My weekend in Florence was filled with A LOT of walking, beautiful sites and a lot of history. I stayed for two days and wish I had more time to explore but I was lucky to see everything I wanted.
I got into the Santa Maria Novella Train station on Saturday which wonderfully was already right in the middle of town so we didn't have to do much walking.
The first thing we (my couch surfing friend and I) saw was the Duomo and it was my favorite sight in Florence. The colors and textures of the church are un real. I love the look of the white marble against the pink and green shades. It was obvious that a lot of work went into the building. I didn't have time to go inside but I wasn't too concerned since I heard from locals that the outside steals the spotlight.
The Ponte Vecchio (which is translated to old bridge) is another must see in Florence. It is a Medieval stone arch bridge over the Arno River. The bridge has a ton of shops along it as it did initially. It was nice to walking over the bridge and knowing there is so much rich history under your feet!
The Ponte Vecchio
For lunch we went to the All'Antico Vinaio panino (sandwich) shop which has great panino’s and is close to the Uffizi Gallery. The sandwiches are only 5 Euros and you get a large portion for your moneys worth. The bread is nice and thick which a heaping amount of fillings. There is usually a line but it goes by pretty fast so it is worth the 5-10 min wait. Im not sure what sandwich I had but it was either the La Dante or La boss. Since everything was in Italian I just asked for the most popular sandwich. The sandwich was so filling it lasted me until dinner time (Italian time, 8:30-9pm).
After lunch we had reserved tickets to the Uffizi Gallery. Both reserved and non reserved lines were long but the non reserved lines were definitely longer. A couple famous paintings in the Uffizi Gallery are the Primavera and the Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli and the Duke and Duchess of Urbino by Piero della Francesca. It took about 1.5 hours to complete the gallery.
Birth of Venus
inside the Uffizi Gallery
The ceiling in the Uffizi Gallery
One of the sculpture in the Uffizi Gallery
We ended the day looking inside the Santissima Anunziata and San Marco churches which was recommend by a local. The outside of the churches dont compare to the Duomo of course but the inside of both were absolutely stunning.
San Marco Church
Inside the Santissima Anunziata
Inside the San Marco Church
I wasn't planning on going out Saturday night but we ended up going to “Jazz Bar Firenze”. You have to pay a 6 Euro membership but it gets you a free drink so it wasn't a hassle. One thing that is different in Italy is that in some bars you have to buy the drink at the register first then give the receipt to the bartender. I usually sit back and watch a couple people ahead of me so I know how the bar works!
On Sunday I started of the day going to the Piazzale Michelangelo which is a lookout where you can see a panoramic view of Florence. I went on a cloudy day but it was still worth going up there and enjoying the view.
Me at the Piazzale Michelangelo
I took a quick train ride to Pisa which was about 1.5 Hours to Pisa from Florence and a 1 hour direct train from Pisa back to Florence. I misread the train ticket (it was in miltary time) so my time in Pisa was cut short since I had reservations to see The David before the Galleria Dell Academia closed that night. But the quick trip was definitely worth it just to say that I’ve seen the leaning tower of Pisa. Pisa is a cute town that seemed to hold a lot of hidden treasures. If I had more time I would of spent a half day in Pisa.
Piazza dei Miracoli in Pisa
Walking the streets of Pisa
The leaning tower of Pisa
Walking the streets of Pisa
After Pisa I went to the Galleria dell’Accademia to see Michelangelo's sculpture David among some of his other sculptures. There is also a collection of renaissance paintings. The David is spectacular in Person and bigger than expected. Standing at about 17 feet (5.17 meters) tall the detail is phenomenal. Knowing that he was created out a single block of marble its unremarkable how much time and detail could go into a sculpture. It is definitely a must see. I would recommend pre reserving tickets online to avoid long lines.
My time in Florence was short but I definitely made use of my time by walking a whopping 39932 steps on my first day in the city! My legs were definitely sore at the end of day.