You can view all posts from my trip to Italy here.
If you’ve been keeping up with my Italy posts, you’ll know that I absolutely fell in love with Florence and Tuscany! We got to Florence after a disappointing day in Verona and saw the Duomo and a gorgeous sunset over the city (it was worth the misadventures we had to see it!). On our second day, we took a tour of Tuscany for half a day and got to see some quaint Medieval villages and a vineyard. After our tour, we got dropped back off in Florence and continued exploring.
My friend Mariah had been to Florence before and enjoyed going to Leonardo Leather and Gold, so we stopped by for some souvenirs. It wasn’t busy at all, which was surprising seeing how popular leather is in Florence. Everything in the store was really nice and well made. I got a wallet for myself, and even after months of not-so-gentle use, it still looks brand new! Vincenzo was a very helpful (and hilarious) employee, and he gave us some restaurant recommendations and told us about Massimo Ravinale, a shop to get Italian silk ties, which we went to next.
After we were done shopping, we took a leisurely stroll through Florence. The day before, we had been sprinting trying to get to the spot to take sunset photos, so we saw a lot of the city but didn’t have time to stop and take pictures. I would definitely recommend taking your time to walk around the city because the Florence architecture is so beautiful and impressive!
Piazza Santa Croce
Piazza della Signoria has some amazing statues
Ponte Vecchio is Florence’s famous bridge, and it was built in the 1300s. It has lots of little shops built into the bridge, and the top part is a corridor built by the Medici family so they could cross between the neighborhoods privately
After exploring Florence for a few hours, it was getting dark and we were getting hungry. We had my favorite meal in Italy the night before, but we couldn’t leave Florence without trying a Florentine steak. We got dinner at Trattoria dei 13 Gobbi and split a Florentine steak (it was huge!) and some sides. It was delicious and worth the hype!
The next morning, we only had a few hours left in Florence before our train to the Amalfi Coast. Florence is known for two art museums: the Accademia Gallery and the Uffizi Gallery. We didn’t have enough time to do both, so we decided to go to the Accademia Gallery to see Michelangelo’s David. I’m definitely planning on going back to Florence, so I’ll make sure I go to the Uffizi Gallery then! On our way to the Accademia Gallery, we stopped for breakfast at La Menagere, and it was the cutest café and store!
After a delicious breakfast, we headed over to the Accademia Gallery. We got there early and had bought tickets ahead of time, which I suggest doing so you can skip the long line. I was pleasantly surprised to see that there wasn’t nearly as big a crowd to see the David as there was when I saw the Mona Lisa. But you should still get there as early as possible!
The museum was smaller than I expected, so there really isn’t much to see other than the David. They do have a room of molds that artists used to create statues to get the proportions correct, so it was pretty interesting to learn about that (I honestly thought that artists just created statues based on drawings or something!).
After we got our fill of artwork, we had some time to wander around Florence some more before our train. We decided to head back towards the Duomo since we had more time to spend there than the day before. On our way there, we happened upon the Palazzo Medici Riccardi, and we got to walk around the courtyard for a bit. The next time I’m in Florence, I definitely want to see more of the Medici buildings and homes!
Aren’t the details and the colors of the Duomo amazing? I couldn’t get enough of the beautiful Florence architecture!
I’m a big Federer fan, so I loved his caricature!
We went to Mercato Centrale for an early lunch, and Vicenzo had recommended some restaurants in there. Mercato Centrale was like a fancier, modern Reading Terminal Market, and I loved the skylights and all the plants! They had a wide variety of restaurants and markets, so it’s a great place to be able to taste a lot of different foods.
That’s a giant truffle and it’s worth a ton of money!
I’m not the biggest fan of fried foods, but Morgan got a rice ball that I tried and I loved it so much I went and got my own! There are lots of different fillings to choose from, and I highly recommend getting one (or a few) from Mercato Centrale
There are a lot of street vendors that sell leather goods, and they aren’t as high quality as a place like Leonardo’s but they are a lot cheaper if you’re on a budget. Mariah and I haggled for some bags, and mine is still in great shape!
We only had about two days in Florence and Tuscany, but I would recommend going for a longer visit because there’s so much to do there! I loved Florence so much more than Venice and Verona, and I don’t think I have a single complaint about my experience there. If you’ve been to Florence, did you love it as much as I did? 🙂