Before Michael headed back to University for the final year of his Masters course in Architecture, we decided to take a little break at the end of the summer to relax and enjoy each other’s company. What better place to do that than in Tuscany, Italy! We planned an itinerary which allowed us to have a few days to explore Florence, Pisa and Lucca.
Our first destination was Florence. Upon arrival we checked into our airbnb apartment and relaxed whilst listening to a huge thunder storm outside. Once all was calm, we headed out to see Florence for the first time and grab some dinner. We walked along the Arno River into the centre of the city and over the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge. On our first night we scouted out an amazing pizzeria called ‘Gustapizza’ which has great ratings, there was a huge queue out the restaurant door and down the street, we decided to stick around and were served in no time. The atmosphere was alive, tourist and locals mingled waiting for their pizzas, hot out of the stone oven. The pizza was so amazing that we even went back for another on our last night in Florence – both times we were there, we got chatting to some great couples from America. (Funny story: the couple we met on our first visit also decided to go back again at the exact same time we did, it was so freaky but great to bump into them again!!)
It has become our tradition to try to get to the highest point whenever we visit a new place, so on our second day in Florence we visited the Duomo and climbed the circling staircase to the very top. It was very warm but was such an adventure, of course the view from the top was wonderful. Terricota roof tops and yellow buildings as far as the eye could see. After all the climbing we were so tired and hungry so we decided to check out the nearby food market ‘Mercato di San Lorenzo’, we explored the many rows of stalls and chose to grab some lunch from a recommended cafe, the food was delicious!
Re-energised and rested, we wandered over to the ‘Giardino di Boboli’, south of the river for a walk around the gardens. The sky was very dramatic and we were showered with refreshing bursts of rain, running for cover under the huge trees, listening to thunder rumble in the distance. That evening, we climbed the ‘Campanile di Giotto’ bell tower for a beautiful evening view over the city, the streets buzzing with atmosphere. On our walk back to our apartment, we were lucky enough to witness Andrea Bocelli on the red carpet at the ‘Piazza della Signoria’.
On our second day, we braved the crowds and ventured over to the Uffizi Gallery, trying to learn and absorb as much as we could, sneakily listening to English tour guides. We spent the afternoon strolling the beautiful cobbled streets on the southern side of the river, and found ourselves a little café on the river side for a drink, some gelato and a rest.
We were desperate to see Michelangelo’s David, but the queue had been so long for the Accademia Gallery earlier in the day, we decided to make a late evening visit and walked straight in! We didn’t expect to be so blown away by the sculpture, standing 14 feet and 3 inches high, it was truly breath taking.
It was our last night in so headed back to Gustapizza and then through the city back to our apartment. It was time to say goodbye to Florence as in the morning we were heading for Pisa!