My family’s summer trip to Florence. Photos, stories, and bucket list successes
Instead of staying in a hotel within the city, my family opted to reside in a hotel in Tuscany, on a hill overlooking the city.
Our room felt old, with large sliding glass doors that looked out on a small field of yellow grass and olive trees.
The grounds were beautiful, surrounded by flowers and trees that cast down well-needed shade.
Ironically, even though we escaped the noisy streets of the city by residing out in the countryside, the grounds were far from being considered quiet. A constant cacophony of cicadas thrummed away in the Italian summer sun. They were loud, and chirped nonstop until late in the night. I actually liked it, as it added to the overall country soundtrack, but I do wish they would have turned down the volume. Sometimes it was hard to hear each other talk. Luckily, we could drown out (most of) the noise by closing our windows at night.
This hotel also had an added bonus that our previous Italian stays had been lacking: a pool!
Behind the olive trees, you could also see more of the beautiful view of Firenze.
The pool was surrounded by these gorgeous olive trees, as well as plenty of spots to lounge. There was even a small snack bar where you could purchase refreshing drinks, and I sipped on an Italian lemon fizzy soda.
One of the best parts of staying here, besides the location, was the hotel’s restaurant. We were seated outside, the sun slowly set and the city lights began to come on one by one.
The kitchen staff brought out dishes for us to try, and the food was arranged artfully. Unfortunately, all the pictures I could find of the food were blurry, so please enjoy the sunset instead.
During one of our days in Florence, we also got to ride bikes through the Tuscan hills, and we visited wineries along the way. Go here for the extended story.
I greatly enjoyed Florence. We spent a lot of time walking through the streets and gardens, taking in everything we could.
Carriage drivers offered tourists the chance to experience the city by horse-drawn carriage, and I loved seeing the horses add a charismatic element to the city.
Florence is full of shade-cast alleyways and castle-like architecture, making it the perfect city to explore.
We also got to see some famous landmarks, including Ponte Veccino, Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (pictured below), The Accademia Gallery, Piazza della Signoria, and the most striking of all, Piazza del Duomo.
The Florence Cathedral’s dome (Duomo) can be spotted from almost anywhere in the city, and because of this, Florence has one of my favorite skylines.
We spent a good deal of time eating Gelato in the Piazza del Duomo, watching pigeons and pedestrians alike.
The golden doors of the Duomo (yes! real gold!) were absolutely stunning.
We also visited Piazza della Signoria, which has a myriad of life-size statue replicas (it’s illegal to photograph the real statues, so these ones are meant for tourists to photograph).
Since these weren’t real statues, tourists could climb all around them and take as many ridiculous pictures as they wanted.
We also went in to see the real statues, of course. The Accademia was amongst the smaller museums that I have seen, but it’s contents are worthy of boasting. Unlike the puny piece of artwork Mona Lisa that I was unimpressed with, The Statue of David was worthy of all its praise. Although you could argue that yes, the hands were a bit disproportional, the immense size and miniscule detail in the statue were awe-inspiring. We spent a good amount of time just staring at the marble marvel.
I took a picture with the most ridiculously animated street performer.
After a long day of walking, we were so exhausted that none of us wanted to deal with hunting for a restaurant, so we just plopped ourselves down at a restaurant in the Piazza. The views were great, as we could see the entire square, statues and all. However, the scent of sewage was prominent throughout the piazza, and the waiters at this restaurant were rude.
All of the monuments were breathtaking, but to me, the best part of visiting a famous city is just strolling through the streets.
We went into shops, walked through parks, and even stopped by Scuola del Cuio, the Firenze School of Leather, where we got to peek in at the students’ work.
Overall, I absolutely adored Firenze. If you had to make me choose between Florence and Rome, I would have a very tough time deciding, and the only reason that Rome wins out is that it has a few more bucket list destinations.