This is still part of our 4-part Italy series and we’re heading out to the Tuscan region, in the city of Florence. Firenze! I love how the Italians name their places. It feels like they’re from a mythical world 🙂
We took a train from Rome to Florence. We pre-booked our tickets online so we won’t have to rush when we get to the station. From Ottaviano station, take the metro to Termini (where the airport is as well) and find your way to the Roma Termini Railway Station. It can get confusing especially with the absence of English signs. We actually got lost (as expected) but we just asked where Italo trains are.
You don’t have to print out your ticket. You can show your boarding pass on your phone. Travel time is about 2 hours to Santa Maria Novella station and it was comfortable. We were pleasantly surprised that snacks are being served on the train. Here’s looking at you budget airlines!
We rented a small but cosy Airbnb which has a reasonable distance to the city centre, but before we reached the accommodation we once again got lost for about 2 hours. If the bus stops in Rome are not very conspicuous, it’s even worse in Florence. The thing is, we could’ve asked for directions or just took an Uber because 2 hours was a lot of time wasted.
San Lorenzo Market, Mercato Centrale, Piazza San Lorenzo
Our first stop was at San Lorenzo Market which has a lot of things leather! Mercato Centrale is also close by so we had a meal there. We were positively stuffed after so we decided to just sit and relax at the nearby Piazza San Lorenzo as it was getting dark anyway. There were musicians playing so we just enjoyed the music and did some people watching.
We wandered around the city centre, bought some supplies and took the bus home. Had some wine to finish the night off and prepare for the next day.
Duomo, Museo Leonardo Da Vinci , Galleria dell’Accademia, Uffizi
All refreshed and rested, we went straight ahead to the Duomo which is beautiful. We didn’t go inside because the queue was too long and frankly didn’t have enough time cos we’re still going to Galleria dell’Accademia to see David.
On our way to the gallery, we passed by Museo Leonardo Da Vinci and decided to check it. It’s amazing how one man did so many things not only for the arts but for science, medicine, and engineering amongst others! If you are fascinated with Da Vinci, I recommend visiting this museum. It’s interactive as well!
Galleria dell’Accademia is one of the places to visit in Florence so if you want to skip the queue, book a ticket online. Unfortunately, we didn’t do that but you can go to the ticketing office across the gallery entrance and ask if there are still available tickets for the day. This is also where you get your reserved tickets. Bear in mind that they only allow a number of people so be there on your scheduled time.
I’d like to say that it’s worth visiting for David alone. It’s a magnificent work of art by Michelangelo, and the details are amazing. If you are not very familiar with the arts (like us), it would be nice to be a part of a guided tour so you’ll have a better perspective of them and know their history. I managed to eavesdrop (lol) at some of the guides, and I wished we took one.
After the Galleria, we went to Uffizi. While Galleria dell’Accademia is to sculptures, I’d say Uffizi is to paintings. It houses some of the world’s masterpieces and I think it’s best to experience it for 2 days. Otherwise, it’ll be sensory overload which what happened to us. I took so many pictures and these are just some of them. This is definitely a place to go for when you visit Florence.
We went in the gallery at around 2pm and went out when it was about to close. We decided to grab some dinner and of course, gelato. You can never have enough gelato in Italy.
- Buy bus tickets in advance especially when you’re going home late. Each single-journey ticket is valid for 90 minutes from the time it was validated. ALWAYS MAKE SURE TO VALIDATE. There are some random inspections (we had one in Florence) and they fine you if you get caught.
- Pre-book tickets for museums and attractions to save you the hassle of queuing up. If guided tours are available, join one if you want to enhance the experience.
- Try local cuisine. In Florence, we tried their Bistecca alla Fiorentina and Gnocchi. I actually really like the bread that they serve for pane e coperto.
- Always wear comfortable shoes. There’s plenty of walking that’s going to happen, trust me.