Tuscany’s Renaissance charm.
Our spring break in 2011 was to the beautiful city of Florence in the heart of Tuscany. The lure of the ancient cobbled streets the imposing Duomo and the medieval Pont Vecchio were sights I just couldn’t wait to see and experience. And yes, of course, the delicious Italian food.
Not only was Gary and I going to discover Florence in our long weekend, but we knew that Pisa was only a short train journey away, so we were definitely going to include a visit there as well.
After sitting down together and browsing through our travel books, we made a hit list of where in Florence we’d like to visit; and with this being Italy we wanted to dig deeper into the historical stories that it held.
We knew we were in for a treat.
A helpful guide
If your heading off on your own Italian adventure, than grab a copy of this DK Eyewitness book. I love planning road trips and these guides are so helpful. I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more of the back roads.
We used a previous version of this book to plan our Italian wanderings, now you can grab the revised copy.
History & Culture
Florence like Rome is oozing with history, and although this wonderful city was established by Julius Caesar in 59 BC, it is Renaissance that Florence is so synonymous with and is considered to be its birthplace.
As so often with our mini breaks we are drawn to a city by its intriguing architecture and Florence & Pisa was no exception.
Florence Cathedral: Or Il Duomo di Firenze as the locals would say is a stunning cathedral and a true centrepiece for the city. I highly recommend taking a look inside, but also you must try and get to Giardino di Boboli (gardens) to catch the iconic city view across the rooftops.
Giotto’s Campanile: An intricate gothic bell tower that stands proudly within the Piazza del Duomo. It is quite an amazing structure and is a towering 84.7 metres (277.9 ft.) tall.
Baptistery of Saint John: Another eye-catching building within the same piazza is the octagonal Baptistery of Saint John. It’s one of the oldest buildings in the city dating from 1059, take a wander around to the east doors to see the “Gates of Paradise”.
Ponte Vecchio: The famous bridge that straddles the River Arno, was one the sights that I was particularly looking forward to seeing. I’d often seen it on TV or in books; however, it was fascinating to walk across the medieval bridge, in the footsteps of so many others.
From the outside of the bridge the little shops, almost appear to be just clinging on.
Piazza’s & Fountains
Florence has some beautiful piazza’s large and small and it’s so heart-warming listening to families and friends enjoying the hustle and bustle of these communal places.
Sit back, relax and enjoy the all the fountains and statues dotted around the squares and dream of that well-earned Prosecco.
Florence is such a lovely city to just wander around, so many little lanes to be discovered, turning one corner after another into a little piece of history.
The Uffizi Gallery: Was established in 1581 is probably the most well-known gallery in Italy. Full of some fantastic ancient masterpieces, particularly from the Italian Renaissance period
Food & Drink
- It has to be gelato if I’m in Italy
- Ohh yes pasta of course
- A charming Chianti (now I’m beginning to sound like Hannibal Lecter!)
Hannibal: Talking of Mr Lecter, parts of Hannibal were filmed in Florence and seeing some of those film shots I was tempted all the more to visit.
Something to make your travels easier?
A little further afield
Pisa: I was so pleased we visited Pisa, and it’s only around 50 minutes by train from Florence. Although the main attraction is the bell tower or the ‘Leaning Tower of Pisa’ as it is better known as (which is pretty amazing), however, Pisa’s Duomo and Baptistery in the Piazza del Duomo are equally attractive.
It’s such a pleasant place to stroll around.
Something for the Traveller
Inspired to visit Florence?
Does the food tempt you? Would you like to see the Uffizi? Or take yourself off to Pisa? Or all of the above?
Why not check out the latest deals on Booking.Com?
(Why not Pin It for Later?)