Being myself Italian, there are lots of things I can’t enjoy as much as a foreigner in Florence. However, the mouthwatering walks early in the morning when the buttery croissant pastry is still in baking mode is one of the first things that can always hit me – as if instead of being Sicilian, I was a Japanese carrying the latest technology. For this reason, on your first morning, before the Uffizi and anything else, I hope you will pass by a bar and let the warm flavour catch your senses right away. Step inside a tempting bar and ask for un cornetto e un cappuccio (a croissant and a cappuccino). Enjoy the view of rushing, gesticulating Italians consuming their breakfast standing in just a couple of minutes.
I spent just a couple of days straight after New Year’s Eve, and it was freezing. I had initially planned to do the touristic things, like visiting the Medici families locations and the Uffizi gallery. But Florence is one of the fattest compositions of art I’ve ever toured – not that you need to love art to appreciate this sweet corner of Italy. However, I wasn’t expecting all this beauty and amount of art. I ended up loving so much strolling the cobblestones roads, do people watching while writing my notebooks inside busy cafès, that I opted with the best option a solo traveller has. Wandering with no plans, doing just what the heck I want.
The following are some of my favourite shots, divided per theme. A reminder that travels don’t have to involve money or a list to tick all the times. As a matter of fact, I only spent money on food and transportation from/to the airport. The only two museums I covered will come soon on a separate article and no, they aren’t what you expect 🙂
If beauty is in the eye of the observer, we need just to be aware of what’s going on around to catch little wonders.
They were a bit too crowded for me. It might have been the ongoing Christmas time. Being an early bird or a night owl can certainly help to avoid the river of people. Due to the freezing weather, it wasn’t my case.
All is revolving around the Arno, the main Italian river (second only to the Tevere in Rome).
Renaissance heritage bits
Especially during the Renaissance, Florence became the most important city in Italy and Europe in terms of art and intellectual development. The Medici family played a huge role in this. Their commitment to its growth had certainly no antagonists, especially under Lorenzo de Medici. A very ambitious man and poet – with an interesting point of view on pleasure. He discovered Michelangelo and was the protector of Verrocchio, Leonardo Da Vinci’s master.
Palazzo Vecchio used to host citizens’ assembly already from the Middle Age. Today is visitable only in part, and it’s the city council’s house.
Piazza della Signoria is the most important square. An open air museum…
(obviously, there’s much more…)
You can walk the most essential sites using the below itinerary and my Florence city centre map
1- Santa Maria Novella (#4 on my map)
2 – Basilica di S. Lorenzo (#2 on my map)
3 – Cattedrale di S.M. del Fiore (#1 on my map)
4 – Palazzo della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio (#12 on my map)
5- Uffizi gallery
6 – Ponte vecchio (#13 on my map)
7 – Pitti Palace (#15 on my map)
*For my stay, I chose Hostel Santa Monica
*If you are hungry and not vegetarian, you should try the panino con il lepradotto
*If you fancy a free walking tour, I recommend La Bussola