One of the many places I visited during my Italian road trip was Florence, or in Italian; Firenze. I was very excited to go there because last summer I read a book that took place in Florence, and ever since reading that book I’ve been wanting to go there. And it is a stunning city, I can tell you that much. It was a bit crowded, tourists everywhere. But you know, can’t really blame them, being a tourist myself and all… Still, Florence might now be my favourite Italian city, I haven’t decided yet. But it is definitely up there with my faves.
The first thing we looked for was the Duomo or the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. And well, it can not be missed. It is huge and it is probably one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve ever seen in my life. I just couldn’t stop looking at it. So many details and a lot of marble has been used – since I’m a marble lover, that is always a good thing. We didn’t end up going inside or climbing the thing because it was way too busy. It would have probably taken up the whole day had we done that, and it was too hot anyway – 36 degrees to be precise. Just looking at it already made me so happy. We sat down near the Duomo to have some lunch and then we walked on to try and find the other big highlight in Florence; Ponte Vecchio.
I have to say, in my imagination, Ponte Vecchio was much more beautiful than it actually was in real life. It’s still nice, but it doesn’t have the same effect on me that the Duomo had. It’s just a really odd bridge, with little houses on it that are all basically little jewelry shops. We did go on it, but the shops couldn’t really interest me. They were pretty expensive jewelry stores, and quite old fashioned ones to be honest. I actually liked the view from the bridge better than the actual bridge. But I am glad that I saw it, since it is quite a unique bridge. In the early days, there were already little shops on this bridge, a butcher for example. They used the river to dump their waste. Which is quite funny if you think about it. But I do think the bridge would be nicer if it wasn’t all expensive jewelry shops.
After this, we went back to the Duomo after strolling around some abandoned little streets – sometimes it’s just nice to leave the busy areas and walk around places where there are not really any tourists around. Back at the Duomo we had an ice cold drink – which is much needed in that heat – with a view on the beautiful Basilica. Then we went on to the Basilica di Santa Maria Novelle, which I read about in a travel guide I had with me. It was a bit quieter there, but the basilica was again so stunning. More or less the same style as the Duomo and again with a lot of marble. Look at the marble statue in front of it, I mean… what’s not to love!
We ended the day at Piazzale Michelangelo. At this square, you have a magnificent view on the city. You can see the Duomo and Ponte Vecchio among others. We wanted to go here at sunset, but decided against it in the end, because it meant we had to wait for several hours. And let’s be real, strolling around a busy city in 36 degrees does take up a lot of energy. In the end, we went in the afternoon and it was beautiful anyway. If you ever go to Florence, you have to go here. You can either walk or go with a bus from the station (obviously we chose the latter).