Firenze, Italy! Also known as Florence.

I once had a friend tell me that being in Florence is like falling in love. And now that I’ve been there; I know exactly what she meant. Despite the city being new and unexplored to me; it felt familiar and welcoming as soon as I arrived. Do you remember when you fell in love with the right guy and it was like, “ohhhh.…THIS is what it’s supposed to be like.” Florence was the traveling version of that for me. It’s entertaining and enlightening and effortless. Culture and art are infused into everything, so no searching is required. The legacy of the Renaissance is ubiquitous, so I felt the influence as I was strolling along the cobblestone streets as much as when I was standing in front of Michelangelo’s David. Okay, maybe not quite as much. David felt alive. For someone who isn’t especially interested in or knowledgeable about art, I’m always surprised when a piece of art really moves me. I was completely captured by David. The rest of the Galleria dell’ Accademia (David’s home since 1873) was a bit of a bore for me. But, a visit to the Galleria is worth the €6.50/person in my opinion even if only to gawk at David’s brilliance. (Funny sidenote: before moving to Europe; if you ever heard me use the word “Galleria,” you could be certain I was talking about a mall.)

 The real David. Taken from a distance because it's frowned upon to photograph him. And by "frowned upon" I mean strictly forbidden.

A copy of David outside Palazzo Vecchio


Santa Maria del Fiore, more commonly known as the Duomo (cathedral) of Florence, is breathtaking. I would rank my first view of the Duomo up there with the time we stumbled upon the Eiffel Tower in Paris. (How do you stumble upon something as massive as the Eiffel Tower? I don’t know. It happened, though.) The façade of the Duomo is white, green and pink Tuscan marble (I’m pretty sure that’s true). Everything about the architecture is magnificent; from the domes to the floors, and all the windows and doors in between. I wasn’t expecting the Duomo to be so massive or dominating, but it really is. It’s actually the tallest building in Florence which I found very interesting. Beau and I were in Florence over Easter weekend and were like, “hey, let’s go to Easter mass at the Duomo!” Guess what. ALL of Florence goes to the Duomo for Easter mass! Duh. Oh well, it was a grand idea.



Is that not the prettiest window you've ever seen?!


Piazzale Michelangelo is a wonderful place to take in Florence’s exceptional beauty. The square boasts a panoramic view of the city and copies of Michelangelo’s works including David. (The copies are NOT the same experience, though. Don’t justify skipping out on Galleria dell’ Accademia just because you’ve seen a copy of David in either Palazzo Vecchio or Piazzale Michelangelo. I can’t explain it, but I assure you it’s not the same as seeing the real thing.) The only negative about Piazzale Michelangelo is the souvenir peddlers who congregate here. The plethora of fake Louis Vuittons is so out of place against the backdrop of the beautiful Florence.



We stayed in Florence for four days, one of which we spent biking to Chianti with IBikeTuscany. I could have done without this experience. I hadn't biked in quite some time and the roads were too busy and narrow for my liking. The fact that I was concentrating on not dying adversely affected my ability to appreciate the Tuscan countryside. Beau and I decided we would have preferred a horse-back riding excursion: a little slower, a little sturdier, a little more likely to hold its own against a Fiat. But, the people who were comfortable on bikes loved this tour! So, don’t count it out just because I have bad balance and a phobia of getting hit by cars. (Seriously. You should see me walk around in NYC…so timid and dorky looking. I’ve voluntarily gone sky-diving but refuse to jay-walk. An example of why phobias are defined as IRRATIONAL fears.)

 I look like I'm enjoying myself, don't I? That smile is a lie.


Do you know how you can tell I really loved Florence? I've written a solid page and haven’t even mentioned food yet! Don’t fret; the food in Florence is also worth raving about. My in-laws treated me and Beau to an anniversary dinner and we decided to celebrate at Enoteca le Barrique. SUCH a good call. The food is described as Tuscan/Asian fusion and it was unlike anything we had during our time in Italy. The owner personally helped us decide on our meal as well as a wine to compliment our taste and entrees. It was one of those meals where we both kept exclaiming how good each bite was as we devoured our dishes. We walked home from dinner with bellies full of great wine and food. I distinctly remember holding my husband’s hand as we made our way back to our hotel thinking, “I can’t believe this is my life.” That’s just what Florence does to you!

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