Visiting Florence, Italy for a few days and wondering what to do? I got you. When I was planning my honeymoon in Italy, I did a lot of research to figure out what my husband and I would like in terms of activities and food. I also looked at google maps to figure out the proximity of each activity, so that we could get to each museum, restaurant, etc. in an order that made sense, rather than walking around in circles.
Why you should visit Florence:
Florence changed me as a person. It sounds extreme, but it's true. It changed my husband too. We found that we loved things we didn't have much exposure to before:
- Art: I dabbled in painting before visiting Florence, but I was never someone who frequented art museums. Seeing the art in Florence provided me with a whole new appreciation for artists and their craft. Plus, you cannot go your whole life without seeing Michelangelo's David in person. When I walked around the corner at the museum and saw the breathtaking statue standing tall at the end of the room, I had to catch my breath.
- History: I'm not even close to a history buff, but there is so much interesting history in the city and the surrounding Tuscany area that had us mesmerized. We learned so much about medieval times, the Black plague and the Renaissance. It felt like the city was a time capsule, preserving beauty from another era. The history was alive.
- Spirituality: I'm not a religious person, but seeing the effort and dedication that Michelangelo and other Florentine artists put into conveying spiritual beauty had us in awe. It opened my mind up to other possibilities.
So what did we do while we were there that caused this awakening within us?? Check out our journey below:
Four Days in Florence: Our Itinerary
City: Florence, Italy (and a day trip around other places in Tuscany)
Time frame: May, 2018
Weather: ~70-75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. A bit chillier at night (~65 degrees F)
Key Items to Bring:
-Camera/or cell + selfie stick
-Backpack (With hidden inside pockets for your money as you should do in all tourist cities)
-Good walking shoes
-Fashionable but comfortable clothing (Italians dress in style! My husband actually bought a light jacket while he was there because he was a little embarrassed wearing his sweatshirt)
Transportation while in the city: Walk (and bus tour for a day trip)
Hotel: Our hotel was OK, but do not feel great enough about it to recommend. Feel free to leave hotel recommendations in the comments
Day 1: Travel to Florence, Stroll around the Boboli gardens, then have dinner
We arrived in the afternoon, so we took it easy on this day, mainly walking around the Boboli Gardens, which are peaceful gardens filled with statues. We had fun walking around in hidden trails (and kissing! it was our honeymoon!).
After the gardens, we walked around the romantic city and spotted a woman singing opera on the street. For dinner, we went to Ristorante Boccanegra, which had a very quiet, intimate setting, which we absolutely loved.
Statue in the Boboli Gardens
Day 2: Eat delicious pizza, climb to the top of the cathedral, visit the Museum della Opera, walk along the Arno River & Ponte Vecchio bridge
We had great pizza for lunch at Gusta Pizza, the best pizza we had in Italy.
Then we headed to Piazza del Duomo and climbed to the top of the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral (make sure you buy tickets online ahead of time! We were given a specific time to wait in line). The artwork on the ceiling in the cathedral is incredible -- I cannot even fathom how the artists had the ability to crane their neck upward while creating this masterpiece at such a frightening height...
And at the top of the catehdral, there is a great view of the city!!
Top of the Cathedral: My husband doesn't like heights so he was very uncomfortable, but we pulled this picture off!
Next, we went to the Opera Duomo Museum, a museum full of stunning religious artwork. If you have time, you can also visit the baptistry and bell tower (also within the Piazza del Duomo) -- we did not have time, so did this the following day.
Then we took a look at the statues outside the building called Loggia dei Lanzi. We sat around that area and observed a lot of fun street music performances. We also walked along the Arno river and witnessed a beautiful sunset.
Then, we walked over the Ponte Vecchio bridge and went to enoteca pitti gola e cantina for a little wine tasting and dinner!
Sunset along the Arno River
Day 3: Piazza Santa Maria Novella Church & Tornabuoni Chapel, Michelangelo's David
First, we went to Piazza Santa Maria Novella and walked around the Santa Maria Novella Church & Tornabuoni Chapel (there is beautiful artwork inside, including frescoes by Ghirlandaio!)
Then, we went to the Galleria Accademia which has a lot of beautiful artwork, including Michelangelo's David! The plaque near the statue contains the words of praise from Giorgio Vasari:
"...nor has there ever been seen a pose so easy, or any grace to equal that in this work, or feet, hands and head so well in accord, one member with another, in harmony, design, and excellence of artistry." Vasari continues to state that one needn't bother seeing other works in sculpture after viewing this one.
Day 4: Day Trip Around Tuscany: Siena, San Gimignano, Monteriggioni, and Chianti
We booked a viator tour to view beauty outside of the city.
First, the tour bus took us to a town called Monteriggioni for only 30 min - we loved this quaint castle town that apparently held its defenses strong in medieval times against armies! We saw a beautiful view from the main castle wall, then went into a museum where we tried on armor from medieval times.
Trying on real medieval armor in Monteriggioni
Next, the bus took us to Siena, where we took a short walking tour and saw the beautiful Siena cathedral with 3 different architectural styles on its outside face - French Gothic, Tuscan Romanesque, and Classical.
Then the bus took us to a winery in Chianti, where we enjoyed a short tour and quick tasting.
Finally, we went to the town of San Gimignano which is difficult to pronounce (the tour guide had us all practice a few times!) We were tired at this point but had fun seeing the gorgeous views.
I hope you find this itinerary helpful! Please leave Florence travel tips and/or questions in the comments!
Labels: Europe, Florence, honeymoon, Italy, Travel