Florence is truly a beautiful city, so I thought I would share some of the things that I loved most. If you have already been, I hope this will spark some wonderful memories of your own. And if you have not, I hope you will be inspired to take a little trip to Firenze for yourself (and take me with you!!!!!).
The Amazing Architecture
Florence is so well known for its beautiful churches and palazzos, that it almost seems cliché to say that the architecture is one of my favorite parts of the city. Because really, isn’t that at the top of everyone’s list of Florence favorites? But still, it has to be said! There is so much intricate detail to see when you spend some time admiring these great churches and towers.
Another one of my favorite things about visiting Florence is seeing so much amazing art. I know I know, I am still not being real original here, but how can you go to Florence and not be impressed by the art?!?! Sadly, taking pictures is kinda sorta frowned upon in the galleries, so I have nothing to show for our time visiting the Uffizi and Accademia. But I can tell you that being able to actually see such beautiful artwork in person was truly amazing! If I go back to Florence, I will be sure to spend more time really taking it all in!
We were also thrilled to come across some Madonnari street painters one night. These talented artists are continuing the tradition of creating and recreating masterpieces on the streets. Their talent is impressive!
The Arno River and the Ponte Vecchio
I loved walking along the Arno River and admiring the colorful buildings across the way. I also loved the bridges across–especially in the evening when the lighting was just right! The Ponte Vecchio (or “old bridge”) is the first and oldest bridge across the Arno River. A little interesting trivia: when the Nazis were headed out of Florence, they bombed all of the bridges across the Arno River EXCEPT for the Ponte Vecchio. Supposedly, Hitler was a fan of this particular bridge and ordered it to be left alone (supposedly).
The Ponte Vecchio is also one of the few bridges in the world with shops on it. How cool is that??!! There was originally a variety of common tradesmen–butchers, tanners, fishmongers, etc.–that set up shop there. But apparently, it was all a little too stinky and unrefined for Florence, so the shops were then restricted to goldsmiths and jewelers. These days, the shops are still primarily jewelry stores (with great deals, from what I understand 😉 ). If you are interested in more detailed history of the Ponte Vecchio (or any of Florence for that matter), you should check out the Visit Florence website. I have been using it to refresh my memory and I am loving all of the great information and pictures.
Obviously the food, right?! This was unfortunately before I got really weird and started taking pictures of my meals, so I don’t have much to show. But I do know that I really enjoyed the food in Florence. We had some delicious pasta & pizzas, amazing steaks, and delightful desserts! It was all good, but the two restaurants that stood out to me were Il Latini and Buca Mario. If you want more information, you can check them out in my Where to Eat in Florence post.
The Hotel Monna Lisa
A lot of the time when we travel, we wind up staying in Hilton brand hotels. They are easy, comfortable, and Hilton has a great loyalty program! But when we were booking our trip to Italy, we just couldn’t resist staying in local hotels with history and charm! The first of these was The Hotel Monna Lisa, which is a converted Renaissance era palazzo located in the heart of Florence. It is so close to the Piazza del Duomo and it is an amazing place to stay. The décor is undeniably Florentine with art and antiques throughout. One of my favorite parts of the décor might be the several renditions of the Mona Lisa (some having taken more creative license than others 😛 )! The staff at the Monna Lisa are very accommodating, and we found the rooms to be very comfortable and well appointed. We especially enjoyed that our ground floor rooms had large windows that opened to the beautiful garden! Here are few pictures:
Help Me Out, Here!
So now you know some of my favorite things about Florence, but I want to know yours too! If you have any great Florence must-do’s or travel tips, please share in the comments! I would love to add some great sites and activities to my next Florence itinerary!
My Last Little Bits of Florence Goodness