Culley Avenue's Guide to Florence, Italy
When Michael and I first met, one of the fun facts (because there are many) about me that I mentioned immediately was my love for travel. I needed him to know that this is a serious love, not like lust, but LOVE. We couldn't go on a second date if he didn't acknowledge this fact and assure me that travel would be in our future. I run a tight ship, Ha!
So when we decided to get married, I spent more time planning our honeymoon than our actual wedding! We had planned a six day Tuscan adventure. At that time, we both were in the midst of day to day operations in our respective businesses and couldn't be gone for any longer. We were also wound so tight that we didn't think we would be able to relax on a tropical vacation. It's funny to look back on now. We were so stressed between my business, his farm, the wedding and taking the next step in our lives. Even though our lives haven't slowed down in the least, my career change has eased our relationship significantly. The point of this side note is that making big changes are scary, but most of the time they pan out. Take the leap!
Our six day Tuscan vacation turned into a night in Amsterdam, an entire day spent in the airport and losing almost two days of our trip. However, getting there is half of the adventure! We got the opportunity to see Amsterdam plus we were still able to get two nights in Florence and two nights in Venice, which I will write about on another day.
BUT FLORENCE...You know that feeling you get when you remember something and it instantly puts a big smile on your face? That's Florence. The city was so vibrant. There was so much history you could feel it vibrating from the streets. It was so fun to imagine that we were standing in a place that has seen so much culture. Like the plaza that was near to our hotel used to be a fish market centuries before. You could picture perfectly men wheeling up their day's catch in wooden wheel barrows while people were haggling for their evening meals. All while wearing some sort of medieval garb of the time.
Ok enough day dreaming, let's get down to the details. Before we left, I did a bit of research and found some blogs on Florence so that we had some idea of what we wanted to do. I love reading The Skinny Confidential's blog and she had this post on Florence that we referenced a lot. I also found this article from Darling Magazine on Florence after we returned, just one more reason for us to go back!
We stayed at the Hotel Savoy and I cannot talk enough about how amazing this hotel is and how nice the people are! I highly recommend this hotel. Plus, they are located right next to the Piazza Del Duomo and they have a wonderful bar. We did not have any euros on us when we arrived (we had planned on hitting up an ATM once we got in the country) and our cab driver only took cash, so the hotel paid the driver and just added it to our room. So convenient! Also, they booked our train ticket to Venice for us. I am telling you, they went above and beyond to ensure that we had a flawless stay.
The first night that we arrived we just wandered around the Piazza. There are so many places to eat so we found one that looked good and started what was an endless week of wine, pasta and pizza!
The next day, Michael wanted to climb to the top of the Duomo. At first, this did not seem like such a bad idea, until we got up there! If you're afraid of heights, be careful with this one. It was very much worth it for the view but I was so freaked out the entire time. After we finally got down, we found the closest bar so that I could get a drink to calm my nerves!
We wandered around the area that we were staying, went to the da Vinci museum, ate lots of carbs and drank even more wine. We went and saw David which was such a fun experience. Again, the culture and history are so intense here, it's hard not to love everything.
One thing that I highly recommend is going to the Four Seasons Bar Atrium. Michael and I walked over there on our last day and it was so beautiful. The hotel was once the Medici estate and the grounds are absolutely to die for.
- Almost every business prefers to be paid in (exact) cash, so make sure you hit up an ATM to grab some euros.
- Most taxis only take cash so make sure you have euros before you leave the airport. Or make sure your hotel will cover the cost once you arrive!
- Michael and I did not get a Firenze card as we arrived a day later than we were supposed to, but I've seen that recommended a lot for getting into museums, etc.
- Even though we were only in Florence for two days, it was plenty of time to experience the city. If you plan on going to Italy, take the train from city to city so that you can experience multiple places.
- Go in March! Some of our relatives went in July and they said it was awful because there were so many people. There was hardly anybody there when we went and the weather was beautiful (light jacket weather).
- Don't forget to take the time to soak it all in!
Have you been to Florence? What did you think? Where did you go, what did you do? Let me know. We definitely plan on making it back to Florence in the future.