Florence is another area of Italy I want to write separately about. It’s the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region, is home to many masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture. One of its most iconic sights is the Duomo, a cathedral with a terracotta-tiled dome engineered by Brunelleschi and a bell tower by Giotto.
I had spent a brief time in Florence in 2016, definitely not enough time to really see it. In the brief time we were there, we did see the Ponte Vecchio bridge, went to the art galleries and into the Duomo. So when I went back at the end of 2021 for a week, the goal was to immerse myself in the culture.
We stayed in an air bnb down in the Santa Croce area. It was perfectly located but loud, people stay up so late in Florence! I also learned a valuable lesson, and thats to understand exactly where the apartment is located. The third floor meant 9 flights of stairs. Very rough after traveling 18 hours. I had to lug up a large suitcase and carry on. I left with 2 large suitcases but alteast I carried them downstairs.
The hustle and bustle of the city was energizing. Nowhere did we eat was short of amazing.
We took day trips out to the country for long, leisurely wine lunches. I got kicked out of a cheese shop in Pienza because I asked to taste cheese. At the time, they were still masking up in Italy, and the man got very upset with me because I wanted to pull my mask down to taste the cheese in his shop, I even offered to do it outside. He ciao ciao’d me right out the door. No worries, I went down the path and found a little Italian Nona, she let me sample her cheese, and I left with $100 worth packed up for traveling back to the US. So ciao ciao to you grumpy cheese monger!
It was an easy decision to skip the museums since we had done that already. I wanted to each, shop and explore. The Mercato Centrale was a fabulous experience. I would compare that to Eatlaly here in the US but sadly those are only in the big cities. The tree lighting was taking place that week, and it was a moving experience right in front of the Duomo. We did take a cooking class, but again, masked up it was just not much fun. We couldn’t drink wine while we were cooking to keep our mask on, and cooking with out a glass of wine in hand just doesn’t cut it for me.
The city was very clean, and most of them speak English. That was good, since I still have yet to learn to speak Italian well.
Food? I didnt have a bad meal. You must eat the Ribolitta and Bistecca. The late evenings ended with digesgive, cantucci and Vin Santo ( biscotti and sweet wine).
There are plenty of hotels, in the city, I would recommend that over renting an apartment. It’s nice to have a porter and coffee service.