February 18, 2015

Florence, Italy {1}

Feeling very wanderlusty lately so I figured I'd continue with the Italy recaps today!

We arrived in Florence around 11:30, checked into our hotel, and hit the ground running! We stayed at the San Gallo Palace, which was about a 15-20 minute walk to the center of Florence. Like I've said in previous posts, we are willing to walk a bit to the action if it'll save us some money. The only pre-requisites are that the hotel is clean and safe. San Gallo Palace checks both of those boxes. 

  As we headed out to the sites, we were a bit taken aback by all the cars and noise after spending 3 days in Venice with no cars and minimal noise! 

Fun Fact: we walked past a Subway and it smells the exact same way it does in the States. So if you get a hankering for Subway in Europe, you can rest assured that it will taste like home, ha!

The first thing we did on our walk into the city was pick up our Firenze Cards. I did pretty extensive research on the pros and cons of the Firenze Card, and ultimately it was the right decision for us. The card is on the pricey side (72 euros) but the lines for Firenze Card holders at the museums were significantly shorter than that of general admission. Just like Venice, Florence is hot and very, very busy in the summer so this card was a lifesaver for my heat intolerant husband. Here's how the card works: the card is activated at the first museum you visit and then you have 72 hours to use the card. After 72 hours, the card expires (we were in Florence for 3 days so this was perfect). There was one museum we tried to go into that didn't accept the Firenze Card and we could've still gone in had we paid admission but we opted out of that since we spent so much on the card. Side note: FC cardholders do still have to go get tickets at a separate ticket counter in order to climb to the top of the duomo, to climb the Campanile, and to enter the Baptistry of St. John. 

We hit up the Galleria dell' Accademia to see the statue of David. I'll admit I was surprised at how big it was. I guess it's because in pictures it really doesn't look all that big. Like in the picture below. 

We headed over to Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (the duomo in Florence) next. We had decided early on that we were going to climb to the top but because I am so scared of heights, I wanted to wait until the next day. We got in line at the FC entrance and waited to be let in to check out ground floor church area. However, when we got inside we were immediately directed up a flight of stairs. We'd barely gone up two stairs when I realized that we were headed to the top. I panicked slightly. I was so unprepared! I wasn't mentally ready to climb to the top! But, I had no choice so to the top we went. I was terrified but the views are so, so worth it in the end!

That night, we dined at Golden View restaurant. Golden View is an American restaurant (there's one in Greenwich, CT). I wanted to go there because it overlooks the Ponte Vecchio. I
 had also read on pretty respected travel blog that the food was really good but I certainly wouldn't recommend going to this place for the food. The view maybe, but not the food. I had the four cheese ravioli with truffle cream sauce which was good but not outstanding. G had Florentine steak that was woefully overcooked. The tiramisu was very good and the highlight of our meal.

Now, here is where the Golden View does deliver-- after dinner we wanted to get a drink but it seems that bars like those in the States don't exist in Florence? However, as we were walking out we noticed a bar with two stools on the other side of the restaurant so we decided to check it out. Well, we ended up having a blast with the bartender Simone who was funny, knowledgeable, and engaging. We loved him! I would definitely recommend checking out the bar at Golden View! 

After that, it was back to the hotel to rest up for day 2 in Firenze! 


1 comment

  1. I need to go back and really enjoy Florence. It fell in the middle of a month long trip and I took a long nap instead of really exploring. It is so beautiful...


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