Passport Stamp: Florence

We went to Italy for nearly two weeks for our honeymoon with stops on the Amalfi Coast, Rome, Tuscany and Florence. This is the fourth and final piece on our travels.

 

We headed to Florence for the last few days of our honeymoon. We had heard nothing but good things about Florence and were excited to check it out.

 

We stayed at the AC Hotel Firenze on the northwest edge of the city. AC Hotels is a European segment of the Marriott family. They are modern and fairly cheap, but overall was a good hotel. We found Florence to be extremely walkable so the location was not an issue for us.

 

After we dropped off our luggage and car, we had some breakfast before making our way to the most notable of Florence landmarks, the Santa Maria del Fiore, the third largest church in the world.

 

An American girl was part of the volunteer staff giving free tours so we joined her for the brief tour before buying tickets to see the rest of the magnificent building. We climbed the 414 steps to the top of the bell tower for the iconic view of the red-tiled dome. The climb up the bell tower is very narrow and steep in places. We were there in early April and it still got very hot climbing but it paid off.

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The most famous Florentine shot, the dome of the Santa Maria del Fiore, from the cathedral’s bell tower.

Tip No. 1: The ticket you buy to climb the bell tower also allows you to climb to the top of the actual dome but I would avoid that. The views are the same from both and the famous picture is of the dome. In addition, it took us nearly an hour to get down as there is only one way up and down and the amount of people clogged up the stairs.

 

After checking out the interior of the cathedral and the baptistery, we stopped for lunch before checking out the Ponte Vecchio, the famous closed bridge over the River Arno that is now lined with many shops, most of which sell souvenirs.

We explored a bit of this side of town before stopping for some of the best gelato we’ve ever had at Gelateria della Passera. It is a small shop tucked into the neighborhood so you have to look for it, but it well worth it. The scoops are small but cheap (only €1 per scoop) and absolutely delicious. We came back to this shop every day.

 

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This was seriously the best gelato we’d ever had. We went every day.

 

We stopped at one of the many wine bars for a drink before heading to Il Santo Bevitore for a delicious dinner.

 

The next day, we made our way to the Galleria dell ‘Accademia, which is the home to the famous sculpture of David. The gallery hosts a number of truly remarkable pieces but David is definitely the most famous. The amount of detail in the statue is amazing, and overall it is incredibly realistic and also huge, with the statue itself standing 17 feet tall.

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Much like when we were in Rome, we spent a lot of time just wandering and exploring the streets of Florence. While there were definitely similarities, the two cities had distinct vibes making them unique.

 

During the afternoon, we made our way to the Boboli Gardens, which sit on a hill just up from the Ponte Vecchio. The Gardens are essentially an outdoor art gallery with many incredible sculptures along with amazing views of Florence. One could easily pack a picnic and bottle of wine for a lazy day here.

 

We stopped for drinks at the rooftop bar at the Westin Excelsior, which is along the River Arno before having a delicious dinner at Trattoria 13 Gobbi.

 

Overall, we didn’t take in all of the art galleries and museums that Florence has to offer, but we thoroughly enjoyed exploring this vibrant city.

 

Have you been to Florence, or have questions about anything in this post? Let me know in the comments or follow me on Twitter (@mditt).

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