After Istanbul, Turkey for 4 nights with my coworkers Becky & Zina, and Zina’s mom and sisters – Becky and I went to Florence, Italy for 3 nights while Zina and her family stayed for a wedding in Turkey.
Thursday, June 19 we left Istanbul for Florence. We had scheduled a shuttle from our apartment at 5:45 am – I saw it at 5:35 but we were kind of slow getting downstairs and by the time we got down at 5:44 it was gone :(. Kinda lame since we had pre-paid for it and we weren’t late yet. But we found a taxi real quick and made it to the airport in plenty of time. We landed in Bologna, Italy and then took a bus to the train station and took the train (I think the bus from the airport would have been faster but oh well ;).
Our apartment in Florence was really cute and 1 block from the Duomo and Lorenze cathedrals which were some of the main attractions!
By the time we found our apartment and had late lunch it was about 4:30pm which is a little late for a museum or anything so we walked around the city and took some pics from Michelangelo’s Plaza which had a nice view of the city :). (Left pic: Uffizi Gallery on the left and Duomo cathedral on the right; Right pic: Vecchio bridge.)
Friday, June 20th, we started at the Duomo where we climbed LOTS of stairs – first to the top of the Dome and then to the top of the Bell Tower. We also saw the baptistry.
Then we went to the Uffizi Art Gallery and then we walked around the Boboli Gardens across the river. The art gallery we saw tons of paintings of Jesus and Mary and lots of cool painted ceilings and the most famous painting was probably the Birth of Venus. The gardens were huge with lots of hedges a few statues and a couple flowers. And of course we walked across the Vecchio Bridge again.
Saturday, June 21st we went to the St Lorenzo Basilica where there were the Medici tombs (which were huge!). We also went to the Santa Croce Basilica which was pretty (where I found a precursor to NYC’s Statue of Liberty — Liberty of Poetry) and the Vecchio Palace. We attempted the Academy Art Gallery with “The David” but the line looked like it was about 2 hours long and we had already seen some replicas around the city so we passed. We all did some souvenir shopping and each got a purse for pretty cheap.
Picture Right: Third times the charm! We went to Vecchio Palace Thursday but it had closed at 2pm (open until midnight other days), Friday we sat on the steps but decided we were too tired, and Saturday we finally toured it as the last thing on our trip!
Overall Florence was really cute and it was nice that it was small enough that we could walk around the whole city in an hour or two. It was really clean and the only pets we really saw there we dogs on leashes (compared to all the cats & dogs in Istanbul lol). We found a good pasta restaurant for a late lunch all three days and then gelato for dinner :). Although it was really hard to find a grocery store and they didn’t sell too much breakfast food (we did find crepes one day tho!). The ravioli with green (rucola?) cream sauce was amazing!
It was a GREAT trip but I was glad to be home and see Ben! He surprised me with roses, taco bell, cut up watermelon, cucumbers, and peaches for the car ride home from the airport! And then the best back rub ever at home! I felt very loved!