A Day in Florence
Italy is a favourite destination of most travellers and once smitten we want to return again and again. It really is one special place that everyone must visit at least once in their lifetime. Florence is like many places in Italy, totally enchanting. This city instantly captures all your senses with its beauty, abundant history, culture and art.
There is so much to see that one day really isn’t sufficient. When we planned our three months drive holiday in Europe, we only thought to drive through for a day visit. If we had been smarter, we would have booked at least 3 days or longer to include day trips to nearby Tuscany and Cinque Terre.
So with only one day to absorb the treasures of Florence, we walked the city and saw as much as possible starting with the magnificent Duomo and surrounding Piazzas. This outstanding Cathedral is so eye-catching that you might feel a little faint at the sight of such beauty!
The assault on your senses doesn’t stop there. You must wander the Piazzas and seek out the Michaelangelo Sculptures in the Piazza della Signoria. Here you will be seduced by the famous Sculpture of David outside the Palazzo Vecchio.
The beauty continues inside the Palazzo Vecchio. Embrace the history that is surrounds you in the Courtyards. Take in the marvellous sculptures and frescos. The Porphyry Fountain by Battista del Tadda is lovely and the original is on display on the second floor of the Palace. Take your time to really look closely at the magnificent frescos.
The frescoes on the walls are of the cities of the Austrian Habsburg monarchy, painted in 1565 by Giorgio Vasari for the wedding celebration of Francesco I de’ Medici, the eldest son of Cosimo I de’ Medici, to Archduchess Johanna of Austria, sister of the Emperor Maximilian II. Amongst the cities depicted are Graz, Innsbruck, Linz, Vienna, Hall in Tirol, Freiburg im Breisgau and Konstanz. (Wikipedia).
Please note that much of central Florence is a restricted traffic area: between 7.30am and 7.30pm. On weekdays it’s only open to permit holders. So it is just as well it is easily walkable. There is so much to see and do. We also crossed the famous Ponte Vecchio over the Arno River. This medieval bridge is full of Jewellers. Once upon a time, the bridge was only a place for butchers and tanneries. The stench of the refuse thrown into the river was so overpowering that In 1565 the Duke Cosimo issued a Decree banishing them all from the bridge. It was then that gold merchants took over. So if you want to buy some florentine gold, here is the place.
image credit: By User:Nikater – Own work by Nikater, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia
The bridge is quite a site and if you look above the walkway, you can see the top level where centuries ago a secret covered passageway was built.
If you want to see more of Florence check out this video I found on the net.
Another must-see is the historical pharmaceutical workshop of Santa Maria Novella located at De Vella Scala 16 in Florence. The Officina Profumo Farmaceutica It is located inside part of the convent complex of the Santa Maria Novella. This museum/shop dates back to as early as the 13th century. It is considered the oldest pharmacy in Europe. The interior is filled with antiques from many different eras and also some of the original instruments used back then. Though it is considered more like a museum, it is still an amazing shop to visit that sells perfumery and herbal medicines. You will need an hour or two to take it all in.
**Florence travel tips:
- Plan ahead, at least three days accommodation, book close by so you can walk and buy a Firenze Pass.
- If not driving, (remember you can’t drive or park in central Florence). Fly to Florence Airport or by rail, then a bus. (ataf.net)
- Firenze Pass A Firenze card is the official museum pass of the City of Florence. The card costs 85€, this pass is valid for 72 hours starting from the first entrance you make. See all the museums of the Circuit, there is up to 76 museums and historical monuments. Adding only 7€ it is possible to purchase the Firenzecard+ that allows access to the city’s public transport and other discounts. You can pay online and have it emailed to you and enter the voucher number into the phone app or collect the card from a collection point once you arrive. Check out the site for more details.
- If you have a few days you can take a day trip to Tuscany This could include Siena, San Gimignano, Pisa and Chianti winery lunch or a tour to Cinque Terre.
Coquinarius is near the Duomo, its hidden down a cobbled side street and a lovely wine bar and restaurant.
Address: via delle oche 11 R, 50122 Florence
Da Ruggero is an authentic small trattoria a bit out of the main Florence area, cheap and great pasta.
Address: Via Senese 89r, 50124, Florence. Phone: 00 39 055 220542
After Florence, we drove to the Ferrari Museum in Maranello for an eyeful of sexy cars then onto the Leaning Tower of Pisa.