It was September 2012 when I first visited the magical city of Florence, Italy and instantly fell in love with it.
Everything about this city just swept me off my feet! The buildings, the streets, and the people blend together in the most welcoming feeling that I’ve felt in years.
My first observation about this city was that it is pedestrian friendly. For the few days I spent there, I didn’t even have the need to take any public transportation or a car to go around. The city is not small, but it is such a pleasure to walk around and discover its gems around every corner.
Whenever I travel, I usually start with the city center and take it from there. There is no doubt that Florence has some amazing churches, beautiful museums and breathtaking landscapes that are worth the trouble of walking around for days.
As inconvenient as it may sound, but I suggest waking up early and start the adventure.
Cattedrale DI Santa Maria Del Fiore (Florence Cathedral)
The Cattedrale DI Santa Maria del Fiore is in the heart of Florence and is considered the main church in the city. Its marble facade which is a mix of green and pink with white borders is a masterpiece.
If you don’t mind climbing hundreds of stairs and move in a narrow path, I would highly recommend you go to the top of the Dome. I won’t lie, it’s not easy, especially if your relationship to physical activities are limited like mine. The stairs are narrow and high, and at some points, it is used in both ways (up & down) and you might have to stop or even go down a bit to let others pass. But once you get to the top, you’ll understand why it’s worth it!
The dome provides a 360 view of Florence from the highest spot in the city, trust me when I say it’s breathtaking!
Also, don’t miss the looking at the dome’s ceiling while going up. The drawing which is called Fresco which represents the Last Judgement
Your next attraction should be the one and only “Uffizi Gallery”. Even if you’re not a big fan of art, the gallery itself is amazing. Taking into consideration, it was built in the 1500s, it’s very well preserved and its walls reflect the history behind it. Some might say it’s a maze of its connected rooms and wide halls. The gallery hosts some of the world’s masterpieces from Leonardo DA Vinci, Sandro Botticelli, Raphael, Michelangelo and many others. Just make sure to book your tickets in advance as the queues are quite long and tickets are limited. You should also check out The Statue of David in the Accademia Gallery. It will surely blow your mind.
San Lorenzo Market
Here’s a tip for shopping lovers. If you’d like to buy some nice leather bags or wallets, don’t let Piazza Della Republica be your first option. Even though it’s a very rich market and you can find everything you dream of from a variety of top-notch leather products, you can find the exact same products and more at the San Lorenzo market, which is close to the Accademia. And remember, you can always negotiate the prices. The more you go deeper into the market, the prices will be cheaper.
Now crossing the Arno river, Piazzale Michelangelo is another spot for a magnificent view of the city. It is a pretty exhausting and plenty of stairs, so be ready for some cardio 🙂 The Piazzale is a square with a panoramic view of Florence, and it’s a historical site that the architect Giuseppe Poggi intended as a showcase for the masterpieces (at least copies) of Michelangelo. There you will find a group of bronze statue replicas, such as David, and it gives you the opportunity to take amazing photos.
Basilica DI Santa Croce DI Firenze, Ponte Vecchio, Basilica di San Lorenzo and Palazzo Pitti should also be on your list, as these are considered amongst the main attractions of the city, but while at it, just enjoy the streets of the city. Indulge in some delicious Italian coffee at random cafes, try the mouthwatering Tiramisu with vanilla ice cream in the filling and finger-licking pizza.
Have you been to this magical city? Share your stories below