Europe Trip Part 2: Top 5 Places to Visit in Florence, Italy
Updated: Nov 22, 2019
If I were to describe the beauty of Florence in two (2) words, I'd say it is simply breathtaking. Everywhere you look, you'd feel like you are staring at a very beautiful painting.
Right after our adventure in Rome (you may refer to this link for the story), our next stop was Florence, Italy, the home of the very popular Leaning Tower of Pisa! Traveling from Rome to Florence would require you to take a train, and in our case, I booked our trip via Italo Smart Train. The cost of the standard train fare then was 20 EUR per person, which is equivalent to more or less P1,200 pesos. Booking the train ride is very easy. You may visit the ItaliaRail website to check the schedules and fares and to book your ride. You'll receive an email confirmation and a copy of your ticket via email.
It took us an hour and a half before we arrived at our destination. I didn't even bother to sleep because the view outside whilst on the train was very, very captivating! Our trip then was during the summer season so the weather was fairly hot. As soon as we arrived, I felt a little anxious. I didn't expect that Firenze Santa Maria Novella Train Station was that big and full of people! There were a lot of things to see. It was very noisy and as expected, most of the signages were written in Italian. I didn't let my anxiety take over though, because I know I was prepared. As someone who loves to arrange itineraries even to the smallest details, with the help of my Rome2Rio App and together with my big faith, I knew we would never get lost.
Headed to our hotel, the sun was scorching hot as we made our way to the bus station, with our heavy luggage in tow. We stayed at Hostel 7 Santi Viale dei Mille, which we booked through www.booking.com. It was a reasonably good hostel and we got our own bathroom inside our room. Since this was not a hotel, there was no aircon inside the room. But there was a fan and you can open the window for additional breeze. Do you know what's more interesting? I didn't see any flying insects nor any mosquitoes! This really amazed me because if this was in our home country and I Ieave the window widely open at night, I could surely expect that my legs would be full of mosquito bites in just a few minutes. Or I guess my blood is probably just too sweet.
Then we're off to start our itinerary! I will be sharing with you my top five (5) places to visit in Florence. I know there are a lot more beautiful places to spend time in here but I only picked the best ones for me.
5. Ponte Vecchio
It's interesting to note that the structures around Florence somehow all look the same. This prominent bridge over the Arno River is something worth visiting. There are a lot of shops, particularly jewelries, souvenirs and art dealers. Expect though that there will be a lot of people walking to and from as this bridge connects several places.
Good thing I got to take a good photo despite the crowd!
4. Uffizi Gallery
Address: Piazzale degli Uffizi 6, 50122, Florence, Italy
Open Hours: Tuesday to Sunday (8:15 AM - 6:50 PM)
The ticket office closes by 6:05 PM and the museum by 6:35 PM. The gallery is closed during Monday, New Years Day, Christmas and May 1st.
This gallery is very popular in Florence. This is a huge museum with lots of astonishing works of art to admire and most of the collections are from the Italian Renaissance period. Going to the gallery wasn't that difficult because our very handy google maps was always ready to give us the directions.
Take a look at some of the photos I took during our tour:
3. Piazzale Michelangelo
This next popular tourist destination is one of my favorites! After passing by Ponte Vecchio, you may include Piazzale Michelangelo in your go-to list. It is a large square located at a hill in the center of Florence which boasts of a panoramic view of the city. Since this is a hill, it is a real challenge to climb a long flight of stairs.
But as they say, "no pain, no gain." My friend and I were almost close to giving up as our knees and legs were already exhausted while we're almost halfway there and we had a lot of stops in between just to catch our breath. Until we reached the top and we agreed that "it was indeed worth taking!"
Of course I wouldn't miss the chance to take advantage of the background!
2. Piazza Del Duomo
This next tourist attraction is really one for the books! I'm sure you won't miss this cathedral as its dome can be easily seen if you're in the heart of the city.
It looks like a cartoon drawing right? We weren't able to go inside as there's a long line but we were already in awe just seeing this view.
There are even more interesting things to see just beside the Duomo.
1. Leaning Tower of Pisa
And last but definitely not the least, is none other than the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Going to Pisa would require you to ride a train. In our case, I booked our tickets still via the ItaliaRail website. This time, our train was Trenitalia. The difference between Trenitalia and Italo trains is that the former is the national train company that operates within most of the cities in Italy while the latter is a privately owned one.
As soon as we arrived at the Pisa Centrale station, it took us a 20 to 30-minute walk going to the Leaning Tower. You may opt to ride a bus going there, but we chose to walk for us to be able to appreciate the place more.
And once again, we were awestruck as soon as we saw it! The weather though was cloudy when we went and we experienced light rainshower.
So the big question is, why is it leaning? According to Wikipedia, "the leaning tower is the campanile, or freestanding bell tower, of the cathedral of the Italian city of Pisa, known worldwide for its nearly four-degree lean, the result of an unstable foundation. It began to lean during construction in the 12th century, due to soft ground which could not properly support the structure's weight, and it worsened through the completion of construction in the 14th century."
The tower in the above photo doesn't look so inclined so here's a better angle:
The funny thing is that within the vicinity, everyone, yes everyone, is trying to take a good photo by doing the very popular push-the-tower movement; even if it meant doing a death-defying pose such as this -
There's also a church just beside the tower which is equally attractive.
And there you go! It was indeed a worthwhile and memorable trip. One that I will always want to revisit over and over again.
So if you're planning for a trip within Italy, I highly recommend to include Florence (Firenze in Italian) in your itinerary. I'm sure you will never regret it!
Are you interested to book a tour in Florence, Italy? Check out KLOOK through this link.
As for our next stop? It's Venice! Stay tuned for my next post.