Apart from Venice, the next Italian city that I found myself falling for is the art, historical and cultural capital of Italy, Florence. One of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Site, Florence is the capital city of Tuscany region in the central Italy, and it is much adorable than and a far cry from the rest of Italian cities with its rich historical and cultural heritage. Florence is known as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance with its strong influence in ancient Italian art and architecture. Two of the greatest sculptors in Renaissance era, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vince, were born in here.
Florence is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the world with River Arno splits Florence into new and historic sections of the city. Spending at least a few days and staying in one of the luxury villa in Florence is surely a great idea to enjoy your vacation here. When we first arrived at its main rail station of Santa Maria Novella (SMN), and walked out from the station, we were already in the heart of historic Florence. All within walking distance, city attractions could be easily explored one after another. Among them, the Duomo Cathedral is definitely the dominant icon, being the highest building in Florence. Climbing up its 460 steps of spiral staircase to the tower top, we had the best panoramic view of the Florence cityscape. Next up would be the Accademia Gallery. I was more than willing to queue up for 45 minute just to get in there. Why? Because the original David, the greatest sculpture done by my favorite sculptor Michelangelo, was housed inside there!
By sitting at one of the many open air cafes at Piazza Della Signoria, not far from the Duomo, travelers not only could see many of those famous sculptures around the square, they can also do some people watching (which was in fact a local culture). A replica statue of David could also be found here.
For my wife who loves leather bags and wallets, San Lorenzo open market is a ‘must-go’ market. We spent hours in there to buy some of those high quality local leather products such as shoes, bags, wallet that preciously made in Firenze.
In the evening, we walked along the River Arno, the main river of florence and Tuscany. We came to the Vecchio Bridge, the oldest and most famous bridge that spanning across the River Arno. There are shops selling jewelries, arts and souvenirs. In the evening under the setting sun, it just looked marvelous in yellow colour.
When the night fell, we took a bus up to the hill top at Piazzale Michelangelo. It is the best viewpoint to Florence city skyline. I set up my DSLR onto a tripod and shot endlessly! Another replica of the David statue could also be found at the Piazzale. Check out other the frugal ways to explore Florence during weekend.
Florence is also the starting location for visiting other highland cities of Tuscany, such as Sienna and wine producing area such as Chianti for the Chianti Classico wine. If you are a wine lover like me, staying in one of the Tuscany villa and hopping the vineyard after vineyard for some wine tasting can surely let your hair down.
In fact, Florence offers much more than that. The local foods always make my mouth water! I couldn’t help but to try the local cow stripes, gelato, as well as the local Florence steak dinner, with a glass of Italian Chianti Classico wine as well as some breads with local Extra Virgin Olive Oil. – Travel Feeder, your ultimate travel guide to Italy