Italy: Florence

Our trip to Florence was only for three nights, and it was three weeks ago, but I still wanted to write about it, of course.

We caught a train from Venice to Bologna, to have a little stopover for lunch, before heading to Florence. We didn’t see a lot of Bologna but the city is famous for – guess what – bolognese. Then we caught a train from Bologna to Florence. For some reason, two or three entire carriages of the train, including the one with our assigned seats, were missing. As a result there were so many people wanting to find a seat in the other carriages. We didn’t find a seat so we got stuck waiting in the luggage compartment. Sucks! It was so hot and I would have loved a complimentary drink for all the trouble… but a crew member said it would only be twenty minutes until Florence, so thought we would be alright.

View down a main street in Bologna
Down a street in Bologna

The place we stayed in Florence was right next to the Duomo. We had to take our luggage up five levels of steep stairs, as our apartment was at the top. It was very hot and I really wanted to be able to carry my suitcase myself. I only got about halfway alone before I let our host help me. Oh well, I tried. 😛 The apartment was quite nice and had an amazing view on top, where we ate breakfast at every opportunity. We decided that buying some food from the supermarket was the best option – it was cheap and we could fit more in our days, including food. 😄

The Duomo from our rooftop in the evening
The Duomo from our rooftop in the evening
Low shot of the Duomo
Duomo from the ground

There was a gelato place downstairs and around the corner from our apartment. We bought gelato there a couple of times, including just after we arrived. I was glad to see some vegan gelato there too. Since we arrived in the afternoon, we just explored the town. There were a lot of designer stores and a lot of tourists. We went to the Ponte Vecchio (meaning ‘old bridge’) which had a nice view at night.

One of the city squares in Florence
One of the city squares in Florence
A view of the river in the evening
A view of the river in the evening

We went to Pisa the next day to see the Tower of Pisa. It’s now obviously known as the Leaning Tower of Pisa because of the foundations at the base making it tilt. We didn’t do much except see the tower. I’ve heard that going up the tower can be claustrophobic and dizzy, and the view of the town of Pisa isn’t that fantastic anyway. I’ve got a square photo on Instagram, but I didn’t have a better one to post here.

It was funny seeing people with their hands up in the air trying to take the cliched photo of themselves pushing the tower over. One of my colleagues at work asked if I saw anyone actually trying to take a photo the other way. That is, taking a photo of themselves trying to push the tower back up to a straight position.

One thing that a fellow Twitter friend shared with me was a video of a guy trolling some people around Pisa by giving them a high five. 😂

We went to Lucca, a quiet, nice town where we had a really nice lunch. I had some fish and a really nice frothy cream dessert. Unfortunately I cannot remember what it was called but it was some kind of float. We climbed Guinigi Tower to get some good views as well.

Lucca from the top of the Guinigi Tower
Lucca from the top of the Guinigi Tower
View of Lucca from a stone window in the Guinigi Tower
Lucca from a stone window in the Guinigi Tower

We went shopping and I bought some plain sleeveless tops – something that is lacking in my wardrobe at the moment. Then we headed back to Florence by train, super excited to buy some shoes. Yep. Nick and I bought some Italian shoes in Italy! I bought a pair of brogues, which are yet to make their way into a Fashion Friday outfit, but I can’t deny that I have been wearing them a lot lately. We read a few reviews on the place we went to, and it was recommended by one of our friends. My brogues were 240€, and Nick bought a sexy pair of dark brown oxfords for 260€. We actually got a tax refund which was good. But yes, loving my shoes and the quality is tops! 🙌

The next morning we got up early and went to the Accademia gallery. It was already packed before 9am. I would recommend buying tickets beforehand, too. It definitely makes things a lot easier if you plan out your days. The only thing that was interesting in the Accademia was the famous statue of David, and a room of various sculptures of Narcissus and some others. I only remembered Narcissus because the story is somewhat interesting. Unless you are into religious artwork, the rest of the gallery may seem same-same.

A girl photographing the Duomo from a distance
A girl photographing the Duomo from a distance

Our next stop was the Precious Stones museum. It was small and quiet and we were the only ones there. Nick found it boring, but I found it very enthralling. The style of artwork in the museum is all mosaics, except each piece of the mosaic is made from a precious stone. And if you look really closely, you can see the detail in it. There was also a second level showing some stones, rocks and tool samples.

A detailed precious stone mosaic of a shell
A detailed precious stone mosaic of a shell
Some precious stones on display before they were put into mosaics
Some precious stones before they were put into mosaics
A bird moasic made from different precious stones
A bird moasic made from different precious stones

We visited the Uffizi gallery after that, and again I got a dull feeling of being ‘museumed out’. We went through and spotted a hermaphrodite sculpture similar to the one we had seen in France. I don’t have much to say about Uffizi but it was one of those obligatory tourist must-dos.

We met up with our friend Andrea for lunch. He used to work with us, before we left the company of course, and now still works for the same company remotely. We spent a while catching up, and he recommended we get a good view of Florence from some gardens about half an hour away.

A beautiful view of Florence
A beautiful view of Florence

We actually didn’t eat dinner at all in Florence because we had such huge lunches! 😳 It’s a bit of a shame because we were given some local recommendations by our host.

The next morning we didn’t have to catch a train until about noon, so we went to Museo Galileo (Galileo Museum). I loved learning about space and science in school, so I was really keen on seeing the museum. There was certainly some interesting stuff in there. The thing that Nick and I were a bit disgusted and shaken by were the models of babies inside the womb. They were used to illustrate the use of tools for childbirth, but it was just so bizarre and out of place. I think I was a bit scarred seeing that. 😦

That was our trip to Florence! The name of the shoe store is Mauro Volponi. They sell both men’s and women’s shoes. I would definitely recommend having a look if you want some good quality Italian shoes. It’s possible there are fakes elsewhere, so this is the only good one I know about and can trust because it was recommended by locals. I enjoyed our trip to Florence though I would like to go back and explore a bit more and check out some more of the restaurants in the area.

The Duomo from the top of our apartment
The Duomo from the top of our apartment

Other posts about our trip to Europe

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I’m glad you enjoyed Florence. It’s such a beautiful city and really doesn’t feel like a city at all.

That view point where you can see all of Florence is amazing. I didn’t go there on my first visit to Florence, but on the second visit we stopped off there are took some photos.

Pisa is a funny place. I’ve been to see the tower twice and wouldn’t go out of my way to go again. Tyrone wasn’t overly impressed with it, but it is worth going just to see some tourists in their natural habitat. So funny!

I would love to visit Lucca and Bologna some day. Ahh there’s so much more of Italy I want to see!

Glad you enjoyed the heck out of Florence! It’s a beautiful city full of history and lore. I’m glad you enjoyed it, and the photos really reflect it. I have family in Italy owing to the fact that my real grandfather was full blooded Italian. One day, I’ll find them. ♥️

I love all the photos you took! You must’ve gotten pretty high to get those shots, I know with my recent trip to Spain I had to hike a bit to capture similar shots 😛

I’m glad you enjoyed Florence, it looks like such a pretty city and one to add to my places to go 😄 I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Pisa on its own without some tourist trying to push it tbh haha! Oh my, that video made me laugh so much! That’s hilarious 😆

Florence, Italy. I have always wanted to visit Italy. I am not so sure if Florence would be my choice, but by the descriptions and pictures you took, it seemed like a beautiful place. One of my favorite book series takes place in Italy and Florence is one of the major cities throughout the series. Glad you had a great trip, and of course, beautiful pictures as well.

Oh. That might have been a problem that some carriages were missing hahaha. That would have been annoying waiting with the luggage though. -__-

Even though carrying the luggage up the stairs was a pain, the view is really beautiful! 😄

The question is, did you do the straightening of the tower as well? ;D

Hahahah one of my friends asked if anyone was pushing the tower the other (non-conventional) way. I didn’t see anybody. 😞

Glad to hear you had a good time in Florence. I’ve always wanted to go there – it’s so beautiful! The photos are lovely.

I never thought about how camera angles could affect whether the leaning tower looks like it’s leaning. I bet it’s really hard to get a picture of the ‘lean’, especially when you’re in crowds of tourists.

Can’t wait to see your Italian shoes in a Fashion Friday!

Oh it was pretty funny actually, I was going to post a photo on Instagram and Nick said to me, ‘It’s leaning the wrong way’. I pissed myself. It was hard to get a photo of it leaning the correct way, especially when I was practically under the tower. I edited my photo to make it look like it was leaning the right way, even though I photographed it oh-so-wrong.

AHH I’ve missed your Europe posts but I’m glad I got to read this one, you always include so many nice details!! The first thing while looking through the photos was that Lucca looks like a scene straight out of Assassin’s Creed II and the river in Florence reminds me of when I jumped in the water trying to get away from guards HA. It’s so hard for me to picture people living in those little houses since I never really leave the US. I also love gothic cathedrals like the Duomo! When I go to Europe in the future those will probably be the first places I hit up. I’m glad you had a really nice time, I’m gonna scroll through some of your older posts!

The buildings in Florence are beautiful!!! I am drooling over the delicate design/carvings of the Duomo. I wonder what other creative things people can do with the tower 😆. You have a ton of beautiful views from all of the towns in Europe! It makes climbing the towers definitely worth the energy 😄.

The stone mosaic looks interesting and very artful. I love how shiny those stones are @__@ 😄. Art is interesting in a way that things can be depicted in so many ways. I probably would be a bit disturbed about the baby models for now but would probably be fascinated by it when the time comes 😆!

Finally reading this, and I won’t say much other than that I loved it and it looks so beautiful :3 Sounds like you really enjoyed this region. ♥️

(I loved the video of the guy high-fiving those people at Pisa as well HAHAHA classic!).

Florence looks like such a beautiful city and I’d love to visit the precious stones museum myself. The photos you’ve taken are stunning!

We always make our own breakfast if we’re staying at an apartment while on holiday. It’s much faster and cheaper than eating out each morning. It’s also a great opportunity to try out some local fresh produce.

Loving all the photos of Florence, it looks so beautiful. Going to add this to my list of cities to visit in Europe.

You sure visited loads of museums during your trip. We hardly visit museums when we go on holiday as my boyfriend doesn’t like museums much.