Firenze, Italy

December 01, 2015

It's been a while since I last wrote a post. November has been ridiculously busy - I popped to London for a few days and have been busy playing hostess to friends staying for the last couple of weekends. It's been really great to share all my new favourite places with all my old favourite people. 

So anyway, this weekend I had a little spontaneous trip to Firenze, somewhere I'd heard a LOT about and was very eager to visit. My friend Maeve was running the marathon there and since I know exactly how difficult that is, after running the London one in April, I was more than happy to go along and be standing at the sidelines this time instead!

 Having not had the time to plan my trip as immaculately as I might normally, I pretty much turned up at the station in Florence with absolutely no idea where to go or what to see. Of course, everyone knows about the Duomo, and luckily I stumbled across is pretty quickly.

I was totally unprepared for how beautiful it is. It is, literally, one of the most amazing buildings I've ever seen. I mean, you could stare at it for hours and hours.
Or I could have done, had I not needed to find the finish line of the Marathon to cheer on Maeve for the last couple of meters. Now, I've been slacking on the running front ever since I moved to Italy (pizza, pasta and endless bottles of wine are hardly synonymous with an athletic body) so I was actually incredible jealous of everyone crossing the finish line, and made a mental note to dig out my trainers as soon as I got home.

After complaining that she hadn't been training, Maeve finished in an amazing time of 4 hrs 18! 

So we had prosecco to celebrate, obviously...
We then wandered (hobbled) home, stopping to take in the beautiful sunset across the Ponte Vecchio on the way.

After a few hours nap (I'm impressed Maeve made it out at all, since I remember being pretty much dead after my marathon) we headed out to find some dinner... and to see all the Christmas lights. Whilst most tourists tend to visit Florence in summer, it turns out that it is sooooo festive in winter!

The next day we headed out to do all the cultural stuff. Maeve made me wait until Monday to do the famous gallery, the Uffizi, but of course we are in Italy and it turned out it was closed. Very European. 

So we went to the Palazzo Strozzi instead, which I would absolutely recommend. It's a stunning building (although it would be a hard task to find one that isn't in this city), and we wandered around the Bellezza Divina exhibition, which was basically a showcase of modern religious artwork including pieces by Van Gogh, Chagall and Munch. It was 4 euro for students and was well worth it! 

It's on until the 24th June 2016:
 We then went back to the Duomo and took some obligatory pictures...

Before stopping for the most important thing in Tuscany: food. 

Florence is pretty touristy, but considering we hadn't done any real research we got really lucky with restaurants. This place was amazing, a tiny little local shop where we ate a salumi board, drunk a litre of delicious Sangiovese and chatted away with the man behind the counter in Italian. 

(Or rather Maeve did, as I struggled to keep up.)
It is called Alimentari Uffizi and is a very small, cute shop/restaurant with four tiny tables - when we came in there was a large table of Italians, which is normally a good indicator of quality. It's also very reasonable - we had a litre of wine and a very large plate of bruschetta, cheese, sundried tomates and ham - with refills - for 18 euro each.

Happily full (and a little tipsy - what else is there to do on a Monday afternoon in Italy?) we wandered back along the river to collect our bags. The lighting provided more photo opportunities...

 I have to admit, I was a little worried that Florence would be overrated. What I love about Bologna is that it's so untouristy - pretty much every restaurant is good quality, and nothing is overpriced. But Florence was undeniably beautiful and impossible not to fall in love with! And I still have so much more to see, so I'm sure I'll be back before I leave Italy for good. 

Ciao for now!

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