Italy Recap #3: Florence
One of the best places we stayed on our 3.5 week adventure was the apartment that we rented in Florence. We were about 1/2 block from the Duomo — perfect location to return to for mid-afternoon naps and early bedtimes. It was a one bedroom apartment, which was perfect for us — we could Lil to sleep and then talk/hang out/read/play on the internet without waking her. The apartment had been newly remodeled, and had air conditioning. We were especially thankful for the air conditioning given that temps were reaching over 100 for the entire time we were in Florence. Especially my heat-sensitive little peanut. She slept so well in the nicely air conditioned bedroom!
The apartment listing is here for those of you looking for Florence accommodations (or those of you wanting to check out where we stayed!). Jo at bookings for you was incredibly friendly & responded to all of my many emails quickly. I was hesitant to book an apartment that had no tripadvisor reviews, but we were really happy with it. Actually, we did have about 15 min of panic upon arriving to the apartment… I had the address & a map, but all of the doors on Borgo San Lorenzo had at least two numbers on them (below you can see the 17 to the right of the door and another number to the upper left of the door), and a few shopkeepers we asked were completely unable to help us.
The view from the apartment was also excellent!
On our first full day in Florence, we did a ton of walking.
The morning was spent orienting ourselves to the neighborhood around our apartment. In addition to being only 1/2 block from the Duomo, we were 1/2 block from a small convenience store (perfect for picking up diapers & snacks), 1/2 block from an outdoor market, and about 2 blocks from a fresh food market. Unfortunately for us, we didn’t end up visiting the food market until late in our stay, otherwise, I’m sure we would have enjoyed quite a few take-and-prepare meals in the apartment.
Lil was a trooper in her little pink stroller.
“There dog!” (Pointing + panting)
We let Lil out of the stroller to practice walking when we could. Finding an open spot with no vehicles/horses/tourists was tricky at times, but the giant smile on her face made the break in the action worth it. It was her vacation, too, and if what she wanted to do was walk, well, that was a pretty easy request to accommodate.
J & Lil in front of Palazzo Vecchio
We walked all the way across town to a scenic overlook to catch some great glimpses of the city.
We reached a sculpture garden just before getting to the overlook, and stopped for a few pictures.
We finally made it to the top, and the view from Piazzale Michaelangelo did not disappoint. We shot a few pictures and then grabbed two of the biggest, coldest bottles of water we could find. Did I mention that the heat was ridiculous? So. hot.
After a water break, we walked to the nearby San Miniato Basilica. The inside of the church was impressive. Beautifully painted ceilings, Byzantine-inspired mosaics, etc.
The best part, though was hearing the monks chant. We walked in just before the 5:30 mass was said, and were surprised when a group of monks began chanting in Latin (I think?). Amazing.
Of course, this little peanut wanted a snack, so our chant listening time was cut short.
We headed back down, stopping again in the sculpture garden.
We made our way to 4 Leoni for dinner, and I had the amazing pear pasta. (Only after I ate the pasta and my aunt posted a facebook message did I realize that this was a big deal. I mean, the pasta was fantastic, but my aunt informed me that she was given several recommendations to eat the pasta. So, let me pass on the recommendation to you: go to 4Leoni, eat the pear pasta, you won’t regret it.)
After dinner, we made our way North, back across the river towards the Duomo. The sunset blanketed the city in the coolest yellow/orange glow.
Then it was back to the apartment for some shut eye (Lil) and some internet surfing (J and I).
Our second day in Florence was a little more relaxed. We walked a bit more, did some shopping, ate some gelato from the shop next to our apartment building, and went inside the Duomo. For as incredible as the outside of the Duomo is, the inside wasn’t much to write home about.
We also visited the Galileo museum, which houses a lot of cool old scientific equipment. Kind of a perfect stop for two science nerds. :)
Our third day in Florence, we took a tour to a few nearby Tuscan towns… recap of that up next.