I know, you must be thinking…having been to Florence so many times, how can I possibly not yet be bored with it all? And while that answer is simple, because I unconditionally love the city, I did get to try out a bunch of new things this trip.
Florence is a place that can’t even be completely savored in a semester’s time, let alone a few days on vacation. Florence has so much to offer, and that’s what makes it a place I love going back to. From museums, to restaurants, gardens, and churches, my to do list is always growing and never-ending.
Here are some things I was able to check off during my Florence 2017 trip!
Separate from the Boboli Gardens (which in my opinion have really gone down hill in the past couple years,) is the magnificent and impeccably pruned Bardini Gardens. They are a little difficult to find. I’m going to be honest…we had so much trouble finding them as seasoned veterans of the city. They have two different entrance points, one from the top near Fort Belvedere and the other from Via Bardi at the bottom of the gardens. Filled with manicured greenery, luscious purple wisteria, and Renaissance sculptures, it’s worth the visit over Boboli. Bring a book to enjoy at the cafe, or a camera to snap some pictures of the gorgeous views of the Duomo and hills of Tuscany. I really wish I got to spend more time here exploring and relaxing.
A quaint small town outside of Florence that is easily accessible by bus. It has rich history, local vibes, and crazy views of the Tuscan landscape. Blog post soon to come on, you won’t want to miss it!
This 14th century Franciscan church is a treasure of all aspects of Florence. From tombs of famous Florentines, to a prestigious leather school, to the Pazzi Chapel, you’ll want to spend some quality time here. I had visited Santa Croce in the past, but I didn’t connect with it the way I did this time. I felt this special bond and was able to explore and learn much more than I had previously. Check out my post to read more!
While we were about 2 weeks too early to see these gardens in beautiful bloom, we did find them which is something I had been wanting to do since my semester abroad. They didn’t disappoint, read more on the Rose Gardens here!
We got lucky with Santo Spirito. With very odd hours, I had been trying to catch it at the right time on many different occasions. On our last day we just happened to be in Piazza Santo Spirito at the perfect moment. It’s exterior is iconic and unlike another other church in Florence, and inside hangs the famous 15th century wooden crucifix carved by Michelangelo. It was really special to finally get to admire it. Here are Santo Spirito’s hours, if you’re looking to visit.
Palazzo Medici Riccardi
My apartment when I was studying abroad was on Via de Ginori, and my window not only had an amazing view of the Duomo, but looked right into the courtyard of Palazzo Medici Riccardi. It’s one of the lavish palaces that the Medici family owned during the Renaissance period and it’s now a museum open to the public. I think it’s funny…even though I spent 4 months staring out my window into the stunning courtyard of the Palazzo, I never actually made it in for a visit. It’s definitely a hidden gem and the courtyard is a lovely spot to pass some time, appreciate the orange trees, mosaics, and sculptures. (Be sure to make it inside to see the Chapel of the Magi and frescoed ceilings!)
Greve in Chianti
I’ve been to San Gimignano, Pontassieve, Rufina, Lucca, and many other cute spots in Tuscany, but Greve in Chianti was a first. It was a quaint town. Kids were playing fútbol in the huge piazza and locals meandered through the smalls streets enjoying daily life. The highlight though, was visiting Antica Macelleria Falorni. Originally a delicatessen and enoteca, it is now also a place where you can get specialty gelato. How does mozzarella gelato topped with prosciutto sound? Or honey gelato with pecorino cheese? We were hesitant at first too, but decided to try it because we had never seen anything like it before. It was delicious. Sorry no pictures to show, we devoured it way too fast for that!
So for Florence 2017² or Florence 2018 here are some things on my horizon! Let me know if you have any advice or recommendations, it would be greatly appreciated 🙂
Duomo Museum (Museo dell’Opera del Duomo)
I’m usually not a museum person, but I have heard wonderful things about the newly renovated museum. It houses the original doors of the Duomo’s baptistery and Brunelleschi’s different models and sketches for the famous Dome.
Galileo Science Museum
This and the da Vinci Museum have always been low priority for me, but next time I want to give them a try. I’ve heard you can find three of Galileo’s fingers here on display! Any thoughts if it’s worth the visit?
There is quite a lot of mystery surrounding the Vasari Corridor, which peaks a lot of interest in curious tourists, myself included. It’s now under renovation for the next couple of years, but prior it was limited to special appointment only for visitors. Why the secrecy?! The Corridor stretches from the Uffizi Gallery, over the Ponte Vecchio, and ends at the Pitti Palace. It served as a safe and quick way for the Medici’s to commute from the Palace to the Palazzo Vecchio during the Renaissance Era and now is a place that displays paintings and self-portraits. I have heard it’s not worth the hype, agreed?
Can you believe I STILL haven’t made it to Siena?! Recommendations needed please.
Located in Piazza della Signorina, Palazzo Vecchio was and remains the Town Hall and epicenter of Florence. Inside is a courtyard, museum of Cosimo‘s royal living quarters, and the Grand Hall. I’m dying to see the Grand Hall after learning about da Vinci’s missing painting, Battle of Anghiari. (I’d also like to climb the clock tower, you know how I love a good view.)