Italian Holiday Part 2 - Florence
After a couple whirlwind delicious days in Rome we took a train from Rome to Florence. The train was easy, especially when you have wine, cheese, salumi and fresh figs to tide you over. Honestly, I probably could have stayed on that train for a lot longer, watching that gorgeous Tuscan countryside whizz by.
Florence was gorgeous, romantic and historical - but very touristy. Even though I myself was a tourist I was not prepared for the amount of tourists in that city. We saw most of the major sites - the Ufitzi, the Pont de Vecchio , the Duomo, and the Acadamia. We missed the Boboli Gardens. Yours truly may have had a little meltdown in the heat -the tourists and a hangover didn't help.
The Duomo was glorious. The pink and green marble was gorgeous. It looks like something out of a movie and completely fake (I am sensing a theme here Italy). It is hard to believe that they started building that over 700 years ago! The inside was just a pretty. Unfortunately we did not get a chance to climb up to the top - I bet the view was gorgeous.
Of course no trip to Florence is complete without paying your respects to the major Renaissance art that lives there (and was born there). We saw the amazing art of the Uffitzi - most notably, Botticelli's Birth of Venus which was incredible and completely stunning. This might be one of my favorite paintings...ever. She was also really popular with all of my fellow tourists so it was hard to get a shot without the back of people's heads.
I had never really had an appreciation for sculpture until this trip. That form of art has never really spoken to me but that all changed with the gorgeous work of Michelangelo. The David and his work in the Medici Chapel is simply stunning. So insane to think that something so beautiful could come out of a piece of rock.
We stayed at Riva Lofts, right outside the city center. I whole heartedly recommend it. Florence was packed with tourists (did I tell you that already?) and it was HOT - so it was nice to get away from the madness. Riva Lofts is just over the main river that runs through Florence and has a pool and an outdoor area that was perfect for an afternoon drink and a dip.
Now onto where we ate and drank in Florence.
To be honest, I was not blown away by the food in Florence. (I know I feel horrible saying that!) The food was wonderful, but there was nothing that really stands out in my mind except for this amazing sandwich we grabbed just before heading to Tuscany from a random deli. I have no idea where it was or how to visit it again - but it was so simple and delicious: fresh focaccia with mozzarella, tomato and prosciutto (lots and lots of prosciutto) .
On our first night we ate 4 Leone . It is a bit touristy but if you can sit outside, it is worth it. Located in a gorgeous piazza it looks like something straight out of a movie. Plus they served the most delicious appetizer - fresh figs with salumi. YUM! After dinner you can walk over and grab gelato from Gelateria Della Passera. Their pistachio gelato was perfection.
Il Santo Bevitore everyone raved about this restaurant. I thought the food was good, not mind-blowing but good(my standards might be too high - occupational hazard). But the ambiance was perfect. Dark and dreamy, the perfect place to get lost in a bottle of red wine.
We found this little deli in the main city center called 'Ino that made sandwiches and sold perishable goods like local honey and sun-dried tomatoes. I brought a bunch of their products home and I can't wait to cook with them.
There were some other random spots that we found in Florence like the Santa Maria Novella perfumery that apparently stilll sells the exact perfume that Catherine de Medici wore. The store itself is also a historical treasure - so ornate and gorgeous.
I also found the best vintage home store ever - Ub. I literally wanted everything in that store. I managed to snag a couple of food styling props because even when I am traveling I am always thinking about food photography. (I think it may be a disease)
We also saw the most remarkable sunset over Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo which overlooks all of Florence. The skyline at sunset is incredible, the with Duomo rising above everything else.
Our time in Florence was too short. I imagine that we missed a lot but that just means we will have to go back, right? Last stop on our Italian holiday is Tuscany, saving the best for last. Stay tuned.