We arrived in Florence in the late afternoon and immediately went in search of our B&B, which to our astonishment was the best located place I think I have ever stayed. As we approached the main square in Florence, Piazza san Giovanni I was thrilled to see the Duomo. It was the most beautiful and wonderful building I had ever seen and with the sun setting down its side I was awestruck.
Then to find out where we staying was directly to our left with the view of this from our front door I was laughing with excitement; we walked around the entire building with our jaws practically dragging along the ground. We headed down through the main street to the river to see the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge with buildings hanging off the sides.
The next day we woke up to breakfast in bed – freshly baked croissants, tea and fresh juice, biscuits and bread, it was amazing! I truly recommend this fantastic B&B over any other place I’ve ever stayed; friendly staff and excellent quality, just bring mozzy spray in the summer months as it’s a humid place – http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_Review-g187895-d2026149-Reviews-Duomo_View_B_B-Florence_Tuscany.html.
After a wonderful breakfast we explored the city. At first I was hugely disappointed to find a 4 hour no guarantee of entrance queue to get into the Galleria Accademia to se Michelangelo’s David, and that this would also be the case for the Uffuzi Museum, if I had known I would have booked in advance. So instead we explored everywhere we could on foot, including the Fort just outside of Florence. As made our way through the squares and the cobbled streets, we enjoyed al the statues, stalls and entertainment around us. We crossed the Ponte Vecchio bridge lined with jewellery shops, a running theme I notice, and headed to the palace which unfortunately was closed, the botanical gardens anyway which was the main thing I wanted to see. So we headed back to the centre past the Uffizi and saw the queue wasn’t very long. By the time we got to the Museum entrance we had passed the deadline which meant it was half price entry so we were lucky after all. The museum was huge with more rooms than I’ve ever known, my favourite paintings were the Botticelli’s, such as Aphrodite; it was amazing to see them in person as they covered entire walls.
The next morning after another gorgeous breakfast we went inside the Duomo itself and right up to the golden doors of San Giovanni’s Tomb that is also in the piazza. It was as beautiful inside as it was outside and well worth the hour-long queue to get in. It was sad to leave such a beautiful place but we were excited for the next part of our adventure so we then headed to the train station and made our way to Pisa for the afternoon. Unfortunately we got ripped off by the train instructor who after noticing we were English decided to charge us more for our ticket. Still the weather was fine and the walk to the tower was not long with our suitcases trailing behind us. Sadly the city of Pisa itself as quite tatty and lacking in any buzz, with a lot of unfinished construction work and empty streets. The area of the tower and the Duomo however was a very different story, packed full of people taking 1000s of pictures of the infamous Leaning Tower.
We too got some excellent pictures and explored the surrounding area too, but soon headed back to the station to catch our train to Rome.