away from the city center by foot. It was totally worth it because we got to stay in a more residential/local neighborhood and enjoy the house's backyard garden.
We took a bus from Milano to Firenze so, by the time we arrived, it was already sunset hour. After checking into our accommodations, we headed straight to the river and had dinner at Osteria Santo Spirito. I recommend arriving there at least 30 minutes before you want to eat because the restaurant was packed. We ended up waiting for about an hour and killed time by walking around Piazza Santo Spirito. I ordered the truffle oven baked gnocchi while Cala ordered a classic pasta al pomodoro.
Rise and shine! We got up pretty early and had a nice morning walk along Fiume Arno. From there, we walked over to the north side of the river to start a full day of back-to-back site visits.
One of the beautiful things about visiting Firenze is that transportation around the city was simple and cost effective. This petite city has all of it's popular sites located no more than 10 minutes away by foot, allowing for us to spend the full day site hopping.
We first went to the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, Firenze's first great basilica which was completed in the 14th century. There they had a lovely flower display in celebration of Valentine's weekend. There was a fee to enter the basilica, so we decided to only view the site from outside as we had plans to visit the Duomo later in the day.
From there, we walked over to the Mercato di San Lorenzo, an outdoor shopping market focusing on local art, Italian manufactured fashion items, and fresh produce. I ended up purchasing three cost effective and locally manufactured items: a light pink cashmere scarf with handcrafted embroidery details, a read leather coin wallet, and a light pink leather top handle bag (all for under 50 Euros).
By this point, it was 11AM and I was starving. I ordered a simple breakfast (cappuccino, orange juice, and chocolate croissant) at Sergio Bar, located right next to the Duomo.
We spent the bulk of the afternoon at Piazza del Duomo, where we purchased an excellent site seeing bundle for only 20 Euros!
TOP OF THE DUOMO
This view was absolutely stunning but not easy to get to! In order to reach the top of the Duomo, you must reserve your time slot in advance. The trek up the Duomo is only suitable for those okay with being inside of confined/tight spaces for over 30 minutes and can climb the stairs all the way to the top.
From up there, we got a 360° view of Firenze, which made the climb totally worth it.
Next up, we climbed all the way to the top of the Bell Tower (same thing as the Duomo- tight spaces and lots of stairs). If you desire to climb only one of these sites, then I recommend for you to climb the Duomo because the view from the top is barrier free and excellent for photo lovers.
After a long day of sightseeing, we were sooo looking forward to having downtime at View on Art Rooftop Bar & Restaurant. This bar was located only two blocks away from Piazza del Duomo, making it super accessible and perfect for a sunset view. I ordered a mojito and Cala ordered a cosmo.
After sunset, we walked over to Galleria dell'Accademia to see the famous David sculpture. This masterpiece was crafted by Michelangelo from 1501 to 1504 and is made of marble. It stands 17 feet tall and 6.5 feet wide (517 cm × 199 cm). Historically, the statue symbolizes the defense of civil liberties thats incorporated within the Republic of Firenze.
Cala found this restaurant called, Ristorante Il Teatro, located right next to Palazzo Vecchio. Here we discovered an amazing full course deal for only 20 Euros each. This included a bottle of wine, an antipasti, a main dish, and a tiramisu.
After dinner, we walked over to Piazza della Signoria and visited the Fountain of Neptune. This site was sculpted by Bartolomeo Ammannati and Giambologna between 1563-65 to celebrate the opening of a new aqueduct. Additionally, the site is oftentimes referred to as the Biancone (great white) on account of the brilliance of its marble.
We began this morning by having a long walk over to Piazzale Michelangelo. I highly recommend wearing sneakers and comfortable attire if you plan on getting there by foot because of its hilltop location.
We crossed the river from the southside and made our way back to Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio. We first went to Gucci Garden to visit their shop and museum, then we had breakfast at Ristorante "Il Cavallino". Cala ordered a margarita pizza, while I ordered an "international colazione" (toast, eggs, fresh juice, and a cappuccino).
Well, that's a wrap Firenze! Love always and forever,