While Rome was planned out and felt navigable, we arrived in Florence with no plans… during Easter weekend. This is the equivalent of New York City on New Years Eve. We thought we were screwed.
At first, it didn’t seem like the Firenze card, which gives you admission to museums and unlimited use of the metro, was worth the money. Then we realized that it acts as a “front of the line” pass, essentially saving us hours of waiting in queues, especially with the crowds. Done and done.
Florence was as busy as Rome, with more people, so our experience wasn’t as relaxing as we’d hoped. Still, it was pretty rad. We had our favorite two dinners of the whole trip in Florence. Il Santo Bevitore, where we sat at the bar because they didn’t have an open reservation for another 6 days and Osteria Pepo, where they handed us flutes of Prosecco while we waited and both the waitstaff and chocolate souffle were beyond any other.
As I mentioned, H was obsessed with finding a Rick Steves guide to Florence, which we didn’t find until the next morning, but spent the first night and morning looking. Following a stressed-out H around only made me feel stressed out, so it’s safe to say the first 20hrs in Florence were not easy. Once we had our guidebook, and our bearings, things felt better.
In Florence we:
- Stayed at the best Airbnb, where our host Llaria cooked us breakfast every morning and was so fun to chat with.
- Walked all over the city the first night, along the river to Piazza della Signoria, to the Ponte Vecchio, before…
- Snagging those two bar seats at Il Santa Bevitore. Eating dinner at the bar is one of my favorite things to do and this time did not disappoint.
- Ate chocolate and raspberry gelato at Gelateria dei Neri.
- Climbed the Campanile at the Duomo (b/c the lines were too long for the actual Duomo).
- Walked Pitti Palace and the Royal Apartments.
- Spent two hours in the Galileo Museum (another favorite of the trip!)
- Visited the Santa Croce church, in the rain. On a secluded courtyard level, there was a small exhibit about the Florentine floods. I loved this bit of information.
- Went up to the Piazzale Michaelangelo for the view, but the crowds were overwhelming and the view didn’t beat the Campanile.
- Listened to singing in the San Miniato al Monte, a gorgeous church atop of hill with another amazing view of the city.
- Toured the Uffizi museum
- On Easter, we watched the Explosion of the Cart parade go right by our Airbnb, where we hung out the stairwell windows with our host to watch, the cart almost as tall as our viewpoint. We didn’t have time to see it catch fire.
- Experience a downpour of rain, which squashed our plans to bike the city, but was lovely to be in since we never get rain in LA.
- Waited in the rain for the Accademia Gallery, found a bench to sit down at while we looked at a museum map, found where Michaelangelo’s David was, walked to it, hung out for a bit admiring the work of both the finished masterpiece and the unfinished Prisoners (which were much more interesting to me) and left.
In retrospect, our time in Florence was amazing, and I would happily go back to many of the places above – we just felt a bit off while we were there, so it colored our experience. Luckily, we work well on the fly, and adapted to the shifting (lack) of plans.