Something I pride myself in when travelling is squeezing the most I possibly can into the shortest amount of time!As you know I travelled to Italy recently and spent 6 days there covering 4 beautiful destinations, Venice, Florence, Rome & The Almalfi coast. How did I manage to see so much in such a short space of time? Lots and lots of planning 😉
Following on from Venice (you read all about my Venice must see’s here) we hopped on a train to Florence.
Getting a train in Italy is so easy, I have travelled on a number of trains throughout Europe and I have to say Italy really does have an amazing system, the trains run on time, they are comfortable and clean and they are very frequent with clear direction. We booked our train tickets online before travelling here. You can also buy tickets from the self service booths on the day.
To Florence from Venice it was just a short train journey of just 1hr 20 mins and cost 35 euros. We arrived at the main station and jumped straight into a taxi to arrive at our hotel. The stunning Plaza Hotel Luchessi.
I traveled with my trusty Antler case which was an absolute lifeline on this trip! One of my best tips for a multi-centre trip like this is to make sure you have great luggage – it’s so worth speeding a little more and knowing it won’t let you down. This little Saturn case moves like a dream, just what I needed!
To be honest with views this good we may as well have just stayed in the room the entire trip 😉Of course, if staying in Florence, it would be a crime to not head out and explore straight way! We arrived in the morning around 11am so we had the rest of the day to explore all the historic sites.
Although Florence is not technically a walking city with it’s traffic and geographical coverage it is best to explore this gorgeous town on foot in my opinion. Flat shoes are a definite must!
Our hotel was located on the right bank of the Arno river, between Santa Croce Place and Piazzale Michelangelo, and was just a short walk from the Duomo (the Cathedral). So we meandered through the streets at leisure enjoying the beautiful buildings and gorgeous natural colours of the architecture as well as the beautiful hills of Tuscany on the other side of the river.
The Church is stunning and it’s absolutely massive! As someone who lives on the doorstep of St Pauls I very often forget just how big the Cathedral is, seeing this Duomo really puts it’s size into perspective.
Rather than wandering around the grounds and building aimlessly we explored the Cathedral with an english speaking guide. There are a number of guides available and they give you a radio so that they can talk about the history of the site whilst you walk around and appreciate the beauty of it. Our guide was great and we learnt so much about the history of Florence as well at the Duomo itself.
Italian culture is fascinating, the architects, artists, politicians and scholars – I would thoroughly recommend you pay to walk around with a guide. It cost around 15 euros but was well worth the money as it allowed us to really understand and appreciate what we were seeing.
We spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the rooftop pool at our hotel. We were lucky (and sometimes unlucky given that we were sightseeing!) with the weather as it was 30 degree plus every day. A dip in the pool was exactly what we needed! Click here to see and read more 😉The next day we decided to travel deeper into Tuscany and enjoy a wine tasting tour, one of the highlights of our trip. I will be writing a full post next week with details but as I am rounding up the two days I thought best to include a few snaps.
After a lovely day of sipping we rushed back to the centre of the town to make it up to the famous viewing point at Piazzale Michelangelo. We hopped on a bus there which was really easy, there is a direct bus that leaves from the main station every half and hour and it’s best to hop on 30/45 minutes before the sunset.
The location provides panoramic views of the city and it is a great place to soak up the fun and romantic atmosphere of Florence. We bought a bottle of wine from one of the vineyards we had been to earlier that day and spent a gorgeous couple of hours staring at the sky and enjoying our lush red tipple 😉
This stunning spot also had live bands playing throughout the evening which added to the amazing vibe of the location. One of the best ways to spend an evening and completely free of charge. Thank-you Florence!