***Warning – long post ahead so grab a drink and a biscuit!***
We left not so bright and not so early on the day we were supposed to go to Florence, and with a fair amount of driving to get there, we arrived around 11am in the city.
Once the car parked, we headed straight into the city centre looking for an early lunch. First stop was Mercato di San Lorenzo, a covered market where the locals do their grocery shopping.
Don’t get fooled by the market rustic feel at the entrance! Head toward the middle of the building and upstairs where you will find a very trendy indoor food market. You can order from various market stalls and sit down to enjoy your pick. That was lunch sorted for us!
Once done with our respective panini and pizza, we headed out toward the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, one of the most famous sights in Florence.
The facade of the cathedral will probably remind you of Siena‘s cathedral. White and dark marbles cover the outside walls. A true architectural wonder!
Make sure to visit the inside which is as impressive as the outside with its ceiling frescos.
Here is a little tip for the best view of Florence cathedral! Walk to the back of the Cathedral and head toward the Biblioteca delle Oblate (the public library), enter the library, go to the top floor and tadaaaaah! One of the best views of the cathedral! It’s our little secret now, don’t tell anyone!
Back in the street, we headed to our next stop, the famous Gilli on Piazza della Repubblica for a coffee break.
Well caffeinated, we started our walk through Florence streets and markets and walked to the Palazzo Vecchio.
On the outside, you will find an ‘outdoor’ museum (the Loggia) with multiple statues displayed, some very famous such as David’s statue.
As we were running a little bit late that day, we decided not to visit the museum, however, I visited it before and if you have the time it is ABSOLUTELY worth it, as well as so many other activities if you have more time in Florence!
We quickly swung by Piazza di Santa Croce to have a look at the Basilica of Santa Croce.
Our next stop, Ponte Vecchio of course! If you have only seen one picture of Florence ever, chances are it is one of the Ponte Vecchio.
Now, let’s be real here, it is PACKED with tourists so being on the bridge itself isn’t that pleasant. So make sure to dedicate plenty of time to take pictures of the bridge rather than being on it.
The bridge is famously covered with houses and shops, almost all of them are jewellery stores! Unsurprisingly, you will see women stopping a lot and men pulling them away from the shops’ windows (a little gender cliche but I was myself guilty!).
Once on the other side, we took a moment to appreciate the views of the Corridoio Vasariano and the river Arno, before heading toward Piazzale Michelangelo.
We climbed, and climbed, and climbed, and started to have a glimpse of the breathtaking view that was waiting for us at the top.
Make sure to reach Piazzale Michelangelo for the sunset. You will be in for a treat of a lifetime!
We took a few pictures, but it was getting so busy that we decided to look for a quieter spot and to climb even higher to Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte.
We visited the hilltop church which is tiny so it only takes 10 minutes and then sat to watch the sunset.
Once the sun was fully gone for the day, we headed back down looking for a nice spot for dinner and ended at Trattoria Cammillo which I highly recommend.
Here you go! If you have a day in Florence, follow our steps and you won’t be disappointed!