Florence is just absolutely gorgeous, laid-back and friendly!
It is my second time to Italy but my first time to Florence.
I’ve heard so much about Florence from A because she is so in love with this city.
She calls it a very “liveable city”, full of nice people and not as flooded with tourists compared to Rome.
Florence is quiet, small and cosy to be in, but for me, it was the day trips we took from Florence totally blew my mind.
They had so much to offer and were so different from what I had experienced in Rome.
We took a train from Rome to Florence.
I had a hard time understanding how things were done and a lot of their local websites are all in Italian.
Fortunately with the help of my friends, I managed to book the train tickets in advance,
and totally skipped getting the rail pass which I initially wanted to buy because buying loose tickets was cheaper for our itinerary.
The train ride was pretty scenic and enjoyable!
Our AirBnb apartment in Florence iss 4 train stops away from the main Central Station so it’s pretty darn convenient.
I love this apartment because it’s huge!
Erm.. And this is us waiting by the road because we arrived early and our host was not around yet. :p
Looking homeless. Haha!
And I’m looking freaking cui. Walking around with a 20-something-kg backpack is no joke.
I love you, my trusty rucksack! Thank you for always roughing it out with me! (Not like you have a choice anyway ya?) :p
Oh. The house!
It’s big and spacious; somewhat a three-level house with a loft and basement.
Ok, 2 and a half storeys to be exact.
This is a usual sight whenever we reach a new apartment; bags all sprawled all over the place,
touring around with a camera in hand to grab a few decent pictures of the house before
the random panties and bras get hung around the house to be dried. Hahaha!
One of the bedrooms is at the loft area. Mom’s and Aunt’s.
Decent toilet. *important*
I always get inspired when I get to see how the Europeans do up their apartments.
Two old suitcases as coffee table? Not a lot of Singaporeans do that ya?
Our bedroom (and living area) is in the basement.
And can someone enlighten me on what this thing is for?
Looks like a vintage gym equipment or like a torture structure of some kind. 😡
Here’s the other side of the basement!
It was already late afternoon by the time we were done with the slight unpacking and settling down,
so we spent the rest of the day roaming around the city centre.
I know it sounds very ironic – but I really enjoy being away from the tourists.
As much as I love the magnificent buildings and hustle and bustle in Rome,
it’s nice to be in the smaller city of Florence too. Enchanting!
I don’t mean to be a shallow tourist who only takes pictures and cannot remember the names of the places I’ve been.
But I really cannot remember where this is. Hahahaha.
All I know is, at the foot of the building, stands a replica of the famous boy.
(OK, truth is, I forgot his name. I showed A the picture and asked “Who’s this guy?” And she said David.)
So yes, David. I am such a letdown.
The entire square has lots of statues from Greek mythology.
There is also a spot in the square which marks the spot where a certain someone was once executed.
You can read all about the stories here.
Ok, Google tells me this place is Palazzo Vecchio.
We visited Ponte Vecchio, a charming little bridge with gold merchants on both sides of the bridge.
It also offers a nice view of the river, especially at sunset!
Most of the shops on the bridge were already closed when we were there.
But look at the old looking wooden “doors” of the shops behind us. Aren’t there cute? 😀
We had dinner at the other side of the river and hence had the opportunity to take this
nice picture of the bridge from afar in the evening and at nightfall.
– – –
The following day, we woke up bright and early (too early) to visit the famed Duomo in the city of Florence.
Duomo basically means an Italian cathedral church. So don’t confuse this one with the Gothic Duomo in Milan.
The cathedral is absolutely breathtaking! There is so much to see on its facade I don’t even know where to begin.
I have no idea how the Italians can do such insanely spectacular paintings back in those days.
I know I’ve said it a million times, but I’m still gonna say it again.
They were geniuses!
I know it looks like it’s not very high from the picture you see above.
But oh-my-gees, the climb up to the dome (and later to the TOP of the dome) almost took my little unfit life!
The stairwell was small and there were hardly any daylight. I would have freaked out if I was claustrophobic.
You know how they always say no pain no gain?
THIS, is the fruit of our labour.
We climbed 600 over steps to get up here.
Thus, I seek your understanding for the many selfies I’m about to post. :p
I woke up the following morning with aching butt cheeks.
But I did not regret dragging myself up that dome.
A said that out of St Peters in Rome, and the duomos in Milan and Florence, I had to at least climb up one.
“Experience of a lifetime,” she says.
I’m glad I’ve at least tried one. Haha!
We had a day trip out to Pisa and to visit the vineyards for lunch and a short wine tasting session.
Before that, we popped by Monteriggioni, a small province in the Tuscany region.
It is a small medieval walled town built during the Middle Ages as a defensive fortification during the Siena/Florence war.
According to our tour guide, when this town was captured, all of the 14 square towers surrounding the city were literally chopped half as a sign of submission to Florence.
To me, it is still a pretty place.
I’m so shallow.
A is telling me how she ran around the city walls (when the towers were still intact) in her Assassins Creed game.
The Tuscany region is gorgeous and picturesque!
And so is our guide at the vineyard. Hahaha! #humsup
He runs the vineyard (left behind by his great-great-great-grandfather) with his family now.
See! Got wine only, my mother smile until so unnaturally happy. HAHAHA!
I hereby announce that wine pairing is too cheem for me.
But apparently, there is no right or wrong because taste is subjective.
So do not judge me when you see me eating Huat Kway with red wine in future. :p
Friendly American family we were on the tour with.
AND OH MY GOD!
It is basically just a slanted building.
We also had the “best gelato in Italy” in San Gimignano.
I didn’t have any because I had too much wine. 😡
But I stole a mouthful of mint flavoured gelato from A, and it has real mint leaves in it!
Never seen any mint gelato like that.
– – –
Florence is also just 40 mins drive away from The Mall, an outlet with many many big brands!
There’s not much pictures to take over there, but it’s worth a visit if you’re looking at getting some good bargains. 🙂
There is a bus that takes you directly to The Mall from SITA bus depot 2 mins away from the S.M Novella Station.
Bus ride costs 5 euro each way, and you can purchase the tickets directly at the depot before departure.
Bought a pair of fancy shoes and A bought me a nice camera bag as birthday gift.
And A ate this mega Florentine steak all by herself. *insert stun face*
– – –
The next day, we visited one of my favouritest place in Italy.
This place is such a colourful sea town, and every corner is postcard-worthy.
(A says their lemons are as big as 5 regular lemons put together)
So pretty! (I added some filters to enhance the colours) :p
They serve some funky seafood there. This one is called the scampi.
But that handmade pasta was so delicious.
When I close my eyes and imagine, I can still smell the air there.
Man, I miss this place.
Stay tuned for more, as I bring you to see Venice through my camera lens. 🙂