Italy....July 31st - August 14th
Our second stop in Italy was to Florence. We were in Florence from August 4th till the 9th. Florence was fantastic and I wish we could have had a few more days to explore the area. I think I enjoyed Florence so much because it was extremely walkable and we were able to visit sights beyond the city. We took a bunch of day trips and were able to go to Cinque Terre, Pisa, and Sienna. We stayed at the best B&B in Florence that is run by the sweetest family ever! The Residenza ll Villino was clean, was really close to the Duomo (we had a view of it from our window), and had the most wonderful breakfast! :) Needless to say I would HIGHLY recommend this place to anyone staying in Florence.
We saw a lot of Florence. One day we headed over to the Palazzo Vecchio where we explored Il Duomo (Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore) and the Piazza della Signoria. We were able to go inside and up to the top of the Duomo and it was super impressive. On another day, we checked out the Ponte Vecchio, which is a bridge that contains a lot of jewelry stores. We also went to the Piazza Santa Maria Novella, up to the small church of San Miniato Al Monte, which is close to the Piazzale Michelangelo where we were able to enjoy the view of the entire city of Florence. Throughout our time in Florence, we headed out early in the morning and would arrive back at our B&B in the early evenings to rest before going out to find dinner and enjoy the town. It was nice seeing the Duomo at different points in the day and seeing the various squares that had some fun shopping and even better street artists. It was nice to stroll about and simply enjoy the wonderful weather. We ate at a lot of great places, but always ended the evenings at our favorite restaurant, Perche No!, which has some seriously delicious gelato. You'd be proud of us as we ate there every evening after discovering it! :)
As I mentioned before, we were able to explore areas surrounding Florence, which was super cool. We were able to go to Cinque Terre via a tour from a company called WalkAbout and I would again highly recommend them. This was one of my highlights as Cinque Terre is a stretch of the coast that is a part of the Italian Riviera and contains 5 beautiful coastal fishing villages. We hiked our way through the villages and were even able to jump into the Mediterranean! The villages are gorgeous and I loved seeing all the bright and colorful buildings along the water. We also took a short day trip over to Pisa and saw of course the leaning tower of Pisa along with the other buildings that make up the Piazza dei Miracoli, including the Duomo, Baptistry, and the Cemetery. As you can image, we had fun taking a LOT of photos with the leaning tower and got some pretty brilliant shots! The final place we explored outside of Florence was Siena. We enjoyed checking out the cool Piazza del Campo which is a large, beautiful square that has horse races once a year. The other highlight was definitely the Duomo of Siena. It is gorgeous and I particularly loved the stripes along the exterior and interior of the structure. In pictures, the stripes appear to be black and white, but they are in fact green and white. Either way, it was stunning.
Florence was a lot of fun and I hope you enjoy some of the pictures.
View from the Piazalle Michelangelo
Amazing paintings on the ceilings!
Piazza dei Miracoli
Leaning Tower of Pisa
Duomo of Siena
Loved the stripes!