Ah, the birthplace of capitalism and the location of the biggest splurges I’ve made so far on this trip: Florence. The crown jewel of Tuscany, home to amazing architecture, and really great leather.
Now, if your read my previous post, you can probably tell that my tone is incredibly different from when I wrote about Rome. Despite this also being as touristy as it gets, I just like Florence better. Maybe it has something to do with the scale of the streets, or all the outdoor markets? This was also my second time in Florence and I enjoyed it more this time than the last. Last time, I was just a poor college student. This time I’m a poor college student with a job and bad spending habits. Let’s just say I left with a couple pairs of shoes and a maaaaybe purse, too.
Florence was also much easier for me to capture with my camera. I think it’s because of the more intimate scale of the city compared to all the grand monuments in Rome.
A couple places I would recommend:
Robiglio: A really great pasticceria in the center of the city. Really great quick bites and their capuccino is the best I’ve had since I got to Italy.
Top of the Duomo: Warning: If you’re claustrophobic, this isn’t for you! This is truly an amazing experience and well worth the climb! After you climb half way up you’ll be able to admire an amazing painted dome designed by Vasari of the Last Judgment, followed by crawling up the double dome designed by Brunelleschi. This ingenious double dome design made it possible to build such a huge structure in the 15th centure. Upon reaching the top, you get an 360 view of the city… It really is worth it!
Villa Gamberaia: A 15 minute bus ride gets you to an idealic 17th century villa. You will not only enjoy the beautiful grounds but it will give you the most incredible view of Florence from the hills. As you gaze back at the city it’s almost like you’re looking back in time. The most prominent icons are the Palazzo Vecchio and Santa Maria de Fiore.
Mercato Centrale: The ground floor of this market is like most italian markets; a variety of booths will serve all your needs, from fresh cuts of meat to cheese and wine. But when you go upstairs you’ll find a incredible variety of restaurants, pastry shops, and bars that offer gelato to full on meals. A great mix of bar foods and sit down dining.
San Lorenzo Outdoor Leather Market: This leather market is different from the Mercato Nuovo because they will actually haggle with you. You can work your way down to a price that you feel comfortable paying. Not that I do it, I’m way too embarassed, but if you’re game, check this market out!