Before going to Florence, I had heard numerous people praise it’s beauty and culture. Many stated that it was their favorite city in Italy! After two days there, I can certainly see it’s appeal, but I wasn’t as blown away as I was expecting. I guess I had just set my expectations too high.
I did make a rookie mistake and tried to get into the cathedrals with a tank top and shorts. This is NOT allowed. I had to buy a scarf from a nearby vendor and purchase a paper dress from the visitor store at the cathedral. It ended up making a rather nice outfit, but I could have avoided this inconvenience.
We also found a piece of Ohio in Florence. It appears that there is a branch of Kent State University right in the center of the city!
Things we enjoyed:
- Climbing to the top of the Duomo – There were a lot of stairs to climb, but we made it to the top of this beautiful cathedral. If you are able to, I definitely recommend climbing to the top. It was a little unorganized unfortunately. When we were near the top, the up and down stairs are the same and there is not really enough room for two people to pass each other. After climbing to the top on a 90 degree day, this was a little bit annoying.
- Opera di Firenze – The opera house was quite a ways outside of the city center, but I really enjoyed getting to see a different neighborhood. The opera house was very new and modern. It was a rather impressive facility in a lovely park. We saw a modern adaptation of The Barber of Seville by Rossini. It was an odd mixture of classical and modern elements in the staging, costumes, and sets.
- Michelangelo’s David – We waited in line for about 4 hours in the 90 degree heat and sun. I would definitely recommend buying your ticket in advance! It was worth the time to see. I hadn’t realized how large the statue was! I was surprised that the museum itself wasn’t larger, but there was plenty of great art to see.
Where we stayed:
- Airbnb Florentia Santa Croce house – My mom and I loved this two bedroom apartment. It wasn’t incredibly fancy, but had a fantastic location. It was about a five minute walk to the Duomo and to many of the other main attractions in the city. The host communicated quickly with us and provided great recommendations while we were in the city. It was very reasonably priced as well. Definitely check it out if you are in Florence.
What we ate:
- Le Vespa Cafe – There are Vespa’s everywhere throughout the city. It seems only appropriate that there is a cafe with that name. We had a very filling breakfast here. Also, to our delight, they had frappuccinos for the summer. It had been so hot that we were dying to have very cold drinks.
- Ditta Artiginale – I was so excited to find this coffee shop. We got this recommendation and many others from the Girl in Florence blog which I highly suggest reviewing before visiting the city. They really knew their coffee here. We had a fantastic iced latte and cold brew citrus coffee.
- New’s Cafe – Even though this is right in the middle of a very touristy area, it is completely hidden and not crowded. The staff was very excited to share their cappuccino art with us.
- Gelato Perché no! – Thanks to a recommendation from a friend, we tried this gelato spot. It was fantastic! Definitely recommended.
Florence was a great stop on our quick trip around Italy. I definitely hope to go back and visit some day, perhaps out of peak tourist season though.
Visiting Eaton’s Locations in Italy
Milan and the 2015 Expo