Thursday, August 22, 2013

Europe Trip Travel Blog #5: Florence, Italy

Since we got home from our trip, pretty much everybody has asked me what my favorite place we went was and I have said Florence. Stephen was in Florence once before, in 2006, and he loved it and really wanted to go back with me. And I love it, too!

The first thing we did was visit the Duomo. The Duomo is a cathedral that the Florentine people fund-raised money for and built, and it is just beautiful. 

On the top of the building is a dome (you can see it in the photo above) that people can climb to the top of. We climbed the 500+ steps up a very narrow, low-ceilinged spiral staircase. It was really cramped and claustrophobic and I did not like the climb but when we got to the top it was worth it because the view was amazing.

We could see all of Florence. We climbed a lot of tall buildings in many cities on our trip, but a lot of those cities (Paris especially) were sprawls so you couldn't see all of the city even from a great height, but Florence is surrounded by mountains so it hasn't had much opportunity to expand, and we could see it all. 
The red roofs reminded me of Croatia.
The city was very beautiful and we took lots of photos from the top of the Duomo. We also saw a guy do a headstand on top!

After the Duomo climb, we took a break at our hostel. Our hostel in Florence was probably one of the best hostels we stayed in. It was in a good location. We had a private room with one bed (not two separate beds or two singles pushed together with a crack in the middle like many places we stayed, but a queen-sized bed) with a beautiful canopy, and our room had a private bathroom with shower, and the hostel wasn't too hot or noisy. It was very nice and felt more like a hotel, which was great because we were in Florence for 3 days.

Later that night we went out and rode the tourist bus. We got a 3-day pass that worked for the tourist bus and the normal bus. The tourist bus is a red double-decker bus that is open on the top. You can plug headphones in to an audio guide that gives information about the history of Florence and important buildings and landmarks, and when it's not sharing information it plays lovely instrumental music. Riding the bus was so enjoyable because it was relaxing, an easy way to see the city, and riding on the top was nice and cool because you got a breeze. We got hit in the face with trees a few times but I didn't even mind because we'd just come from Venice where there are no trees or plants, really.

So on the first night, we rode it around and I fell in love with Florence. We passed Piazza Michelangelo and drove over the river during sunset, and it was gorgeous!!!! The sun was bright pink!

On our second day in Florence, we went to the Uffizi art gallery. This is the fake statue of David outside the gallery. 

I liked seeing the Botticelli paintings and all the creepy Renaissance babies (a favorite of mine at any art gallery.)

We didn't do too much the rest of the day but relax and eat, and walk around, and hang out at the Duomo again because it was near where we were.

On our third day, we went to the Museo Galileo, which was really cool. There were lots of globes and maps and telescopes, and it was very interesting.

This is a globe and all the rings around it represent the orbit patterns of different stars and planets that scientists thought orbited Earth. 

cool telescopes.

watches at the Museo Galileo.

After our visit to the museum we rode the tourist bus out of town and up the mountain to the town of Fiesole, across from Florence. We learned that many Florentines and foreigners have vacation homes there and during Roman rule Fiesole fought the power by maintaining their own language and religious beliefs despite being persecuted.

We got to stop in the town for about half an hour. We looked at a church, an outdoor Roman theater that was sadly closed so we couldn't really go in, then we climbed a big hill to a park with a great view of Florence.

We rode the bus around Fiesole and back to Florence. We went to Piazza Michelangelo and took lots of photos and walked around, then we went back into town to go to the Buboli gardens but they cost money to go in (we hadn't realized) so instead we went to a nice (free) park right next to them.
We went back to the Piazza to eat supper and stayed there until the sun went down, walking around, listening to street performers, and taking tons and tons of beautiful Florence sunset photos. Here are a couple of many.

pink sun!

There is another fake David statue in the Piazza.

I looooved Florence. Even though we had three whole days there, I would love to go back, not because I feel like we missed anything, but just because it is so beautiful and I just lvoe the atmosphere. The people are so nice and friendly and relaxed, it is touristy but because it is bigger it didn't feel overcrowded (like Venice, where we'd just been.) The food was good and well-priced, and I'm sure there are lots more things to do that we didn't even get a chance to do. For example, I would like to check out the National Library which we only got to see from the outside.

I loved loved loved it, and would highly recommend it to anybody.

Check out my other Europe Trip Travel Blogs:

and my packing tutorial


  1. Hi! May I know where did you take your photo of the sunset with the bridges (third photo from the bottom)? It looks so beautiful!

    1. Piazza Michelangelo, Florence, Italy.

      Thank you!

  2. Hey there! May i know which hostel you stayed in at Florence? Am planning a trip to Europe and i'm so glad to chance upon your blog! :)

    1. Hi Debbie, we stayed at Tourist House Liberty and it was lovely. Enjoy Florence! It's one of my favorite places. Let me know if you have any other questions before your trip, I'd be happy to help.