Florence Italy is, quite simply, everything. The Capital of the Region of Tuscany, It’s small enough to feel like you can easily get around to see everything but big enough to always supply a surprise around every corner. It’s romantic, it’s beautiful, the light is breathtaking, the food is insanely delicious and the culture is in its DNA. (last month I shared Lisbon with you, in case you missed it)

We planned on spending two weeks in Rome over the holidays with a quick 2 night side trip to Florence. We thought me might go south to Sicily instead, but decided to save that for a longer visit when the weather is warmer. I want to swim if I am going to be in Sicily.

Instead, every two days we admitted we couldn’t leave and we would move to another apartment. In the end, we stayed 6 nights in three neighbourhoods, but could have spent weeks there. It’s amazing how different the food and the vibe are, just a couple hours drive from Rome. I love Rome too (we will get to Rome soon) but Florence is the antithesis of that crazy city. Everyone is laid back and nobody is in a hurry. It’s less messy, it’s more refined, and the Tuscan scenery is achingly beautiful.

Don’t get me started on the Tuscan Cypress Trees

The birthplace of the Renaissance, art is everywhere. Yes, visit the Uffizi to enjoy the work of Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Michelangelo and the rest of the gang. See the David at The Accademia but don’t overlook smaller, niche museums like the Stibbert. Everywhere you look, there is something beautiful to set your sites on. There are towers to climb, picci, truffles and chingale to eat, Chianti to drink and beautiful leather to buy. Make sure to cross the Ponte Vecchio and explore the other side of the river.

Strap on your most comfy walking shoes and fall in love with Florence.

the Duomo as seen from the top of 14th century Gothic Giotto’s Bell Tower. Honestly. At over 400 steps to get to the top, it’s a hike but look at this view.
the Piazza Della Repubblica marks the ancient heart of the city
the famous Medieval Ponte Vecchio once housed the city’s butchers but now contains mostly jewellers on the street level with apartments on the second level. It crosses the Arno River. The only bridge spared during WW2, it joins the piazza della Signoria on one side with the area of Palazzo Pitti and Santo Spirito in the Oltrarno on the other.
We stumbled upon the Sala del Perugino, a former convent and currently a school while wandering aimlessly one day. The door was open but there was nobody inside but this beautiful building was too tempting. I was shocked to see the work of Perugino just there. Like, no fanfare, just this amazing fresco from the mid 1400’s just there. We stood in front of this dome for ages and nobody ever came in. It was magical.
I have read that this place is only open to the public a couple times a week so I guess we got lucky.
The renowned “Florentine Steak” as served at Antiqa Trattoria “Da Tito”. This was the smallest one they had – you pay by the gram. Signs warn you to not even think about asking for well done. If you ask for a cappuccino it’s 5,000 Euros. If you order one with your steak it’s 10,000 Euros. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Charity by Francesco Salviati -also know as Francesco de’ Rossi,  painted between 1544 and 1548 in the Ufizzi. COME ON
the view at night from the Ponte Vecchio, looking at the Ponte Santa Trinita
Piazza San Loranzeo – right in front of the Mercato Centrale. Go to the market for great food – it’s a gourmet food court. The area outside is full of vendors selling leather goods, cashmere scarves and other great stuff with better prices that around the Duomo
a sculpture at the Uffizi – look at that renaissance pedicure
A lamp post near our first apartment, about 5 minutes from the hustle and bustle of the Duomo