Italy Highlight: Florence by Foot

Welcome to my very last Italy adventures recap from our travels there last month! If you missed any of the previous recaps, check them out first:

  • Hiking Cinque Terre (aka the most beautiful place on earth)
  • Small Town Italy: Pisa, Lucca, Sienna & Orvieto
  • Italy Highlight: Rome
  • Italy Highlight: The Food! (the comments section has a great discussion on healthy eating while on vacation!)
  • That Time When a 4 Mile Run Turned Into a 4 Hour Run
  • Elle & Rob’s Italian Wedding Weekend

For my final post, take a walk with me in the streets of Florence.

Florence is one of my favorite cities in Italy – I far prefer it to Rome because it’s smaller, more walker friendly, and there’s such amazing art and food. Everywhere you look there’s somewhere fabulous to eat or something beautiful to look at.

Matt and I spent a couple days in Florence; we stayed right in the city, making it easy to do a lot of walking and exploring.

I’m always particularly in awe of all the amazing sculptures in Florence. Last time I was in Florence, on a trip with my college BFF Kris back when I was teaching English in Prague, we stumbled upon the most amazing Bernini sculpture special exhibit. It wasn’t there this time around, but Matt and I still enjoyed checking out the art. The statue of David in the photo below (outside in the Piazza della Signoria) is a copy, not the real one – the real one is tucked away in the Accademia Gallery, which we also visited. Another great gallery in Florence if you’re an art lover is the Uffizi Gallery (prounounced Ooo-Fitz-E). No photos are allowed in the galleries, so you’ll have to take my word for it!

On our first day in Florence, Matt and I climbed up to the roof of the Duomo, which is the main church in Florence; as the name suggests, it’s the large dome-like building to the right in the photo below.

There’s usually a big line to climb the Duomo, but we went just before they closed for the day and were able to get tickets and head up immediately, no problem. What luck!

There are 463 steps to conquer before reaching the top of the Duomo. You start in a narrow winding staircase, then briefly emerge near the top of the church with beautiful views of the ceiling frescoes.

From there, it’s back into another winding staircase:

Which eventually turns into more narrow and slanted steps once you get into the roof area. This climb is not for the claustrophobic! 🙂

But all that work is very worth it – check out this amazing view!

I spy the Campanile – the other thing in downtown Florence that often gets climbed! It’s not as high as the Duomo, but you get cool views of the Duomo itself.

My other favorite area of Florence is the beautiful river.

This is the famous Ponte Vecchio, the beautiful old stone bridge that spans the river Arno at it’s most narrow point. There are all sorts of shops on the bridge; initially, butchers occupied the shops, but nowadays its all jewelers, art dealers, and tourist souvenir shops.

On our last night in Florence, it was a beautiful evening, so per the suggestion of friends and many of you, we grabbed the bottle of wine we bought from the lemon guy in Cinque Terre, purchased some bread, cheese, meat, fruit, and olives, and made our way across the river and up to the Piazzale Michelangelo for a picnic.

It’s quite a climb up to the Piazzale Michelangelo, but once again after the climb you’re rewarded with stunning views.

Matt and I settled in with our picnic, eating, drinking wine, and enjoying the sights. It was definitely one of our favorite nights in Italy.

The views got more and more amazing by the minute!

5,000 pictures later, with our bellies and our hearts full, we made our way back down.

It was the perfect end to our time in Florence – and the perfect end to my Italy recaps, too, I think. 🙂

Thank you for sharing in our Italy adventures with us. I hope you enjoyed reading these posts – it was fun for me to reminisce as I wrote them. Until next time, Italy…!

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