My last day in Florence was insanely bittersweet. I wanted to make the most of my day, obviously, but I was also really sad knowing that I was going to be going home and leaving Stacey and Italy behind!
We started off the day walking to her professor’s chocolate shop, La Bottega del Cioccolato: Andrea Bianchini. His shop was small, but he makes all of his chocolates from scratch, and I had a salted-caramel milk chocolate and a violet-lemon milk chocolate. They were absolutely delicious! Stacey also had the salted-caramel milk chocolate and an orange-espresso dark chocolate which was really yummy as well! The violet one was my favorite, though.
Our next stop was of the day was the trek up the Duomo! I had always heard that it is really cramped, it’s scary, you will feel claustrophobic and don’t do it if you’re afraid of heights, but I really didn’t think it was bad… At all. I say, if you’re interested, even if you’re claustrophobic and afraid of heights, because it’s beautiful and worth it if it’s something you’re interested in! I did think that 8 Euros was a bit high, but I don’t regret paying that. You won’t get a view of Florence like that anywhere else. Plus, being that close to such an amazing and huge fresco, and you can actually appreciate it because you can see so much more of the details! There is something absolutely humbling about standing on top of a dome designed and literally pieced together by Brunelleschi; it literally takes your breath away when you finally look out over Florence. I loved being there in the fall time because going up and down everyone was evenly spaced and you got to spend plenty of time where you wanted to, also the top was fairly vacant and you could easily walk around the edge.
When we left the Duomo we made our way to the San Lorenzo Markets. We walked around the souvenir vendors, which, I always love the bartering and bargaining that goes on between thrifty travelers and eager vendors. We went into the food market by San Lorenzo, which is where I love to people watch, but even more than people watch I love to try out my Italian on jolly old men who laugh at my fumbled pronunciations, but still let me sample 8 different cheeses until I found the perfect one to snack on throughout the day.
Then we went to The Basilica of San Lorenz0- which was also designed by Brunelleschi. They have a lot of different options at San Lorenzo: the Chapel, the Library and The Basilica, but we opted for only the Library. I wanted to see the famous staircase that was designed by Michelangelo. Walking into the reading room was really amazing to me because you knew that so many amazing Florentines and the Medicis had read their books in this room. It had the original reading desks and plaques on them that described the books there. My favorite part, though, was the collection of texts and collections of medical/surgical tools! It was really interesting.
We went to lunch and got dessert across the river and after our meal we went to the Boboli Gardens and spent the rest of the afternoon there. We explored all over this place, played tri-warding tournament, and just had a blast playing like kids in a giant playground! It had an amazing view that Stacey said was just as spectacular as Piazzale Michelangelo. I ran into a man who told me if you’ve been to Versailles and are on a budget, skip the actual Pitti Palace and just go to the gardens, and I’m glad we did because we were there for 3 hours and stayed until close… We wouldn’t have had time to do both!
We walked back across the river at sunset and Holy Crap! It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen! We took plenty of pictures of the sunset on the river. After that we went shopping for a bit since it was my last night and I needed to finish off buying souvenirs for my friends and family! When the sun officially set, Florence gave me a surprise, they turned the Christmas lights on on the streets- and it was so pretty!
We went back to Stacey’s apartment, dropped off our bags and changed our clothes to go out for my last night. We went to an aperitivo- which is where you go, buy a drink and you get all the food you can eat for free! We just got a couple of drinks because I had an early flight- 6 a.m. Yuck! We went past Santa Croce and I said my formal goodbye to Italy.
I got up at 3 a.m. the next morning, and called a cab to bring me to the air port. It was an experience in itself- I think we ran every single red light. I got to the airport with about 2 hours until my flight and since Florence is a relatively small air port it was plenty of time! I was so sad to leave Italy, but I had a really amazing time!
I know what everyone is thinking- you were in Italy and didn’t hardly mention food! I promise that there’s a reason… Keep an eye out soon for my “Food Envy: Italian Style”! It’s going to be at least one post solely dedicated to the food and desserts of Italia that I sampled! Thanks for reading and for further info on my travels in Italy you can view them here: