“Among the four old bridges that span the river, the Ponte Vecchio, that bridge which is covered with the shops of Jewellers and Goldsmiths, is a most enchanting feature in the scene. The space of one house, in the centre, being left open, the view beyond, is shown as in a frame; and that precious glimpse of sky, and water, and rich buildings, shining so quietly among the huddled roofs and gables on the bridge, is exquisite”. Charles Dickens, 1846
Charles Dickens said it all, really. I wish I can write a vivid and beautiful description of the city. Sure, it felt nice to walk along the streets of Florence . The ‘old world vibe’ is everywhere. There’s something delightful in knowing that early Florentians ambled on the same cobblestone pavements centuries ago; who knows what kind of tragedy or victory transpired on those streets.
From Venice, we took the high speed train to Florence. Frecciarossa high–speed trains, reach a maximum speed of 250km/h and 300km/h respectively. After two hours, we were at Santa Maria Novella Train Station which was a mile away from our Bed and Breakfast, Palazzo Graziani.
This is a view of the Duomo from the rooftop of our Bed & Breakfast.
I love the wood beams inside our B&B. That afternoon light from the outside passing through the door and highlighting the dining area is lovely.
For dinner, we checked out this restaurant, Boccanegra for our first bistecca alla Fiorentina.
First on the list for the next day was the Uffizi Gallery, we did not have any tickets, so we wanted to queue up early for a chance to see the museum. On our way to the Uffizi Gallery, we walked from our B&B to see Ponte Vecchio.
We lucked on getting tickets early to check the Uffizi ,which displayed beautiful artworks of great artists like Michelangelo, Botticelli, Da Vinci, Caravaggio, Titian, etc.
After admiring the beautiful artworks at the Uffizi, we had brunch at this neat breakfast place which was recommended by my sister in law Claudette, the Cantineta dei Verrazzano. Of course, I ordered two cups of cappuccino, I only learned about the Italian’s preference for cappuccino as a ‘morning only’ coffee during my initial research about Italy while planning for the trip.
Next stop was Pisa, I’m amazed that we were able to squeeze Pisa in this visit. We did not linger in Pisa since it was very hot and crowded; but we can’t NOT visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It was great to see such famous architecture, and we could not help but do the obligatory touristy poses.
After Pisa, we had a little nap at our B&B to recover from the heat . We walked again to Piazzale Michelangelo and waited for the sunset. It was a great place to just people -watch and wait for the sun to go down. It was beautiful. I loved seeing the Duomo, the Ponte Vecchio , the Arno River transformed by the different colors of the setting sun .
On our way back to our B&B, we tried the pizza at I’Pizzacchiere. It was too good, I forgot what we ate, something with mushroom, prosciutto and cheese, of course!
Next day, we visited the Basilica di Santa Croce. It is less illustrious than the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, but it boasts of being the burial place of a few famous Italians like Michelangelo, Galileo and Macchiaveli.
We spent an extra day in Florence on our way to the Chianti region since we missed the pickup time for our car rental.We explored Florence again where we actually enjoyed it since we didn’t have an itinerary, We haggled with a Bangladeshi vendor selling “firenze” leather goods; had dinner at the Mercato Centrale and enjoyed another round of pistachio gelato from Grom .