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My Trip to Italy

On  the 20th August 2015, my boyfriend (Fraser) and I embarked on a two week trip to Italy, the majority of which was spent in the city of Florence. For 13 nights, we stayed in a lovely little apartment in the centre of the city. It was a 10 minute walk from the Duomo Cathedral and 25 minute walk from Santa Maria Novella train station, which helped us travel to different cities in Italy over the course of the trip. I filmed our entire trip and will include the video at the end of this blog post. It includes more information and you can experience the trip with us!

FLORENCE

With it’s fascinating history and countless attractions, Florence is a beautiful city filled with stunning architecture, fantastic restaurants and plenty of streets to explore – or in my case – get completely and utterly lost in. 

IMG_1054View from Piazzale Michelangelo
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Fraser and I at the top of Piazzale Michelangelo

Some people say the best view of the city is from the Duomo, but we took a short (but steep!) walk up to Piazzale Michelangelo, a square with stunning views of Florence. There is a bar at the top where you can relax, drink some cocktails and appreciate the view.

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The Duomo (Cathedral of Santa Maria Dei Fiore

Florence Cathedral (or the Duomo) is hard to miss when walking through the centre, with its impressive exterior and sheer size. However, as much as we wanted to see inside it, we didn’t think the hour and a half – 2 hour wait was worth it, especially since we saw a good few cathedrals throughout our trip, which were all stunning and didn’t have a queue. Another visit to the city to see the Duomo (and other things we missed) is definitely on the cards in the future, although perhaps not in peak tourist season!

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Outside the Duomo

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Santa Croce

The Basilica of Santa Croce is a must-see, where the tombs of Galileo, Michelangelo, Marconi and many other iconic Italians are found. Like the Duomo, the exterior is impressive and there is plenty to explore inside and outside.

Fraser was reading a lot about the Medici family before the holiday and he was desperate to see the Museum of the Medici Chapels. We decided to do it on one of our last days and despite not being enthusiastic about it at first, I would highly recommend it. The museum consists of many treasures belonging to the family, the crypts and lots of information about all the artifacts, which were fascinating to me. The main chapels were under renovation, but they were spectacular. I hadn’t heard much about this chapel, but I feel like it’s a bit of a hidden gem (if you can even call it that, it’s probably really well known!).

IMG_1680Medici Chapels

IMG_1683Ceiling of the Medici Chapels

IMG_0974Uffizi Gallery

I’m not an arty person but I enjoyed visiting the two main galleries, the Uffizi and the Accademia. Hours could easily be spent walking about these galleries and admiring the vast amount of amazing sculptures and paintings. The highlight of the Accademia is of course, Michelangelo’s David, which is absolutely fascinating. The work that was put into this sculpture can be shown by how insanely detailed it is, e.g. the veins in his hand and the stance – brilliant!

11875156_10207625265819842_4565121468193375271_oDavid

IMG_1430Boboli Gardens

I read quite a few mixed reviews about the Boboli Gardens, the main negative ones being about the entrance fee (€10), which in my opinion was fair. It gives you access to a few museums within the gardens, and there is plenty to see. The walk to the top is quite steep, but perfectly manageable, and the views are lovely. For us, this was a more relaxing day, and we managed to fit in some sunbathing at the top!

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FLORENCE TIPS

1. We found that many museums have a reduced price for EU citizens under 26, so make sure to find out which ones do before you go!

2. If you’re visiting Florence for a short time, consider buying a Firenze card, which costs €72, lasts for 72 hours and grants free entry to major attractions. Just make sure to calculate the total cost of the museums you want to visit and decide whether the card is worth it!

3. Learn the lingo!

4. If you visit in tourist season, be prepared to be caught up in crazy crowds wherever you go. Queues galore!

5. In relation to the previous tip, book museums in advance! We booked most things online.

6. Explore the markets. Lots of great little souvenirs!

7. Eat gelato and drink Limoncello. YUM.

8. When using trains or buses, make sure to validate your tickets at the machines beforehand, or you could face a hefty fee!

9. People constantly approach you to try and sell you things – avoid them. It’s illegal to buy from them.

10. While dining, some restaurants/bars put snacks on your table but usually you’ll find that they’ll be included on the bill at the end of your meal.

11. EXPLORE AND ENJOY!
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One of the excellent things about Florence is the easy access to other parts of Italy from the city. We took great advantage of this and travelled to Fiesole, Pisa, Lucca, Siena and Rome, all which took around an hour and a half on the train, apart from Fiesole which was a very short bus ride from Florence city centre.  I will be covering these trips in another blog post but in the meantime, I’ll be sharing all my photos from the trip on my instagram page!

MY ITALY VIDEO

 

Thank you for reading! Let me know in the comments below if you have ever been to Italy, or where your favourite travel destination is!

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