As someone who has studied art and have a deep passion for it; Florence was a must visit city in my itineraries. I took a day from my stay in Toscana to have a day trip in Florence. However, after my trip to Bologna, I decided to spend more time in Florence as provided easy accessibility to day trips around Toscana. Also after about a full week in the hills of Tuscany, I was ready for the urban crawl back to civilization.
Florence is a major city for Italy with great influence in art. Tourists seem to flock to this Renaissance city in hoards. Finding the major attractions is much easier here than in Roma. Although initially I didn't find myself liking the city itself, I am surprised looking at my photos, that this is the place that I took most of it. Perhaps it's the artistic atmosphere that inspired me to take so many.
The architectures are definitely one of its kind and green and white colors dominated a lot of the buildings including the world famous Duomo. According to a walking tour I took, (the only one in Italy I took which I regret. If you can take a walking a tour, it is worth the investment) it is a color which marks the signature buildings by Florentines.
My English speaking Italian tour guide seemed fascinated with the romantic intrigues of the past as she pointed out couple of them during our tour, one being of Bianca Cappello and Francesco de Medici and of Filippo Lippi and Lucrezia Buti. Although I must say the tour guide made it sound much more romantic than what actually happened. The message of that day seemed to be about love and how insurmountable circumstances could work itself out, a message I took to heart.
During our walking tour, we also got to take the time to have a gelatto from one of the best gelateria in Florence which deserves its accolade. (Try the San Trinita-its specialty flavor of mascarpone cheese and nutella)
Although Firenze is overridden with tourists to the detriment of enjoyment of the city itself, it's definitely worth a visit. I started each my morning with a cappuccino at Caffe Scudieri at Piazza Duomo.
Enjoyed lunch at Osteria Mario's which is located near Mercato Centrale. Only open for lunch, you can't beat the daily pasta for 5 Euros and it's pretty filling. I only had appertivo for dinner to tide me over till next morning. It's packed with locals and tourists alike. The father of the owner sat at my table and ended up sharing some wine with two Canadian travelers. The owner came out and was kissing his father calling him "Papa", a very endearing moment which reflected the Italian's open and effervescent nature.
After spending five days total in Firenze, I decided to stop by Cinque Terra, the northern coast of Italy, because I got so many recommendation from other travelers. So I took a train from Firenze Santa Maria Novella Stazione to start my journey towards La Spezia which is the hub point for the five little villages.