Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Florence, Italy

Never in my life had I felt more immersed in culture than when I visited Vienna, but then I took a whirlwind trip to Florence.

My friend Deb was interning there for the semester (shoutout to you, Deb, for hosting me and putting up with me all weekend!), a round-trip flight between Paris and Pisa was only 70€ (plus 10€ round trip between Pisa and Florence), and I had a long weekend. Could the stars have aligned any more perfectly? While I was only in Florence for about 52 hours, I really saw a lot of the city. Another shoutout to one of my favorite travel bloggers, Ashley over at History in High Heels, for all of her Florence tips, both on her blog and via Instagram comments! But seriously, go check out her blog. She just arrived in Florence this week for a seven-month period.

Despite having awoken at 5:00 a.m. (my flight from Paris was at 7:30...ouch!), the first thing we did when I arrived was visit Duomo...and climb all 463 stairs to get to the top (bottom left). But it honestly wasn't as bad as I thought it would be! I guess it helps that I need to climb three sets of stairs to get to my apartment? I didn't realize that the Duomo ticket included visits inside of the cathedral (right two), baptistry (top left), and crypt, so the experience was definitely worth the 10€--and the exhaustion! You bet we rewarded ourselves with pizza and gelato afterward.

We dedicated the next day to museums. We started at the Uffizi Gallery, which not only houses works of the grand masters but also offers beautiful views of the city (top left). Next to the museum is the Gucci Museum, and we just had to pop in. After all, where else in the world can you find one? It was such a cool and different museum experience, and I highly recommend it (as well as getting a coffee at their caffè afterward). Then we did a bit of walking around, got lunch at Gusta Pizza and cappuccinos at Caffè Giacosa (formerly owned by Roberto Cavalli), and browsed the Mercato Centrale where I bargained my way to a gorgeous hat (bottom right). Following a walk along the Ponte Vecchio, we paid a visit to David at the Accademia Gallery (bottom right). I was shocked by how small the museum was, but thoroughly enjoyed it. The museum focused on medieval art, which is one of my favorite genres of art. The visit took less time than we had thought, so we were able to visit the Great Synagogue of Florence, which meant a lot to me (bottom left). What a beautiful place.

I mean...just look at him. He's beautiful.
That night, I had the best pasta I've ever had in my life. Deb's friend had found an amazing Tuscan restaurant that's pretty hidden, and I'm pretty sure we were the only tourists there. The next time you're in Florence, make dinner reservations at Trattoria 13 Gobbi--you won't regret it.

I made Deb pose before we got too excited about our food.
I spent my last day visiting the Basilica of Santa Croce (below) and the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella. The Santa Maria Novella houses the Trinity, but overall I wasn't immensely impressed by the church. Santa Croce, on the other I paid hommage to Machiavelli, Galileo, Michelangelo, and Dante (their tombs are here), and saw artwork by Donatello and the likes. This was one of my favorite museums in Florence by far.

I'm already thinking about the next time I visit Florence, I loved it so much. There's a lot I still have yet to do--climb the Piazzale Michelangelo, explore the Tuscan countryside, and do a more thorough food tour (clearly)--but I'd say I packed a lot in for just two-and-a-half days!

  • Make all dinner reservations in advance. Spots fill up quickly.
  • Likewise, purchase your Duomo, Uffizi, and Accademia tickets online, so you don't have to spend hours waiting. I'm SO glad we did this.
  • Go to Gusta Pizza for lunch one day, but arrive as soon as it opens so you get a table.
  • No need to worry about buses and public transportation. There's a 5€ bus between the Pisa airport and the train station in Florence, which is in the heart of the city. And once you're in Florence, you can walk everywhere.
  • Eat as much gelato as possible!


  1. Sounds (and looks) like you had a wonderful time! I hope to visit someday myself!

  2. Gusta Pizza was one of my favorites! It's too bad I went the day before we left so I only went once! I especially miss my favorite gelato place, I can't remember the name of it right now though! I miss Florence so much! I can't wait to go back!

  3. Oh, I want to go to Italy so badly! I've been to Europe, but I've never made it as far south as Italy. ONE DAY! :)

  4. Your pictures and your experience look AMAZING! I'm leaving for Rome tomorrow for a few months and I hope to be able to visit Florence too! I've only heard incredible things. Glad you had such a great time!!

  5. Oh my goodness, I've always wanted to visit Florence! I'm so envious, especially since your pictures are so lovely! I'll probably be visiting Florence at the end of the year, I'll take note of your tips :)

  6. Wow! This sounds and looks like an amazing trip! Italy is definitely the number one place I want to visit.

    Clothes & Quotes

  7. I HAVE to get to Italy soon. OOf. These photos and your story are devine.

  8. Florence has always been one of my favorite cities in Europe. It has been a while since my last visit but your post brought me right back there; thanks.

  9. Florence isn't my favorite city in Italy (I prefer Rome and Perugia) - perhaps because my visit was a summer one and the crowds were just too much... But I did see one of my all-time favorite paintings, Birth of Venus, and that was worth the wait in line to Uffizi. Good point about buying tickets online; I wish I'd known that back then. :)

  10. I visited Florence when I was fifteen and your post made me feel like coming back. I remember it as a fantastic gem, one of the prettiest cities I've ever been to and definitely my favorite place in Italy. I'm curious what the return would be like...

  11. I would love to go to Florence again. We went for our honeymoon (very romantic) but that was many, many years ago. It sounds just as gorgeous though....

  12. I LOVE Florence SO much, I've already been there twice during the 3 months in Europe, haha! I haven't been able to make it to the Uffizi or Accadamia yet though!

  13. Interesting! Rome is high up on my travel list. :)

  14. I loved Florence. We didn't go to many museums. I'd love to go there again to visit more. We were only there for around 2 days as well and I feel like we packed a lot in too! :)

  15. This definitely sound like a dream! I need to make better use of my weekends :) Florence is definitely on my list of places to visit in Italy! And it's good to know you got your money's worth at the Duomo :)


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