My amazing Florence. This post is a little overdue considering I travelled through Florence in January this year to attend Pitti Uomo, but it’s too beautiful of a city not to document for you guys.
If you’re heading to Florence from Rome, head to Termini (Rome’s largest train station) and purchase a ticket from one of the machines. It’s much quicker than waiting in line to speak to a salesperson. Tickets are usually 60-80 euro one-way.
Once you have your ticket, head to the middle of the station where you’ll find a large board with destinations and times. Here, you can ask for assistance because everything is in Italian. However, usually most trains heading to Florence will just say Firenze (what the locals call Florence) and which train platform it will be departing from. Head early to ensure a window seat.
After an hour train ride filled with spectacular farmland and magnificent scenery, you’ll arrive in Florence!
When I first arrived to Florence, the city was flowing with thousands and thousands of people and I didn’t know why. After asking a few bystanders, I was told Florence today celebrates a festival known as Epiphany. Epiphany commemorates the arrival of the Three Kings in Bethlehem. It also marks La Befana, Italy’s traditional day of gift giving. The Befana is an old, witch-like woman who, like Santa Claus, knows whether children have been good or bad.
1. Il Duomo, Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore – One of the most famous cathedrals in the world, the Il Duomo is the most visited site in Florence. You’ll need to check for timings if you want to head inside and view the breathtaking paintings across the dome’s ceilings.
2. Piazzale Michelangelo (Michelangelo Square) – The famous square accommodates the statue of David. Something I regretfully didn’t have the chance to see in January. But from what I hear, it’s magnificent panoramic view of Florence makes it a must visit.
3. Ponte Vecchio – Simply one of the most incredible bridges you’ll every set eyes upon, the Ponte Vecchio (meaning old bridge) was Florence’s first bridge across the Arno River and is the only surviving bridge from Florence’s medieval days. The bridge is still lined with shops selling gold and silver jewellery, where you’ll also find boutique stores such as Rolex and Omega.
4. Gucci Museo – This place is bloody stunning. If you’re a Gucci fan like myself, you must visit the museum. You’ll learn the history behind the horse bite driving shoe, the transformation of luggage/briefcases over the decades and the detail in garments worn by celebrities all over the world.
5. Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio – Known as the heart of Florence, here you’ll be surrounded by restaurants, tourists, boutique stores and entrances to other main roads.
From CHANEL, Gucci and Prada to Ferragamo Salvatore and Cèline, you’ll find every designer under the city in Florence. Then again, you’re in Italy for God’s sake, the fashion heart of the world.
Though, if you’re on a budget and don’t have the big bucks for the luxury stores, you’re in luck. Florence is scattered with leather markets and little stalls across the whole city, where you can place your bargaining cap on a score yourself a great deal.
Hungry? Head to Caffe Gilli’s, one of the most famous cafes in Florence. If you’re lucky, you’ll find everyone from fashion icons to celebrities grabbing a quick bite before heading on a shopping spree.
Can’t find Gilli’s? You’re in Italy mate, anywhere you eat will be good. So if you’re planning to spend a few days in Florence, play roulette with restaurants and cafes every day, you won’t be disappointed I promise you.
All in all, Florence has become on of my favourite cities in the world. Whether you’re a bachelor, student, fashionista or a couple on their honeymoon, Florence is for you.