After spending the morning in Milan, we took a bus to Firenze (Florence) where we spent the next two nights. Florence is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been in; despite the many tourists, it’s relatively small and untouched. Although our Airbnb was not centrally located, almost everything seemed to be within a 30-minute walk.
Upon arriving in the city, our first stop was Piazzalle Michelangelo, an elevated public area that gives beautiful panoramic views of the city. The viewpoint was about a 45-minute walk from our Airbnb so it was a great way to familiarize ourselves with the city. Walking through the streets of Florence, I felt as though I had stepped into a different time. The main reason why I use the word “untouched” to describe Florence is because a lot of the major attractions were seamlessly integrated into city. Everything fit together and often, the streets themselves seemed like attractions. This was perfect for me because I love to walk and didn’t have a lot of money to pay admissions.
A plaza in Florence
A lot of the buildings were shades of yellow with reddish-grey roofs, the roads were narrow and winding. The photo above shows a plaza with a small church. The church’s white and black exterior gave it a similar appearance to the main Duomo in Florence.
As we walked back from Piazzele Michelangelo, we also passed by Ponte (bridge) Vecchio, a famous bridge in Florence. What’s so unique about the bridge is that its walled and houses many jewellery shops.
Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
The next day, we checked out the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, a.k.a. the Florence Duomo. Similar to the smaller church we saw on the first day, the Florence Duomo is black and white. The exterior of the church is huge and so impressive because of its intricate design. Despite being so busy-looking, the wall design is also pretty structured with tons of circles, squares, and other various shapes. The structured detailing really sets the Florence Duomo apart from other cathedrals.
More of the massive duomo
The Duomo is huge so it’s hard to capture in one picture. It consists of the church itself, a dome, viewing tower, and baptistry. Visitors can pay approx. 15 euros admission to gain access to the dome, viewing tower, and baptistry. It’s free to go inside the church; however, most of the interior is blocked off so there’s not that much to see.
Views from Palazzo Pitti
Our next stop was Palazzo Pitti which is an enormous palace that in the past, housed many Firenze nobles and royal families – the most notable of which was the Medici family, a prominent family from the 15th to 18th century in Tuscany. Although the Medicis were never considered royalty, they were politically, economically, culturally, and religiously significant. Above is a photo of the palace wall (right) and the buildings across from the palace (left). Despite looking very normal on the outside, the palace is filled with some of the most elaborate rooms I’ve ever seen (and I’ve been to my share of European palaces). All of them were very overdone with tapestries and paintings on the walls, as well as busy-looking furniture. To be honest, I would’ve been scared to live there, but I guess that’s what was in style a couple centuries ago.
Throughout my stay in Italy, I saw a ton of nude sculptures. Above is a public display of human and animal sculptures in a plaza.
The most important nude sculpture I saw was the Statue of David, Michaelangelo’s masterpiece housed in the Galleria de Academia. Seeing David is an absolute must if you’re visiting Florence so on our third and final day in the city, we set out at 6:45 am to line up for the Academia museum. I have to say, waking up early for David was absolutely worth it. For anyone who’s visited the Louvre in Paris, you’ll know that the Mona Lisa is the smallest and most underwhelming painting in the world, but seeing David was totally different. I was in awe when I saw the huge sculpture and literally stared at the huge, naked man for an hour.
Everyone knows the Galleria de Academia as an art museum, but the Academia also has a music exhibit. The coolest thing in the music exhibit is that it contains the world’s first ever piano…that’s right, while all of the artists flood to the Academia for David, musicians visit for the oldest piano in history. It turns out that Florence really is a centre for the arts, both visual and musical. In fact, musicians such as Mozart lived not only in Vienna, but also Florence.
The Academia museum was a great way to end off my trip to Florence. Florence is such a beautiful city and despite being small, there’s tons to do and lots to learn about. While staying in Florence, I took a quick trip to Pisa, also located in Tuscany, so check out my Pisa post. Next stop, Roma!