After a rainy couple of days in Siena we were happy to see the sun in beautiful Florence. We took a short train ride into the city and after checking into our B&B we spent a few hours making our way through the masses of tourists and enjoying the windy streets of the old part of the city as well as the warm weather. After accidently paying 8 euro for a gelato (those gelato scoopers can be so sneaky) we tried to find an open restaurant near our B&B, which ended up being a major flop as it was Sunday and apparently Florentine’s don’t eat out or buy groceries on Sunday. Eventually we found some pizza and turned in for the night, getting ready for a big day of sightseeing and line-waiting.
Day two in Florence was a whirlwind of art, architecture, tourists and lines. First we went inside the Duomo (wait time 30 minutes), which is far more interesting from the outside than on the inside, but is free to enter and is intimidatingly large and white. After exiting the huge church we took a few steps next door to the Campanile (bell tower) and climbed the 440 narrow steps up to the top for beautiful views of all of Florence.
Since we seem to LOVE climbing narrow staircases (almost as much as Renaissance church builders seem to love designing and building them) we hopped over to the line for the Duomo dome (wait time 2 hours). The passageway to the top was just as narrow, but was so much more crowded and my minor claustrophobia kicked into high gear. I really hated the climb, but once again the view was worth it we took dozens of pictures.
After a short visit to the Duomo museum (lame) and the Baptistery (ok, but under major renovation) we walked to the famous Ponte Vecchio, passing by the Piazza Signoria and it’s free statue garden. The Ponte Vecchio is a wide bridge, home to countless jewelry vendors selling anything sparkly and expensive.
From Ponte Vecchio we meandered up and out of the cities walls to Piazzale Michelangelo, where you can see sweeping views of the entire city. Our final stop on our tour of Florence was a little rose garden near Piazzale Michelangelo where we enjoyed sunshine, a bottle of wine, strawberries, popcorn (duh), while we read and enjoyed a view of the city.
The next day we were headed to the smaller Tuscan town of Lucca to round out our time in Tuscany. Before catching the train we visited the Medici Chapel, which was covered in stonework and was amazingly opulent for a chapel owned by a single family. We unfortunately could not take any pictures, but here is I found on Google to give an idea of the amazing stonework.
We spent one day in Lucca, walking the ancient stone wall that encircles old town and admiring the towers sprinkled throughout the city. It was a nice, laid-back day. Goodbye Tuscany! See you next time!