Fascinated in Florence


Duomo in Florence is fascinating

Florence is a fascinating city that has a large city look and feel, except that all the buildings are ancient! I love this. Also, there are ancient and magnificent statues everywhere. The architecture and cathedrals are indescribable. We grew to love Florence more and more the longer we were there. We had a little challenge and a little ‘trouble’ trying to find our hotel initially. Google maps is a little off. While searching out the exact location of the hotel, we were targeted and harassed somewhat by this guy trying to unload something on us. We finally shook him and found our hotel overlooking Santa Novella Square (I’m thinking some rooms did. Ours actually overlooked a small courtyard and pool at the back.) As soon as we checked in, the lady at the reception gave us a map and highlighted the must see attractions for us. So helpful!

So we set out exploring. Before we could get across the Santa Novella Square, here came ‘trouble’ again. Same guy! This time he got right in between us and carved Big Dog away from me trying to harass him, still up to no good! I was furious. Yelling at him to stop, we ditched him again. I wanted to go see as much of Florence as possible and not deal with tourist preying criminals. That would be later, as I was Pickpocketed in Paris. Ugh!

Back to how fascinating Florence is! The Duomo Cathedral is massive. There is no way to get it all in one picture. It’s incredible with all of it’s green, white and pink marble. The squares are amazing, especially Piazza della Signoria with all of the statues. There is a copy of The David Statue here in the place where the original 17 foot statue stood for over 300 years. The larger than life original is now, out of the weather, inside the Accademia Gallery. The market went on and on with all of the vendors selling scarves, leather purses, jackets, etc. There is a giant palace and garden over the river that once was the royal family residence. Rich and significant history everywhere you turn! We walked around for several hours, hitting most of the attractions that make Florence so fascinating on our pink highlighted map. I was surprised at how many scooters were in the city. I guess they are great for the narrow streets and it’s a big city to walk everywhere. We stumbled on Eataly as we were sightseeing. We love Eataly in NYC and have eaten there several times. After hitting as much as we could for the evening, we intentionally wound back around to have a very  nice dinner at Eataly. It did not disappoint! It’s different than the local Italian cuisine, but we knew about what to expect. Still yummy.

After dinner we headed back to the hotel, but not before stopping for some incredible, dark chocolate gelato! This is where my gelato addiction started. Haha Definitely ready to crash at hotel now. We’ve walked over 25,000 steps today!

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The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel, happened to be included with our room. I can’t get enough of these huge croissants. Sometimes they are sprinkled with powdered sugar and sometimes plain, but those make for wonderful breakfast sandwiches with of the meats and cheeses that are offered with them. Next up, we hadn’t done laundry since starting our Backpacking Through Europe Adventure: 9 countries, 14 days, so we took advantage of a nearby laundromat. It was only a block or so from our hotel and we were proud of ourselves for figuring out the process of euros to tokens, detergent vending machine, and the washers & dryers themselves. It’s not like everything was in English and familiar. But, after about an hour or so, viola! Clean laundry! Ready to experience more of Florence.

We finished up all of the major sites marked on our map, tangled with ‘trouble’-different guy-one more time, unfortunately missed lunch, but got tickets and on a train Popping over to Pisa within about 10 minutes. What?! That was cutting that no refundable ticket close! Haha


Duomo – This Cathedral is another one of those massive and amazing sites that just overwhelms you. It’s very cool to be walking along the narrow streets with all of the tall buildings, like most large cities, and then bam, the street opens up to a cathedral, palace or square. This incredible structure is constructed with an incomprehensible amount of marble in mostly white and green, but also pink. You can take the 463 steep narrow steps to the top of the cupola for views and, I’m sure, quite the experience.

Michelangelo’s David is a must see. There is a copy in Piazza della Signoria, in front of the Palazzo Vecchio, where the original was located for centuries. It’s pretty awesome itself. But, there is nothing like the real deal. It’s huge. We did a last minute Get Your Guide Tour of Accademia Gallery of Florence to mainly see the David Statue, although there is so much more in this museum, including a Stradivari violin. Our guide was great and led us through the museum trying to impart a portion of her vast knowledge to us about the exhibits along the way. It’s more than I can retain!

Uffizi Gallery Museum – We did not have time to take in this museum, although there is much to see outside! There is a walkway through a courtyard that we took from Piazza della Signoria to head over the river. There are famous artist’s statues featured in columns as you walk thru here.

Pitti Palace and Baboli Gardens – It contains several museums now, but it was the primary residence of the grand ducal family previously. It has an interesting history. It also has beautiful gardens on the grounds behind. We got a peak, but they were closing the gates for the day, shortly after we arrived.

Big Dog’s Review: Next stop Florence. We arrived afternoon in Florence and began our adventure immediately. After locating our hotel which was an adventure itself (google maps is not always accurate) we hit the ground running. So many wonderful architectural masterpieces here. Building after building was awesome.

Wrap Up: Since we are moving quickly and just hitting the high points, I feel like we covered an awful lot of territory in just around 24 hours in Florence. It truly is a special and fascinating place. So glad we included this stop.

46 thoughts on “Fascinated in Florence”

  1. I have to agree, Florence is a fascinating city! The Duomo is magical. We climbed the 463 super narrow steps up over the top of the bell tower and those stairs are crazy! But, the view from the top is so worth it. I cried seeing the Michelangelo. Absolutely stunning! Love, love, love Florence! Your post was great – it brought me back there!!

    1. What an experience you had!! You really made the most of your visit. Would like to see that view. Glad you enjoyed the post!

  2. I loved Florence! We spent about 24 hours there too. Seeing the David statue was a highlight! Sorry you ran into troublesome sorts! No one has time for that!

  3. The detail in these photos are breathtaking – can’t imaging my reaction to them in person!

  4. What an awesome adventure! I’m sorry you had street-guy troubles. My daughter had similar issues when touring Paris! It really turned her off from ever wanting to return.

  5. Great Pictures! 25,000 steps that is what I love about Europe! We woke up early every day in Florence and ran. It was awesome!

  6. Oh my, I think I’ve been hit by the travel bug! I gotta get to Florence, ha! I feel as if I’ve been there though, by your pictures. Thank you for including these great shots to make your words come alive!

    1. Thank you Charlene for the kind words! So glad you enjoyed the post and you are inspired to travel! That’s why we share!

  7. Florence looks like a city I would have such a great time visiting and not just for the pasta! I love old places and the architecture.

  8. We were supposed to be heading to Florence next week. I am so disappointed that we will have to wait until next year to go. Our Airbnb was in a great location and had a view of the Duomo. Your pictures make me excited to go next year.

  9. I love a travel post with lots of pictures! It really makes you want to visit. I have only been to Eastern Europe (Slovakia, Lithuania, Poland). Florence will definitely be on my travel list.

    1. Great to hear! Yes I like pics and then it’s hard to narrow them down. Haha
      I would love to go to those places in Eastern Europe, haven’t been to any of those!

  10. We went to Mass at the Duomo, ended up with a priest from Michigan – ha! Love Florence.

  11. I’ve never been to Florence, but I’ve heard it’s amazing. These pictures make me feel like I was there!

  12. Florence is one city on our bucket list for when we visit Italy. Thank you for taking me on a virtual tour!

  13. I have always wanted to go to Italy. I LOVE the photos and want to see absolutely everything you mentioned (except maybe laundry).

  14. Florence is one of my favourite places is Italy. Aside from the architecture and art… the food and the wine was incredible!! Thanks for the walk down memory lane!

  15. Your pictures are just beautiful! Florence sounds amazing. Sorry to hear that you ran into some annoying troublemaker.

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