After Venice, our next stop was visiting the much anticipated Florence. We weren’t originally going to Florence when we first planned our European Adventure, but after many people said we had to, we made adjustments and added it in.
When our train arrived in Florence, it was a quick walk to our hotel (Hotel Mia Cara) and we were quickly settled in to our room. This room so far in the trip, was the best room we had stayed in. It was very spacious, a large comfy bed, and super clean bathroom. We were very happy after checking in to have a quick shower and then decided to wander around and check out some of the sights of Florence.
The first thing we noticed whilst walking around Florence was how narrow the walkways were! You could just fit one person walking one way, which meant alot of people ended up walking on the roads which meant alot of bike, scooter and car dodging.
Our first stop was to try and see the Statue of David, but when we arrived, there was not only one massive queue, but TWO! We quickly learnt one was for reserved tickets and the other was for people (like us) who didn’t pre-buy. When we factored it was going to be about €30 to enter, plus queuing for who knows how long, we decided to go see his dodgy double around the corner for free.
Next stop on the way to dodgy-double-David was the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. At the time, this was the second largest cathedral I had ever seen (First at the time was Cathedral of St John the Divine in the USA). This is considered the most important landmark in Florence and completed in 1436 – so it’s pretty darn old! As you can imagine by this point, the queue to get in was the largest queues we had seen anywhere on our trip, plus I was feeling my lousiest this point in the trip from my chest infection, we decided to soldier on and check out our next destination.
As you do in any location, you randomly stumble across some part of a city you have never even heard of. This was true in Florence. We accidently came across so many things of interest, it just kept adding on stops to our day. One such place was the Piazza della Repubblica. There was a gorgeous old-fashioned horse carousel in this beautiful piazza surrounded by a yellow building.
Then finally, arrived at the Piazza della Signora to see Davids dodgy double! There are alot of other statues in this piazza so you can really take your time and take them all in (if that’s your cup of tea!)
Finally, we made it to the main part of our Florence adventure; the Ponte Vecchio. Now my darling husband was convinced that they filmed a scene of Game of Thrones here – I’ve done so much research and cannot confirm this, but looks like it is a big, fat no – and he would not take no for an answer. We also walked further along the river and took in some other views of the ancient bridges and buildings before beginning our walk back to our hotel.
Naturally, on the way back, I managed to stumble across yet another Disney store, so of course I had to go in and check it out! Further up the road, was the San Lorenzo Market, and if I wasn’t feeling so incredibly lousy, I would have spent so much time (and money) here. All up, our day in Florence was approx. 4km round trip to check out most of the sights.
Dinner that night was ordering Uber Eats which was an interesting (and expensive) experience. At this stage, I was still vegetarian and it took forever to find some vegetarian options and we finally found a pizza and pasta place. When it arrived, they didn’t provide any cutlery at all, so we tried using the rolls they gave us as spoons for our spaghetti… and to top it off, they thought it would be a great idea to deliver Coke in glass bottles that NEEDED A BOTTLE OPENER TO OPEN THEM! I spent the good part of half an hour watching YouTube clips and trying different methods to pry them open, with the end part of nail clippers being the only successful option – we quickly gave up using bench tops to pop it off when we realised how brittle they were!
The next day in Florence was originally meant to be a day trip (via train) to Pisa and Lucca, but we chose instead to have a day in bed to recover and have some much needed rest, which meant watching another game of the AFL Finals series on our iPads. That night, we decided to eat at a 1950’s Diner we passed on the way home the day before. It was a pretty awesome venue, which even had the waitresses on roller skates, but unfortunately the food wasn’t that great. The milkshakes were huge and pretty good, but I know my burger was possibly the worst burger I have had. Maybe I just got unlucky, but I could not finish it that’s for sure.
I do have to say though, Hotel Mia Cara, if you ever do stay in Florence and want a reasonably priced hotel with everything you will need, this is it. They had a deal and it included buffet breakfast each morning, and it wa smore than enough to satisfy most people. There were about 12 different types of yoghurt in the fridge, scrambled eggs, bacon, plus a bunch of other hot meals and so many pastries and desserts. I loved finding they had a croissant crema and also a vanilla slice – so you can guess what I devoured each morning!
All in all, glad I went to Florence to check out some of the sights, but if I do return to Italy, I would most likely venture out to the Tuscan countryside next time and try my luck there. Florence is a very beautiful ancient city, but if I had to choose between Florence or Venice if I was strapped for time, I would 100% pick Venice. Everyone has their own opinion, and that is mine.