We weren’t going to come to Florence. The plan was always to head straight from Rome to Venice, however the advantage of having no set itinerary is that we can make it up as we go along.
The train from Rome to Florence was a joy; it’s great not to have to bother with airport security and we were door to door within a couple of hours, we (again) seemed to score the best room at our hotel, probably down to the bump, and we were given advice from the bubbly receptionist about what to do in Florence.
Depending on what your interests are, you could probably spend a couple of weeks in Florence alone. It’s the home of Michaelangelo, Rafael and probably some other turtles; some naked bloke called David lives here; there are day trips to many surrounding areas such as Pisa to be had and it is the place where esteemed artist (and our next door neighbour) Harold Riley spent some time studying.
We’ve tried culture, honestly, however standing in a queue for a couple of hours just to see a statue isn’t something that appeals. It’s the sort of thing we’d do just to be able to say we had done it, and that’s when you start to become a bit of a twat. That being said, if the works of Michaelangelo (etc) appeal to you then Florence is somewhere you should definitely go and soak it all up.
So, for us, a couple of days was enough. Florence is simply a gorgeous city ideally suited to taking a deep breath after being in the capital and the first thing we did was to take the bus up to Piazzia Michaelangelo for a breathtaking panoramic view of the city at sunset. This Piazzia is adjacent to the artist’s house and attracts hundreds of visitors for the setting of the sun every day. Look one way and you have a five-star view, look the the and the greasy Italians selling all kinds of tat are apparent to cater for the masses.
Our only full day was spent taking in the major attractions of the city, many of which are visible from the picture. You can find relative solitude in Florence in cafes just off the beaten track, however around the highlights you are generally tripping over middle aged Americans who think they’re Italian and have bought the atrocious tracksuit to prove it. It’s like Goodfellas at times.
Food is going to play a major role in many of these blog posts. Tuscan cuisine was something I was looking forward to about this trip and was a factor in deciding whether to come to Florence. It didn’t disappoint, the highlight was a family run restaurant where we got three courses, Chianti & espresso for €16 a head. They don’t bother with menus and by the time we left there was a sizeable queue of locals waiting to get in.
There might be a lot of stuff here I don’t appreciate, but there’s plenty for oafs like me to get along with very well.