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3 May 2016

Falling in Love with Firenze

After spending just under a fortnight in our Greek paradise, it was time to wave goodbye to Corfu and set off back towards our beloved England. We were however going to take our time doing it...

We travelled across the Ionian Sea on a faster boat than the one before, cosied up in our cabin with thick white duvets and fresh cookies from the on-board cafe. After a 14 hour crossing, we found ourselves back in Ancona, and extremely excited for the next part of our holiday.

At around 9.30pm, we crawled quietly into the street where our accommodation was situated, and gasped with glee as we caught a glimpse of a beautiful dome in the evening sky... Where were we staying? Well Florence, of course!


Mr MM and I had wanted to stay in Florence for a very long time, and so it seemed like a great idea to squeeze in a visit on our way home. We would only have a day there, but we were going to make it an amazing one.

We rose early, filling up on Italian coffee and freshly baked local delicacies at our gorgeous bed and breakfast. After a quick trip to the nearby tabbachi to buy a ticket, we hopped onto a bus with the locals, bemused and slightly disorientated by the babble and chatter around us, but enjoying the journey all the same.

Our first stop was the Piazza de San Marco, from where we walked to the Galleria dell'Accademia. Founded in 1784, it is one of the most well-known museums in the world - and I think I can stab a guess at why that is...

The Accademia has been the home of Michelangelo's David since 1873, a well-recognised sculpture in the art world. Getting to see David in the flesh was a truly wonderful experience - he is arguably one of the artist's most impressive masterpieces, which is reflected in the fact it took him over two years to create.

But this is not the only highlight of the gallery; there are plenty of amazing paintings from the Renaissance period to feast your eyes on, as well as a particular favourite of ours, the Museum of Musical Instruments, which features some of the earliest pianos and string instruments. Well worth a visit!

After spending a couple of hours perusing the halls of the gallery, we made our way through the winding streets towards Firenze's most beloved feature; Il Duomo.



As we approached, I had a strange feeling of reverence for the cathedral, and sitting with cappuccinos underneath its slightly imposing shadows, we couldn't help but simply stare at the beautiful architecture.

Looking inside, your eyes are immediately drawn to the amazing frescoes of the Last Judgement, painted on the interior of Brunelleschi's famous dome. We did however make the controversial decision not to climb to the top of the cupola... More on why that was in a minute!



Whenever someone says the words 'Italy' or 'Italian' to me, I regret to say that the first word that pops into my head is not 'history' or 'culture' but is, in fact, 'gelato'. It was therefore a priority for us to visit one of Florence's many fantastic ice cream parlours next.


As you can see, the portions were pretty generous! {That was however reflected in the price...} I went for Amaretto, and of course, it was delicious.

The afternoon was creeping up on us, and we didn't have long before we'd have to hop back into the car and continue on our travels, so with a burst of energy from the gelato, Mr Maggie May and I excitedly headed towards our next destination; Palazzo Vecchio.


Overlooking the Piazza della Signoria, the city's town hall is a stunning building, and well worth a look from the outside. However, I had been reliably informed that if we were running short on time, wanted cracking views across Firenze, and yet wanted to avoid the stagnant queues for the cupola at Il Duomo, then this would be our best bet.

Up and up the hall's tower we went, until suddenly, we stumbled out onto a sun-drenched balcony... And the city of Florence was sprawled in front of us.



Honestly? It was one of the best views I've seen in my life. And the greatest part? You can actually see the Duomo in your city landscape, as opposed to using it as your viewpoint!



We snapped lots of photos, not daring to leave until we had at least twenty versions of the same shot - it's not one you want to get wrong!

Meeting up with my parents again at the bottom, we ambled to the pretty Ponte Vecchio and Ponte Trinita.




Then grabbing the car, we went up past the Piazza Michelangelo towards the Basilica San Miniato. This would be our last stop in Florence, so we wanted to make it a good one - and we weren't disappointed.


It is often said that the views from up here are exquisite, and that was certainly how we felt when we got there.



Peering back at the spread of restaurants, boutiques, wine bars and museums, we were sad to say goodbye to this incredibly special city, but with our itinerary before us, we bundled into the car for the next part of our adventure. We all fell in love with Firenze that day, and I can't wait for us to return. Watch this space!

Have you read the other posts in my European Adventure series? 

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