Hangin’ Out with our Mate Dave – Florence – Day 36

We packed lots of sights into our 1 full day in Florence! We both really loved the feel (vibe?) of Florence and would have happily stayed a bit longer and maybe popped over to Pisa to check out that tower but we saw all our top sights for Florence in 1 day (thanks to Caitlin’s planning and Sam’s navigating) so we’re pretty happy. First we redid the sights from yesterday with a bit more knowledge then headed down the popular shopping street Via dei Calzaiuoli (they had a Disney store so we’ve now seen one in nearly every country we visited) to Piazza del Duomo.

Unfortunately a lot of the sites were covered in scaffolding etc for repairs but the first site to catch our eyes was the magnificent cathedral. The coloured marble makes it really stand out compared to all the brilliant buildings we’ve seen in our travels. After a hassle with a nasty tour guide trying to convince us to join the wrong line so she could take her tour group through first when the cathedral opened we got our audio guides and got a peek inside. Most of the inside (including most of the sights on the audio guide, so I wouldn’t recommend getting it if you’re ever here) are sectioned off for prayer only so we couldn’t see a lot but enjoyed what we could see. We opted to skip climbing the tower and headed on to our next site.

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We stopped for lunch at the a nice restaurant on the Piazza della Repubblica before heading on to see the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella. We decided not to go inside this time and head on to our next stop to visit THE David.

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There are 2 top galleries/museums in Florence and we chose to visit Galleri Dell’Accedemia (the Gallery of the Academy) over the more popular Uffizi so we could see David. I am so happy with that choice! Unfortunately there’s no photography inside the gallery so I can’t show you, but a picture can’t really do it justice. I went back to David about 5 times in between the rest of the gallery (and was upset when I realised we’d accidentally exited without one last look). The other highlights include some other Michelangelo sculptures that were never finished and a music themed section hidden away with some very old instruments and musically themed paintings.

Our last stop was at the Basilica of Santa Croce to visit Michelangelo’s tomb (not far from where he was born). It was a beautiful basilica.

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Michelangelo’s tomb

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Ponte Vecchio, Piazza Vecchio and Piazza della Signoria – Rome/Florence – Day 35

We caught the high speed train from Rome to Florence. It was so quick and less stressful than flying (you could probably arrive at the station 5 min before your train and still make it). I loved watching the countryside go by, lots of beautiful sights. I wish I could take proper photos from the train!

We arrived in Florence and were shown into our apartment with no problems. Our building is pretty old (like basically every building in Italy) and has a tiny elevator which requires you to manually open and close 2 sets of doors, has a 3 person maximum and makes a terrifying sound every time it ‘locks’ and leaves or arrives at a floor. An experiment proves that if you open the inside set of doors while in motion it stops between floors and waits for you to stop being silly.

We love this apartment! The location is perfect. We decided to go for a wander after we got settled and discovered the famous Ponte Vecchio (a very old bridge that has goldsmiths along it now) is basically at the end of our street. We followed the street along and saw lots of shops and stalls around. I want to photograph nearly every street we see in Florence, they are all so beautiful and interesting. My 50mm lens finally got a chance to see some light on this trip (and reminded me why it’s my favourite – it’s just not suited to shooting big tourist sights in close spaces so it hasn’t made the cut most days)! We stumbled on Palazzo Vecchio (“town hall” of Florence, ‘Old Palace’) and Piazza della Signoria and checked out some famous sculptures including the replica of David, Medici lions and  The Rape of the Sabine Women. We also got some delicious gelati (I got ‘cream’ flavour which was great and tasted a bit like custard) and had dinner at a cute restaurant right next to our apartment building.

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Ponte Vecchio

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Palazzo Vecchio

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Replica of David where the original once stood

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A Medici Lion

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The Rape of the Sabine Women

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Our street