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Italy Highlight: Florence by Foot

Welcome to my very last Italy adventures recap from our travels there last month! If you missed any of the previous recaps, check them out first:

For my final post, take a walk with me in the streets of Florence.

florence italy

Florence is one of my favorite cities in Italy – I far prefer it to Rome because it’s smaller, more walker friendly, and there’s such amazing art and food. Everywhere you look there’s somewhere fabulous to eat or something beautiful to look at.

florence italy

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Matt and I spent a couple days in Florence; we stayed right in the city, making it easy to do a lot of walking and exploring.

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I’m always particularly in awe of all the amazing sculptures in Florence. Last time I was in Florence, on a trip with my college BFF Kris back when I was teaching English in Prague, we stumbled upon the most amazing Bernini sculpture special exhibit. It wasn’t there this time around, but Matt and I still enjoyed checking out the art. The statue of David in the photo below (outside in the Piazza della Signoria) is a copy, not the real one – the real one is tucked away in the Accademia Gallery, which we also visited. Another great gallery in Florence if you’re an art lover is the Uffizi Gallery (prounounced Ooo-Fitz-E). No photos are allowed in the galleries, so you’ll have to take my word for it!

florence art

On our first day in Florence, Matt and I climbed up to the roof of the Duomo, which is the main church in Florence; as the name suggests, it’s the large dome-like building to the right in the photo below.

view from piazzale michelangelo

There’s usually a big line to climb the Duomo, but we went just before they closed for the day and were able to get tickets and head up immediately, no problem. What luck!

There are 463 steps to conquer before reaching the top of the Duomo. You start in a narrow winding staircase, then briefly emerge near the top of the church with beautiful views of the ceiling frescoes.

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From there, it’s back into another winding staircase:

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Which eventually turns into more narrow and slanted steps once you get into the roof area. This climb is not for the claustrophobic! :)

climbing the duomo

But all that work is very worth it – check out this amazing view!

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view from the duomo

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I spy the Campanile – the other thing in downtown Florence that often gets climbed! It’s not as high as the Duomo, but you get cool views of the Duomo itself.

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My other favorite area of Florence is the beautiful river.

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This is the famous Ponte Vecchio, the beautiful old stone bridge that spans the river Arno at it’s most narrow point. There are all sorts of shops on the bridge; initially, butchers occupied the shops, but nowadays its all jewelers, art dealers, and tourist souvenir shops.

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On our last night in Florence, it was a beautiful evening, so per the suggestion of friends and many of you, we grabbed the bottle of wine we bought from the lemon guy in Cinque Terre, purchased some bread, cheese, meat, fruit, and olives, and made our way across the river and up to the Piazzale Michelangelo for a picnic.

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It’s quite a climb up to the Piazzale Michelangelo, but once again after the climb you’re rewarded with stunning views.

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Matt and I settled in with our picnic, eating, drinking wine, and enjoying the sights. It was definitely one of our favorite nights in Italy.

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The views got more and more amazing by the minute!

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sunset from piazzale michelangelo

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sunset from piazzale michelangelo

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5,000 pictures later, with our bellies and our hearts full, we made our way back down.

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It was the perfect end to our time in Florence – and the perfect end to my Italy recaps, too, I think. :)

Thank you for sharing in our Italy adventures with us. I hope you enjoyed reading these posts – it was fun for me to reminisce as I wrote them. Until next time, Italy…!

Comments

  1. 1

    I never made it to Florence but really want to make it back to Italy to see it. It looks so gorgeous! I would probably get super nervous on that staircase though!

  2. 2

    I went to Italy a couple of years and remember hating Rome (way too touristy and dirty) but loving florence. I had the best ice cream there too :D

  3. 4

    Beautiful photos! I hope to go back to Italy someday!

  4. 5

    LOVE LOVE LOVE Florence. Definitely one of my top 3 favorite cities in Europe. Climbing the Duomo is so fun! When we went, there was a bit of a line but not too bad. My poor 6 foot, 200 lb boyfriend had the hardest time climbing it once we got toward the top. He had to fold so much and duck to avoid hitting his head. haha. Definitely didn’t work sometimes.

  5. 7

    BEAUTIFUL pictures Anne! Now I am dying to go!

  6. 8

    I’m so jealous that you’ve been there more than once :( Europe and South Africa are on my ‘places to go’ list. I want to make one of the two happen in the next 5 years!!! Your recaps for gorg!!!

  7. 10

    Wow! I love all the sunset pictures … :D It looks like you had an amazing time. Some of the photos in my Montreal and Quebec post look pretty similar

  8. 11

    I am heading to Florence at the end of August for a wedding and will definately head up to Piazzale Michelangelo as well as the usual tourist stops! After reading the recap I am so excited for the trip and my friend’s wedding, too of course :-)

  9. 12

    All of your pictures were so beautiful! Thanks for sharing your trip :)

    I’ve already been telling my boyfriend how we should go to Italy, and do all of the things you’ve blogged about. Sounds like an amazing vacation.

  10. 13

    Reading this post brought back wonderful memories for me of the 10 weeks i spent studying abroad in Florence when i was a junior in college. As with everything, i absolutely did not appreciate it at the time but woudl love to go back and take my husband and son! Your pictures are beautiful!

  11. 14

    Pictures of Florence always make me a bit nostalgic. I had the great privlege of living there for a semester in college and I miss it every day. I actually met my fiance there and have wonderful memories of the city. We hope to spend a few days there during our honeymoon!

  12. 15

    Wow, wow, WOW! All your pics are stunning. What a beautiful city.

  13. 16
    jillian says:

    thanks for bringing back great memories :) my bf and I went to Rome, Florence and Positano in October and it was the most amazing trip! I just love Italy!

  14. 17

    Absolutely breathtaking!!! What a fabulous honeymoon you must have had. Congrats! :)

    • 18

      It wasn’t our honeymoon! :) We were there for a friend’s wedding and just went early to make it a vacation. Our honeymoon was last December in Costa Rica!

      • 19
        Tara@mainelyrunningmama says:

        Oops! Geez, what a idea to turn it into a vacation. I need someone to get married there… :)

  15. 20

    Ah! So lovely :) :) :)

  16. 21

    That climb up the duomo just amazes me! I swear at one point you’re basically horizontal. So crazy, but so, so awesome and worth it!
    I think I’ve said this on every one of your Italy posts, but these photos are amazing! And I like the one of you in the evening in front of Florence. Very pretty! :-)

  17. 22

    Thank you for sharing your trip!! I went to Italy in grade school and I wish I could go back because I feel like I didn’t appreciate it as much then as I do now. Loved your photos.

  18. 23

    Hahaha, I love the photo of you knocking on the door.

  19. 24

    So many more gorgeous photos! I so want to go back to Italy!

  20. 25

    Those photos are gorgeous – made me feel like I was there! Thank you for sharing your trip with us, Anne!

  21. 26
    Roadrunner says:

    One word: Wow! Your pictures are spectacular! What an awesome way to bring your trip to a close!

  22. 27

    Ahhh you are making me want to go back to Florence!! I like it much better than Rome too.

    Bernini pieces are my favorite- and I don’t even know much about art! Is the one next to the David the Persephone’s Escape statue? If so, I saw it at the Borghese Gallery in Rome (which I think is its permanent resting spot, btw) and it was BEAUTIFUL! It’s so hard to believe those statues are carved of STONE. Unreal.

  23. 29

    Florence was by far my favourite Italian city. Loved Il Davide!

  24. 30

    What a beautiful post! Florence is definitely one of my favorite cities in Italy. I got to sing and perform there with my high school choir, and there is no better feeling that being able to share music with others in all of Italy’s gorgeous churches.

  25. 31

    My husband and I went to Florence last October and this is making me miss it soo much! Their limoncello was amazing, and you’re right about the climb up the Duomo..totally worth it. :-) so glad that you and Matt had a great time!

  26. 32

    This post makes me so happy and sad at the same time – I studied abroad in Florence a few years ago and miss it so much!!! I’m glad you had such a great time there. It really is the best city in the world (in my opinion!).

  27. 33

    I loved this post! Florence was our favorite of the cities we visited in Italy and it was fun to see all your gorgeous photos. We didn’t get to see the city at night so those photos are awesome to see! I’m glad you made it to the Piazza de Michelangelo! I’m just jealous you got to enjoy it at sunset!
    It’s also fun because I stood in the exact spot as you to take pictures of the river by the Ponte Vecchio!

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