Mini-solo jaunt: Firenze

Back in May, my delightful pals got married in Umbria. When they announced the location of their wedding, I was OF COURSE thrilled, because it was yet another excuse to go travelling and explore somewhere new. I decided to have a few days in Florence before heading down to Umbria on the local train (Trenitalia), and reader…it did not disappoint.

Florence and I have a bit of a history. In 2016 I was all booked to go, a few days ahead of the wedding of my other pals, Megs and Ian, who were getting married near Siena, Tuscany. But I only went and got bloody Noro Virus…so those plans went to shit. I prayed that nothing scuppered this trip…and luckily, it was all good…(well, the Florence part was anyway. I’ll come to that later)

For all avoidance of doubt, and in the interests of brevity…Florence and I got on like a god-damn house on fire. She is a STUNNING city and you’d better believe that the first thing I did on arrival was head to Piazza San Marco (St Marks Square) to see the Duomo.

It doesn’t look real, does it? Absolutely mental mate.

My next stop was the Ponte Vecchio – I know, I’m such a #TouristWanker but I DON’T CARE. It’s really similar to the Rialto in Venice – lined with lots of boutiquey shops selling pricey jewellery, and it has some lovely views over the river Arno.

After a mooch around, I head back to my hotel (for the free prosecco they were handing out), got myself freshened up, and then went to meet my pals for dinner (who were also in Florence doing a pre-wedding thang) A point to note – I was staying at the Globus Urban Hotel, and it was perfect. Annoyingly, I didn’t make a note of where we ate that night, but it was super cute. As I left them and walked back to my hotel, I was struck by how still, yet vibrant, Florence is at night.

The next morning, I was up early doors because I wanted to pack in as much as I could before my train at 3pm.

I wandered (quite a long walk in that heat) to the Boboli Gardens. They’d been recommended to me, so I paid my 10euros and prepared myself for a mini hike up the steep hills to capture THIS classic shot:

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There were lots of weird-ass sculptures that I didn’t really like, and some very lovely landscaping..

I spent a good 2 hours or so wandering around, stopping periodically to sit and eat my picnic comprised of food I’d taken from the breakfast buffet (THRIFY!) When I headed out, I had to have a pitstop in the shade with a cold beer to rest my weary legs. I sat opposite the Palazzo Pitti (palace and art gallery) and debated where to go next. I only had a day and a half in this glorious city, and was determined to make the most of it.

Now, I had heard that if you want to see Michaelangelo’s David, you need to a) pay and b) queue for a zillion years to enter the Accademia gallery. I’m no art connoisseur, so I wasn’t prepared to do either of those things, BUT I  had read during my research for this trip that there is a replica of the David up in Piazzale Michaelangelo – this is an area that was built in 1869 by artist Poggi, as a dedication to Michaelangelo – hence, the David replica!

It was a bit of a climb (I was flagging by this point!), but when I got to the top, this view awaited me:

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This photo I had blown up and is currently hanging on the wall in my hallway – because it makes me happy. Oh, and in case you were wondering…here is the David:

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In the piazza itself, there isn’t much there – just a few vendors with carts selling tourist tat (which I love, don’t get me wrong…), but my point is that you’d only go there for the view. And if you’re lazy like me and want to see the David, but can’t be fucked with the real thing.

After this, I went back to my hotel and realised I still had about an hour to spare, so I found the famous Market of San Lorenzo (it was at the end of my road and I hadn’t noticed until the end…doh) and settled myself down in a little bar to rest and reflect.

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I totally get why so many people adore Florence so much. There’s so much to do and to see…and if you’re into renaissance art, (I’m not…) there’s no better place to go. I’d like to go back one day and spend longer there to soak up more of the locals vibe, in the less touristy areas. Thank you Firenze, I’m so glad I made it this time!

(Side note: after this, I successfully got the train to Passignano sul Tresimeno (STUNNING LAKE), had a lovely first day, but then got sunstroke…which turned into Labrynthitis…so I was very ill for the remainder, including the wedding and my god-damn birthday, and had to come home early. Life, eh?)

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