A Spontaneous Weekend in Florence
A few weeks ago a girlfriend of mine and I flew to Firenze for a weekend and sometimes it’s such spontaneity that makes traveling so exciting…
Florence is filled with richly decorated churches, piazzas and palazzos, fine art galleries, extensive gardens and more than 80 (!) museums. There is so much architecture, art, culture and history that a three-day weekend-trip barely scratches the surface. Still it’s definitely worth it as you get an intense impression of this beautiful Tuscan city.
It’s quite a small and compact city that needs to be explored on foot. Walking is the easiest and best way to get around and immerse oneself in the Italian way of life. On foot you can also quickly get away from the tourist crowds as the numerous streets are simply too narrow for the buses. Set a few hours aside and join a (free) guided walking tour. Highly recommended! Here you will learn about the Medici family and artists like Michelangelo, da Vinci and Donatello, also Vespucci, Brunelleschi and many more who made Florence once the most important city in Europe. Don’t forget to donate some €, as much as you thought the tour was worth in your opinion.
The beautiful Duomo di Firenze dominates the skyline of the city. It’s the third largest church in Europe and a symbol of Florence. To get a magnificent 360° view of Florence and its surroundings climb the tower of Palazzo Vecchio, the city hall, instead of the dome itself or the Campanile di Giotto adjacent to the cathedral. Palazzo Vecchio is less known and less crowded, and you will be rewarded with a far better view with Duomo embedded in the city’s architecture.
Definitely worth a visit is also Piazzale Michelangelo south of the city center. From here you get another splendid view of Florence.
To get here you have to cross the Arno over the famous Ponte Vecchio which is as packed with tourists as the Ponte di Rialto in Venice.
Don’t leave without taking a stroll along the Arno or walking in the narrow, medieval backstreets of the Oltr’Arno on the south side of the river. This is where the locals meet in the evening in lovely trattorie, pasticcerie or caffè. So find yourself a nice piazza in this area, enjoy delicious authentic Italian food with chianti, the local wine, and watch Italians gathering and communicating expressively with their typical intonation, lively mimic and lots of gestures.