Ah, Florence, home of Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Dante (Alighieri). Is it something in the water that produced these brilliant minds? Looking around this picturesque city and the birthplace of the Renaissance, it’s not hard to find inspiration.
We arrived at the Santa Maria Novella station by a Frecciargento train from Venice, a trip that took just under two hours and cost 16 euros per person — one of the perks of planning ahead. Getting off the train the first thing I noticed was how warm it was, even in October, but then again I do live in England now. I loved being outside without a jacket.
We picked up a Firenze Card each from the Tourist Info Point across the main street from the Santa Maria Novella station. Is it worth it? It gets you entry into the city’s major museums, garden and villas — the best part is skipping the queues — plus it’s good for 72 hours from the first use; so if you plan to visit more than a handful of places, yes, get it. Here’s a breakdown of our itinerary during our 4-day stay here.
- Day 1 (half a day) – Galleria dell’Accademia, Piazza della Signoria
- Day 2 – Cappelle Medicee, Museo Bargello, Basilica di Santa Croce, Galleria degli Uffizi
- Day 3 – Palazzo Pitti, Giardino di Boboli, Palazzo Vecchio
- Day 4 – Mercato Centrale, Basilica di San Lorenzo, Il Duomo, San Miniato al Monte, Piazzale Michelangelo
Part of our mission was to eat as much ice-cream (or gelato as the Italians call it) as we could, up to three servings of three scoops a day. Hey, when in Florence, right? See the list of gelaterias where we pigged out.
Florence is so compact I highly recommend walking. It’s easy to get from one end of the city centre to the other without a vehicle, plus you get to take in the sights and much like Venice, there are plenty of postcard picture moments. However, unlike Venice, you can get from one attraction to another in minutes, and it’s nowhere as confusing as the maze of Venice.
Walking past The Duomo, you can’t help but think, oh Florence, what a challenge it would be to take an unattractive photo of you.
Where we stayed
From SM Novella it was a 10-minute walk to our one-bedroom apartment, located in the most convenient area in Florence on Via dei Tosinghi — just two minutes away from Il Duomo (the Florence cathedral) and down the street from designer label, Miu Miu.