I think Florence is probably not as well-known to people as Rome and Venice. But if you go to Italy, I think visiting Florence should definitely be a must-do! Our first full day in Florence we got up...had what we quickly adopted as our Italian breakfast choices (rich hot chocolate for Little Man and perfect cappucinos for Hubby and I with delicious pastries and usually some cold salami and maybe a hard-boiled egg with fruit added too). Then we were off for a jam-packed day of walking and staring in awe at beautiful art and architecture.
First we stopped at The Accademia to see what is one of the most recognized sculptures in the world. Before seeing that sculpture though we admired Michelangelo's The Slaves or The Prisoners. These works really help you to see how Michelangelo created his masterpieces since they are not completed.
And then, what we had waited for...The David.
It's hard to describe the grandeur of this sculpture. But to see the rough statues in-progress and then this beautiful, smooth statue that is so life-like...it's awe-inspiring. What an artist to capture such detail that parts look so delicate while being constructed of stone.
After the museum we walked to the Duomo. One of two recognizable landmarks in Florence we enjoyed seeing it in all its glory in the square...
...and marveled at the paintings in the dome!
We also walked to the Ponte Vecchio...the second landmark Florence is famous for. Ponte Vecchio means "old bridge" in Italian and it now houses upscale shops.
We loved seeing stands like these...everything so beautifully arranged!
As part of the tour we stopped at a famous leather shop where Hubby was tapped to be a model. Florence is famous for its leather, and we did leave with some leather goods...including a purse for me that they monogrammed.
After more souvenir shopping we found a taxi to take us to our choice for lunch. We had heard of Fratelli Briganti on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. It's quite a way from the touristy section of Florence, and is where Italians go to eat...so that's what we wanted. When we walked in it was obvious we were the only non-Italians there. I used my limited Italian to order us a PHENOMENAL lunch that was a highlight of our trip.
I had a glass of the house wine, and we had an antipasto platter that was quickly devoured. Then, the fried chicken and vegetables we had seen made during the show. It was SO GOOD! Perfectly seasoned, not greasy...the lemon juice added a great hit of flavor too. It was amazing...the only bad part was that I couldn't eat it all because the portion was so big!
After we ate I used broken Italian to have the restaurant call us a taxi (we had learned they do that as a courtesy) and the cab took us back to the Ponte Vecchio so we could walk around a bit more. Little Man also had some gelato! He was obsessed with tiramisu gelato!
That night we drove via bus to a Tuscan villa for dinner. We tried different wines, enjoyed an antipasti buffet and then dinner while we listened to music and were serenaded while we ate and laughed.
Some of us even took a spin or two :)
The next day we headed to our next destination and the whirlwind trip continued, thankfully the rest stops have fancy coffee machines to keep you caffeinated with restaurant-level coffee drinks...just remember you don't drink a latte or cappucino in Italy after noon!