Florence, birthplace of the Renaissance. My favorite city stop of our trip. Walking through Florence, you can just feel the history of the city. It was the epicenter of so much cultural and political change that shaped a good portion of our world. Centered in the heart of Tuscany, it is surrounded by rolling hills of vineyards and olive farms. Little big farmhouses and castles scatter the landscape in the area outside of Florence and it is just so quintessentially Italian.
We stayed at Podere San Filippo outside of Florence in the village Tavernelle Val di Pesa. It was a very beautiful old farmhouse that had been restored into a handful of apartments for vacationers. Our apartment was two bedroom and well equipped with beautiful bathrooms, a kitchenette and back patio. It was ample space for my boyfriend and me, but we secured the reservation through a fortunate opportunity. The land surrounding was amazing. Vineyards and olive farms abound in this area. The property also had several hiking trails, and village center was a reasonable walk away. We loved our time there and got to feel a true Italian experience staying that far out of a metropolitan region. However, I admit getting around was a bit of a headache. The small village really only had one taxi, and boy did you pay for it. I would suggest for foreign travelers that want to see Tuscany but also spend a fair amount of time in Florence or the surrounding cities and towns, to stay in the city.
City squares abound in Florence with cafes, restaurants and wine shops. We went into Florence one day and did a Vespa Tour of Tuscany (more on that in another post) and a second day of doing an independent walking tour of all the noted tourist sites in the city.
Must dos for the views:
- Climb to the top of the Duomo and the Duomo Bell Tower. The view from the top of the Duomo was amazing and my overactive imagination likes to think about what sort of deals gone bad and secret plans made by the Medici family and Popes of centuries past.
- Walk up to the Piazza Michelangelo to essentially see all of Florence with the Duomo in the skyline.
Additionally, we went to La Accademia to see The David IRL. Totally worth it. We bought tickets for Uffizi Gallery to walk through an art museum, but if I’m being totally honest, Renaissance art really isn’t my thing, and I convinced my boyfriend to spend our time elsewhere to really absorb more of the current Florence culture, aka at a restaurant with a bottle of wine.