18 May 2011

Italy adventure: Florence!

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: travel

While I was editing more photos tonight, I decided to mix it up a bit and make this post solely about Florence because I have MORE than enough photos to share! The next installment will be Siena/Venice and the end of my trip. Okay, let’s get started!

The second leg of my Italian adventure included getting from Rome to Florence and testing my skills at reading European train station signs, something I haven’t done since 2000. The whole Rome Termini experience and getting on the correct train (and being in the correct seat) for Florence was a little dramatic, but it all worked out :) Leaving Rome was tough but I was ready to slow down on the all-day, force march tourist stuff and relax.

Well, that didn’t totally happen because once I was done sight seeing, I went in to full on eating mode.

Literally, I ate in Florence like I have never eaten before.

Here’s a sample of my daily eating schedule:

  • Light breakfast (cappuccino and croissant)
  • First lunch (sandwich or focacia)
  • Second lunch (same as above – but from a different place)
  • Mid-afternoon snack (gelato and/or red wine)
  • Dinner (appetizer, pasta and optional dessert – plus red wine)
  • Post-dinner treat/second dessert

Yep, that is literally how I ate almost every day for five days in Florence. Sure, I was still walking around a lot but not as much as Rome, so I got a little tired at times :) I blame the red wine on that.

There was great food in every place I visited but I definitely sampled the most in Florence.

Oh yeah, and in between eating, I also saw some gorgeous sites. Let’s take a closer look.

Me at the Duomo – Yes, it makes me look MORE petite

Full frontal Duomo. The beauty and size of this place literally knocked me back

View down Via dei Calzaioli (main road in Florence), love the flags!

Palazzo Vecchio (which greets you at the end of Via dei Calzaioli), I mean, wow

Hi postcard scene at the Piazza San Marco, I mean, really?

Me in front of the Ponte Vecchio (yeah, it’s gorgeous)

The hill of stairs to climb for San Miniato – aka where I got sunburned

Me at the Piazzale Michaelangiolo (oh yeah and a killer view behind me)

Yeah that view is so gorgeous, let’s get a closer look (without me in it!)

Yeah that’s pretty damn gorgeous

And then when I got back from the Piazzalo, I ran in to a random parade, literally.


The vibe between Florence and Rome was totally different. Rome is very fast pace, big city, lots to do and see and Florence is a bit more laid back. Things open later, it is smaller and honestly, more crowded with tourists. This isn’t a bad thing, but I found it harder to find those little off-the-beaten-path places I wanted.

But, similar to Rome, it was tough to say goodbye when I left. I found some amazing places to eat and saw some really beautiful things, but alas, it was time to move on.

Side note: Jersey Shore is filming their latest season in Florence right now, which has been VERY unpopular with the locals (even the American students). Sadly, I missed their arrival by four days (actually, I’m not sad). Next time Snooki, it is ON.


  1. So glad you loved Florence and all it had to offer! Florence was my favorite large city in Italy, and I agree with your observations of shops opening later. When I stayed in Florence, we accidentally got off the beaten path by this little hotel we stayed at and ended up having the best pizza of our life at this little bar called Semolina. And then we stumbled upon a beer festival.

    Funny how in cities that large, you can still stumble upon things that you never imagined you would see.

  2. katelin says:

    adore the recap, florence really was my favorite place. and seriously how amazing is the duomo?? i could never get over how beautiful it was.

  3. gorgeous photos!!!

  4. i loved love loved florence! such great pictures! i love the ones from Piazzale Michaelangiolo. I never made it up there – I chose to go to the top of the duomo at sunset.

  5. Ali says:

    Wow, so glad you got to experience Florence. I LOVED it so much there, and the food! THE FOOD. Reading this made me miss it… :)

  6. Marjolein says:

    These pictures bring back so many happy memories for me – we got engaged on top of the cupola of the duomo, and my fiancé bought me an engagement ring on the ponte vecchio.

    Great quality pictures by the way! Did you make these with your new DSLR?

  7. phampants says:

    OH! I forgot to tell you to go to the renown gelato place in Florence!

    And yes, the food in Florence is superb!

  8. allison says:

    my friend hannah lived there for a semester and loved it.

  9. wishful nals says:

    gorgeous photos! and love your itinerary. mine always revolves around food, too. especially when traveling! xo

  10. Maki says:

    Aw beautiful photos! Where is my favorite food pictures?? lol

    I did hear Jersey Shore filming there and I heard on CNN that one of students from UF was kicked out from school because she or he partied with the crew there in Italy. The school sent out all the students learning abroad in Italy for a program need to be aware that if the same situation arises, they better be ready to be kicked out. It’s such dilemma, isn’t it? School or Jersey Shore? I honestly believe Jersey Shore not only give NJ a bad name, but now they’re giving all American a bad name. sigh.

  11. Heidi Renée says:

    I never realized that Jersey Shore was going to be in Florence. I guess I figured they’d put them in Rome!

    I think those people who live/work on Ponte Vecchio are crazy.

  12. Carolyn says:

    I didn’t get a chance to go to Florence!! I hope one day I will though!! You made me hungry though. There is nothing better than gelato in Italy. Nothing comes even close here!!

  13. Grace says:

    Florence looks beautiful. It sounds like more my pace but too bad there are so many tourists. Is it because of the show filming there or is it just more popular?

  14. A Super Girl says:

    Ahhh, Florence. My personal fave. Did you shop in the markets?! Did you climb the Duomo?! Did you buy gold on the Ponte Vecchio?!

  15. Erin says:

    The next time you go to Florence (and I’m assuming there will be a next time!) can I go with you? I have bad memories of Florence but from the looks of it, I just went to the wrong places!

  16. ahh love this post! san miniato al monte/piazzale michelangelo is where my host family took me and my roommate the first weekend we were living abroad. i was just AMAZED. i will never forget those moments being up there. and the first time i saw the duomo i was in awe as well. OK it’s official, i must go back soon!!

  17. caryn says:

    So glad you made it to san minatto! Such a beautiful view!! I have the same pics except the parade. When I was there I actually had more culture shock returning to America. Jersey shore give/perpetuate Americans having a bad name. Tourists annoy locals, I can only imagine the.hatred. and The architecture makes you realize just how young America is compared to other countries. I am totally living vicariously through you right now. Hope you don’t mind!! :)

  18. Kez says:

    Wow! I’m suffering travel envy right now!!!
    I think that I would LOVE to just eat my way through Italy :)

  19. Stevie says:

    Wow, gorgeous pictures!

    Isn’t it amazing how much bigger many of the buildings are in other parts of the world? It’s mind boggling to think about how they were designed and built.

    Most people I know who’ve been to Italy have said they loved Florence more than any other city. I can see why!