We arrived in Tuscany and our first stop was Florence and spent the afternoon roaming the streets for a bit. We walked in through the Piazza della Signoria with all of the statue replicas, the Uffizi, and the Fountain of Neptune. We went to the Basilica di Santa Maria del Flore (the Basilica with Brunelleschi’s dome). We went inside and looked up at the world’s largest fresco in a dome. (I do wish I would have climbed the dome and looked out at the top of Florence, but I’ll just say I’ve left that for next time.) Next, we went to a leather shop for a demonstration of how the leather is worked. It was pretty cool to see the entire process. Not only did they make cliche things like belts and bags, but they also made beautiful journals and rings! They were all so beautiful.
After that demonstration we walked through the streets until sunset.
The hotel we stayed in was just outside of Florence. It was originally a monastery that was converted into a hotel. It didn’t have air conditioning or a TV, but it was a purely a place to sleep, and it had a spectacular view of Florence that I loved waking up to! There was also a really nice little courtyard.
The next morning we headed back into town and had a very full day of Museums and Basilicas. The first thing we did was go and stand in an hour-long line to get into the Accademia to look at some amazing sculptures, of course with the highlight being the David. The coolest thing about going to see “David” is that all along the walkway up to see it there is a row of unfinished works by Michelangelo on either side of the walkway, and it is so amazing to see how these works of art really came to life out of these plain slabs of marble! It was so awesome. It totally blew my mind.
After visiting the Accademia, we moved on to Santa Croce which is such a beautiful Basilica and so many amazing people have tombs in there like Michelangelo, Dante, Galileo, and Machiavelli. They’re all really intricately done and elaborate – they’re art in themselves! It’s definitely worth it. Also, if you go out the back there is a spectacular courtyard, and it is attached to Florence’s Library and there is a stunning dome in courtyard.
The famous Pig Market is a must-stop. Don’t forget to rub the pig statue’s nose for good luck, and put my coin in its mouth and let it fall into the grate below. Then we went into the market and got a lot of our souvenirs here. Don’t forget that you can barter!
Then we went to the Uffizi! I was especially excited about the visit to the Uffizi because my favorite Renaissance painting is Botticelli’s “Primavera”. It was so amazing to see it in person! Don’t mind the incredibly blurry photo. I blame it on being 17 and too excited!
That night we went out to the Space Electronica Discoteque. It was a really cool club with these big bubbles to dance in, and a lot of people from other countries go to it! It was even featured on the National Geographic website for nightlife top picks!
The next morning we headed into the Tuscan hills and went to Assisi. It is the most amazing thing to be driving through the Tuscan hills and came upon this amazing town on top of this hill. We went up and went to St. Calre’s Basilica, and St. Frances’ Basilica which were both really cool. We also went to the Temple of Minerva which was amazing. The columns and steps were built in about 15 B.C.E. and I was amazed by this. As cool as all of these churches and temples were, my favorite thing was simply roaming around through tiny alleyways, looking out over the countryside, meandering through little shops, and just getting to know this little town. It was so amazing, and I highly recommend time here!
If you’re looking for some of the most charming places, I highly recommend making your way to Tuscany. I just adore the cities and the towns that are nestled in these gorgeous, rolling hills.