Florence and PISA


After Venice, Johannes went back to work and Diem Mi went with me to Florence.

Monday night we took a bus from venice and arrived in Florence very late. The road construction from the bus station to rhe hostel was a real pain and the line once we arrived to check in was long, but despite this we made it to our 4 bed room with a private bath and fell asleep.

The next day we started out early-ish and headed for a walking tour, along the way we stopped in a big market hall and found everything from meats to pastas to souvenirs and bakeries. It was really nice and reminded me of the great market hall I saw in Budapest. There of course I had to buy a delicious pistachio pesto! After we also passed the Basilica of San Lorenzo, one of the largest churches in italy.

When we arrived to the meeting point of the walking tour we were told by other people that apparently as of August their was only a tour later in the day, however if we had enough people they would be able to do one anyway. So, we waited and sure enough maybe 20 people showed up and the tour began.

Walking Tour:

-A few of the big churches in Florence are covered in this white green and res marble. Although the colors do match the Italian flag, they are not related and actually have individual meanings: white, green and red = fate, charity and hope
-Basillica Santa Maria Novella;
A very rich noble man named johannes, who made his wealth through the invention of red silk has his name on the front and his family crest incorporated in a variety of ways.
-Throughout Florence one thing that was very prominent was the variety of architecture, it seems to have a many different styles all preserved through time. The guide even showed us gothic, neo-classical and renaissance buildings all within the view from one spot.
-Overall the guide was kind and knowledgeable, but nothing like i had in venice or budapest. Yet, it was still very much worth our time and in addition to the information we met two girls along the way: Palma and Maria. Each 22 and traveling alone in Florence. Palma was canadian, with italian ancestory and Maria was from Brazil.
After the tour we had a nice buffalo mozzarella pizza lunch with the girls and toured the rest of the day with them.
We went to the Ponte Vecchio and it was filled with endless expensive shops. I had sort of imagined this bridge to be similar to the rialto bridge in venice for some reason, but this bridge was not covered in cute average priced shops– only expensive jewelry shops, surrounded with good architecture.
Following this we visited a few places on a suggested walking path with information at each stop and then we spent the rest of the afternoon at the Boboli Gardens.
Then just before sunset we headed to the Pizzale Michaelangelo, a supposed iconic place to watch the sunset and boy was it beautiful. However, it was outrageously crowded and would suggest not making the mistake of going during peak tourist season.
Anyway, after that we barely made it to the hostel before collapsing of exhaustion…according to our phones we put in about 32,000 steps which is about 13.5 miles or 21.7 kilometers in about 105 F or 40 C weather … Yes we drank a lot of water!
The next day in Florence we spent sort of wandering along for a while in the direction of the Piazza del mercato nuovo where the big boar statue is. It is tradition for people to rub the nose of this boar statue and drop in a coin to ensure a return to the city, almost an trevi fountain of florence, I guess.
I have to admit one of the highlights of florence was this rose shaped gelato place ae found called amorino. I know it is a chain, but the flavors in the gelato was incredible, i had never had such strong natural flavor and in addition to that the shape is also really cool. Diem mi and i were so impressed we actually  considered going back!
Later that evening we went to visit the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. It is the main church of florence and one of the main icons of the city. We saw the famous golden ceiling of. baptistry in the afternoon.
Then later we saw the amazing views from the bell tower and immediately after we met maria to walk up to the top of the dome. It was a lot of stairs (since both the tower and the dome did not have elevators), but the views were more than worth it. I personally always work to find the best ariel views of a city while traveling, so this was definitely one of my favorite parts.
In addition, to seeing this magnificent church we also were lucky enough to stumble upon the repair or restoration workshop for all pieces of the Santa Maria del Foire Cathedral.
Finally that night we returned to this incredible food place we had been to about 3 times. It was a food court above the Central Mercado with to die for veggie/vegan burgers, pasta and much more!
One day from florence Diem Mi and I took a bus to pisa to of course see the leaning tower. Maybe it was touristy and maybe there was not much else to do there, but it was worth it. We first made a time to climb to tower and stayed inside to see the small museum and movie about the history of the tower.
We ate lunch at a small affordable sandwich shop with HUGE subs for only 6euro or so. We ate there and then went into the church to see all the statues, painting and architecture inside.
Then we checked our bags headed to the tower entrance for our scheduled time and climbed the tower to the top. The walk was really fun up the tower, it almost made you feel like you were about to fall or that you had a few drinks. Of course we knew the tower was leaning, but the feeling inside was much more intense than i expected.
Following this we took a few typical touristy photos and headed on our way back to Florence for the night.
Then, that friday we were off to Rome to meet our wonderful friends from singapore Chiara and Serena!

One Comment Add yours

  1. Rita Tobin says:

    Hi Maggie…..I just now discovered your blog on Florence…..one of my favorite cities I visited in Italy. I was there for too short a time. Sounds
    like you packed lots into your stay. You are home in Minnesota now….
    how you are getting some rest…..then find a job………then save some
    $$$$ and then take off for another adventure. You are only young once.
    Go for it. Working the rest of your life will definitely be this much fun!
    Make hay while the sun shines……..Hope to see you soon.
    Auntie Rita

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s