A Trip to Tuscany and Beyond part 1

My Story of Florence, Italy

A year after the road trip through the Balkans, the spring of 2019 took us to Italy. I’d been dreaming about seeing the famous Tuscany, Florence, Cinque Terre, and a particular small town called Lucca for many years and it was finally time. But with Italy being further away, we decided that instead of a road trip, we would fly there and then use the public rails to get around by train.

And so, we started our trip landing in Bologna. The main reason we chose this city was that it offered, at the time, the best round-trip flight price of all. From there, we took the train to Florence, where we spent 2 days. 

Evening view of Ponte Vecchio

Florence was great, although we’ve been bad tourists and haven’t visited the main attractions, like the Uffizi Gallery or the Accademia Gallery, home to Michelangelo’s David.

TIP TIME: If you’re going to Florence for these, you have to book your tickets online, and even if you do so, expect to stand in a huge line. So book a whole day just for these and arm yourself with patience and water.

Anyway, after arriving, we went to the centre to do a bit of recon, look for gelato, of course, and get a feel of the land, in general. It was a long but pleasant walk from our accommodation to the city centre and on that walk, on one of the cobblestoned streets, we found La Prosciutteria, a small eatery, which we later found out is part of a chain of restaurants around Italy. Here, we ate yummy sandwiches and drank some of their brews.

The feast at La Prosciutteria

After stuffing our faces, we continued on the winding streets and reached Ponte Vecchio. This is an old bridge as its name also suggests ponte vecchio=old bridge, lined up with small workshops of different crafts, particularly jewelry, although in the old days it was occupied by butchers and tanners. After crossing the bridge, going through Piazza della Signoria and walking a bit more, we finally reached the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, one of the greatest (literally) points of interest in Firenze. We went around it twice and then settled for a gelato.

Palazzo Vecchio

The following day, we took pretty much the same tour, with a short stop at Uffizi Gallery, where the whole Piazzale degli Uffizi was full of people waiting in 3 or 4 queues to get to visit the gallery. So we decided to skip these lines and check out the one at the Accademia Gallery, where indeed there was only one… that went around the building… so, we skipped that one as well. However, we decided to visit a lesser-known museum in Florence, the Riccardi Medici Palace, which we thoroughly enjoyed, particularly the Medici Gardens, filled with gorgeous blooming trees with an enticing smell that we thought was jasmine. 

Funny face in the Medici Gardens

After the gardens, we also checked out the DaVinci Museum. If you’re ever in Florence, do visit it, especially if you’re going with children. Several replicas of DaVinci’s inventions are exhibited and you can use them to see how they work. The entire exhibit is very interactive and we took turns trying out the inventions and wondering at the marvelous mind this man had. 

All in all, our stop in Florence was a rather lazy one, but despite visiting many cities, this whole trip was meant to be relaxing, so we took it slow. Nevertheless, Florence is a lovely and lively city that is worth visiting. Next stop: Siena. To be continued…

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