July 5, 2016

Florence with Friends

The first and only time I had been to Florence before was in 2013. I had eaten too much gelato in Venice and the next day - the day my sister-in-law and I were taking trains to Florence and Pisa - I was miserable. I put on a weak smile, walked slowly, and ended up laying down on a sunny slab outside the Duomo to take a nap while Alex enjoyed the city.

I remember sunshine. I remember a lot of shopping stalls. I remember buying a hat. I remember wanting to roll into a ball and die.

When my friends, Karen and Maggie, planned their epic European adventure this summer, they let me know where they would be on which dates. London, I was busy. Paris, I'd just been there. Milan, I'd love to go back, but it was so soon after my trip in February. Venice, ohhhhh, getting warmer. Florence and Cinque Terre, bingo! Perfect dates, perfect place, and perfect travel buddies.

My only goal: stay healthy!

We wandered and wined and dined. We talked about everything we could possibly think of, and then we talked some more. It was a whirlwind two days, but an incredibly better introduction to the city than my first ill-fated attempt.

I had not realized that the center of Florence was totally void of modern buildings. Where Milan was a mix of old and new, Florence is just one huge city of antiques. The skyline is churches, towers, and terracotta rooftops as far as the eye can see.

We braved mounting the Campanile tower next to the Duomo for the 360 degree views.

It was a lot of stairs. But there are also multiple levels, which makes for nice breaks and different angles of the city.

I went to Italy. Of course, there were my classic #scootersquatter moments.

This sandwich shop is AMAZING. Special thanks to my French friend, Wandrille, for recommending All'Antico Vinaio. This enormous "La Dante" sandwich was only five euros and I could barely finish it!

We found the perfect place for afternoon refreshments at the Osteria Ponte Vecchio.

This really is the only way I can patiently wait for my turn to actually own a Vespa.

It's no wonder so many people are in love with Florence. It's a captivating city with awesome Italian food (gelato), the Duomo is breathtaking, and it's easy to walk around for hours.

I'm already conspiring on taking advantage of the cheap flights from Munich for next year!

Have you been to Florence? What other cities in Tuscany do you love to visit?