After spending 4 amazing days soaking up the sun on the Amalfi Coast, we made our way back to Naples and got on a high-speed train heading for Florence. Just shy of 3 hours later, we arrived at Firenze Santa Maria Novella train station in Florence. There were a couple of different options for where to arrive in Florence but this was the train station closest to our hotel. Even so, our hotel ended up being quite a jog from what we had thought it would be. We had all of our luggage in toe, which made it feel longer I’m sure! We kept second guessing ourselves and wondered if we were going the right direction but finally spotted our hotel, Hotel Leonardo da Vinci. The hotel was very nice and we were given a large room that was very comfortable.
We only had ½ a day in Florence since we were moving on to Venice the next morning so in order to make the most of our time there, we booked another hop on hop off tour. These tours were neat because we got to sightsee as much as we wanted for a whole day, learned a little history about the city and they pointed out attractions to us so that we knew where to get off for what.
We rode the bus in a complete circle to see the city and scope out where we wanted to get off. Florence is a beautiful city and my favorite of the larger cities that we visited while in Italy. It is well-kept for the most part and there are lots of trees, which makes it charming.
That combined with the incredible architecture and art made it a really neat stop on our trip, even though it was a quick one. We saw the Duomo, Basilica de Santa Croce, Basilica de Santa Maria Novella, and then decided to ride for a second loop back to Piazzale Michelangelo.
Piazzale Michelangelo is a square with a bronze cast of Michelangelo’s David and sits above the city overlooking the river, Ponte Vecchio, and the Duomo with mountains in the backdrop. It’s an absolutely magnificent view!
The view from Piazzale Michelangelo in Florence
As we hopped off the bus, our eyes were immediately drawn to two fire red Ferraris that were prominently parked for everyone to swoon over. Apparently they give rides in them but we didn’t find that out until after we had left already. We were happy posing for a picture with one so can you imagine if we had been able to ride in one or better yet, drive it?
After taking some breath-taking photos of the cityscape and grabbing a few souvenirs, we hopped back on the bus and got off at the train station which was very near a nice shopping district. Dustin had planned to buy a new leather wallet in Florence since they are known for their impeccable leatherworks so we set out to find some shops. He easily found a nice store that sold leather goods, as they were literally everywhere, and found a really nice handmade leather wallet to buy.
Dustin’s leather wallet from Florence
After all of our exploring, we wanted a quick, cheap meal and we wanted it to taste good. We had found that a lot of places in Italy pre-make their food and display it in a case until purchased and then they re-heat it to serve. We wanted something that hadn’t been sitting out all day. After wandering around a bit and not finding anything cheap, we found ourselves at McDonalds. I felt hyper-American at this point considering this was our second stop at a McDonalds while in Italy.
But what we found inside was awesome! The restaurant was divided into two sections-when we first walked in they had kiosks where people place their own orders and pay then wait for their food, which was different from what we were used to. To the left, they had a full bakery and coffee shop, which made the McCafe brand a little more believable. There were cases stocked full of delicious looking pastries, pies, cakes, and other desserts so we got some strawberry and cherry cheesecake to take back to the hotel for dessert. After eating my hamburger with mozzarella and tomato, we headed back to the hotel for the evening to relax together for a bit before heading off to Venice in the morning.