My wife and I visited Florence this summer. Although it was not originally planned as part of our trip to Switzerland, I scheduled a three day stop because it’s my wife’s favorite city to visit. Florence has lots of character and is a walkable city. We stayed steps away from El Duomo, a magnificent church, however it does not compare to El Duomo in Milan. It’s an incredibly long wait to enter the church. We stopped at our favorite pizzeria Gusta Pizza. I am a bit of a pizza snob having lived in New York and this pizza certainly can go head to head with my favorite Brooklyn pizzeria especially with that crust.
We met two young ladies that were studying art in Florence for the summer. They go to class from 9 am – 12:30 pm and have the rest of the day to explore. I wish I would have come up with that idea in my early 20s. Who knew?
The Highlights of Florence
The major highlights of the trip are the art work and the food. Michelangelo’s David is truly remarkable. When you look at David from one side, you see someone young and innocent; from another angle you see a very serious, confident powerful man. How Michelangelo was able to capture two sides of his personality within this sculpture has fascinated me since the first time I saw it on my honeymoon.
My first trip to Florence was a major influence on my love of art. All I have to say is David is mesmerizing. We stopped at the Uffizi gallery next which is my wife’s favorite museum in Europe. It has masterpieces from Botticelli, Michelangelo, Raphael and many more. Sometimes aspiring artists come to paint and be inspired in the various museums throughout Florence.
Tip: Reserve your Uffizi tickets online. It could possibly save you an hour or more waiting in lines, depending on the time of year you go.
The Best Ways to Explore Florence
There are walking tours you can do on your own to have a sense of the history, art and all that Florence has to offer. I recommend the Rick Steve’s audio tour you can download on your smart phone. If you are feeling adventurous and have lots of energy, consider walking to Michelangelo’s Point. It offers a breathtaking view of the city and is a hidden gem. My wife says it’s romantic. I’ll have to take her word for it. We met a nice couple that had just gotten engaged right on top of the point. I guess that makes my wife right.
We made reservations well in advance at Vini e Vecchi Sapori. It’s our favorite restaurant in Italy. They have photos on their wall of a number of celebrities that have dined there. It’s a small place, reasonably priced and has the freshest ingredients. The pasta is homemade of course and melts in your mouth. A simple salad with zucchini, pecorino romano, some spices and homemade dressing was outstanding. My wife wanted to share the raspberry tiramisu but believe me, that’s something you should never share. If you look at the reviews for this charming restaurant tucked away and a little tricky to find, you will see rave reviews for their tiramisu and pretty much everything else.
Florence is a little over an hour from Tuscany which is worth a day trip at the very least. Whether you enjoy art, architecture, history, breathtaking views, or amazing Italian food, Florence is a must see. This compact city rich in sights and experiences is one I believe everyone should visits at least once in their life.