I’m back with the next post in my series about our trip to Italy! As mentioned in my previous post When in Rome, our next destination was Florence.
In the morning of our third day in Italy, we went to the train station in Rome and traveled to Florence. It’s a high-speed train, so the trip only 1.5 hours, and it goes through beautiful parts of the countryside on the way. We relaxed, read books, and listening to music. And it cost less than $50 total. I wish that the US had more trains like this!
TIP: Buy tickets in advance online. It saved us a lot of time and hassle to have our tickets already.
After arriving in Florence (aka Firenze), we took a taxi to our new Air BnB. This Air BnB was beautiful, but I wouldn’t recommend it for the summer months. It does not have air conditioning, which wouldn’t be so bad if there were screens on the windows. Unfortunately when it got stuffy we either had to deal with the warmth or open the windows and let bugs in. The Air BnB was also quite close to the road. We were able to drown out the street noise with white noise on Derek’s laptop, but it is not be the best place for light sleepers.
TIP: Always check Air BnBs for air conditioning if you’re traveling in the summer! I am a silly American who is used to it being standard and did not check until after we booked. Whoops!
On the plus side, the Air BnB had a great location that allowed us to walk almost everywhere. We set out to explore on foot as soon as we were settled in. Since we arrived in Florence in the early afternoon, we decided to do something low key and check out Piazzale Michelangelo. It’s a square dedicated to – you guessed it – Michelangelo, and we heard it had a fantastic view of Florence.
It took us about 30 minutes to walk there. Be forewarned- it involves a ton of stairs!
After spending the morning on the train, it felt good to get some walking in, and the weather was amazing. It was in the mid 70s and breezy.
People were not exaggerating about the view. It was incredible.
There were beautiful gardens up there as well.
And of course there was a bronze copy of Michelangelo’s David.
After all of our walking around and climbing stairs, we decided it was time for a pizza comparison. Our Air BnB host recommended Pizza e Carbone Acasamia, which was less than a 10 minute walk from the apartment.
TIP: Italians generally do not eat dinner until at least after 8pm. There was only one other group at this place until almost 9pm.
We started out with a salad and beer, which Derek was quite excited about. Of note, we accidentally ordered an entire pitcher due to our poor Italian. Oh well!
Derek and I both agreed that the pizza at this place was one of the food highlights of the trip and hands-down the best pizza of our lives.
TIP: Pepperoni and peperoni (Italian) are not the same thing. Peperoni refers to bell peppers.
We actually went back our last night in Florence because we liked it so much.
On our first full day in Florence we decided to spend the morning checking out a market near our Air BnB followed by an afternoon at the Duomo since we knew it was going to rain later in the day.
Exploring Mercato Sant’Ambrogio was another excellent recommendation from our Air BnB host.
We loved strolling around and looking at all the different foods, flowers, and goods available.
We decided to get brave and cook a meal at the Air BnB for dinner and picked up a few things to take back with us.
Trying to explain how much beef and pasta we wanted in our stellar Italian was hilarious for us and the poor guy assisting us. I think we provided his entertainment for the day. Unfortunately I forgot to get a picture of the final product, but it was delicious!
After our morning adventure at the market, we made our way to the heart of the city to see the Duomo, the main cathedral in Florence.
After we got our tickets, we waited in line to enter the building. It started to rain, which cleared out the crowds quite a bit. We were prepared with ponchos and umbrellas and decided to tough it out. However, we thought that a little gelato might help the situation.
Pistachio for Derek and tiramisu for me.
The US really needs to do the whole gelato thing. So good!
After about 45 minutes we reached the front of the line and started the climb inside the Duomo.
See the gray arches at the top of the dome? We climbed up INSIDE those. It was like climbing a ladder in a tunnel. The experience was crazy/claustrophobic/incredibly cool.
The ceiling art was mind boggling and striking. How did they do that?
And the view at the top was awe-inspiring.
After conquering the dome climb, we spent the rest of the time checking out the actual cathedral and the various museums associated with it.
I didn’t get as many pictures in the museums, but we learned a ton about the selection of art and architecture as well as how the Duomo was built.
After a fun day full of Italian culture, food, and history, we headed back to the Air BnB to cook dinner and rest up for our “Best of Tuscany” trip schedule for the next day. I’ll dedicate an entire post to that day. The places we went on the tour were our favorites of the entire trip.
Air BnB Info