I arrived at the Florence train station a little after 7pm, tired and unsure exactly where I was going. I knew my hotel was very close to the station, but I had no idea which direction I was supposed to walk in. I started walking down one street, decided it was wrong, changed direction and chose another street. Getting frustrated, I grabbed a taxi to the hotel. After settling in to the hotel, I tried to hype myself up to go out exploring. Sometimes it’s hard to do by yourself especially when you’re tired and you don’t know where you’re going. I was in Florence for so short a time and I had heard something about how amazing seeing the statues outside the Uffizi Gallery was, so completely unsure of myself I headed out. It was COMPLETELY worth it!
I found the old part of the city incredibly easy to get around and found surprises around every corner. I walked along the river (Fiume Arno), over Ponte Vecchio (Oldest Bridge), to my favorite spot Piazza della Signoria where there were sculptures dating back to the late 1300s. While taking in the beauty of the square and the sculptures, there was the most beautiful guitar music playing the theme from Romeo and Juliet and later other love songs. It really was incredible!
I continued walking around the city once the guitarist was done playing, and saw other street entertainers imitating Charlie Chaplin (with huge crowds) and musicians playing around every corner on a weeknight. What a magical city! And… I learned it is ok to invest in wine mom, it’s called Chianti Banca. I think so many beautiful sights actually kept me from sleeping after I wandered back to my hotel. I was up all night wishing I was still walking around the city.
The next morning, I had my walking tour “Skip the Line: Florence Accademia Gallery Tour.” We met on Ponte Vecchio bridge before walking the city including the Duomo. At the conclusion of the tour, I saw Michelangelo’s David. The tour was amazing and quite educational. It was nice to learn about all the things I had seen the night before and to get to see them again in the daylight.
At the end of the tour, I went to do the one thing I still really wanted to do in Florence…climb to the top of the cupola dome on the Duomo. There were 463 stairs to the top and I’m a wee bit claustrophobic. Some of the steps were actually two-way traffic and incredibly tight. The view was beautiful!
Once I got down to the safety of Earth again, I stood in line to climb to the top of the bell tower before realizing my legs were shaking and I desperately needed some food, so I skipped doing the bell tower and went for lunch before heading to Rome via another train. Stay tuned for more of my Italian adventures!