One of my most memorable weekends during my travels was spent in Florence, and later, Rome (another tale to be told later). For nearly all of my excursions from the great city of Milan I was blessed with beautiful weather, Florence was no exception. And thank goodness as it is a city that can only really be explored on foot, as there is practically no public transportation. But what it lacks in overly noisy and expensive motorized vehicles it more than makes up for in charm and beauty, not to mention a vast amount of art.
That last one is not terribly surprising considering Florence was home to some of the greatest artists the world has ever known, Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo being among the most recognizable names. In fact I was even able to see, what I’m sure was a copy, of Michelangelo’s David in Plazza della Signoria, though I must admit it was Florence’s Duomo that really awed me.
Florence has such a rich history in general, home of not only some of the greatest minds and artists who have ever lived but also one of the most well known families. The bankers to all of Europe and some of the most ruthless and clever people to grace the history books, the colorful Medici’s. Whose bloodline boasted three Pope’s and a succession of rulers from the 13th century to half way through the 17th century. The city’s wealth was not only derived from its powerful rulers, it was also a central hub for some of the most amazing trade goods and is still known today as the ‘go-to’ place for anything high quality leather. The markets were as overwhelming as the were addicting! I had spent all but 20 euros of my cash ( meant to last me three days) in under two hours.
*Word to the wise when traveling in Italy, if you are purchasing gifts to take home don’t buy anything until AFTER you visit Florence! You may end up not having enough room in your suitcase otherwise. Also be sure and haggle if you can, never buy the first one of something you see, the market is flooded with similar product so there’s a good chance you will find it cheaper as you go along!
Whatever you do, don’t forget to put Florence on your Bucket List when traveling in Italy and be sure bring your camera!