Katie said it best upon arrival in Florence, if Rome is to visit, Florence is to live, shop and eat! And that’s exactly what we did!
After we checked in to our hotel, Delle Nazioni Hotel Florence, we walked the streets of Florence until we arrived at the Ponte Vecchio (old bridge). Built in 1345, the Ponte Vecchio is the oldest and most famous bridge across Florence’s Arno River. It is best characterized by the overhanging shops that have lined the bridge since the 12th century. In 1944, the Ponte Vecchio’s fame saved it as Nazis were ordered to blow up all bridges before leaving Florence. They couldn’t bring themselves to do it, so they blew up the ancient buildings on either end instead to block it off. In the Ponte Vecchio area are great stores, cafes and restaurants...definitely a must see while in Florence. Be sure to check out O. Volterrani - R. Raddi for some amazing jewelry.
From the Ponte Vecchio we made our way a few blocks to the Gallerie degli Uffizi. One of the world’s top museums, the Uffizi houses some of the best-known works of the Renaissance, including works by Titian, Leonardo de Vinci, Botticelli and Michelangelo. There are masterpieces in almost every room...we even stumbled upon a few we didn’t know were even there. We were captivated by the Birth of Venus and Venus of Urbino. During our tour, we stopped for iced cappuccino at the Uffizi’s Cafeteria. We enjoyed the drinks al fresco and basked in the Italian sun.
After soaking in more Renaissance art than one can imagine, we walked to the Piazza Del Duomo for a quick evening glimpse at the magnificent cathedral. In what looks like a modern-day wedding cake, the Duomo or Cathedral of Santa Maria dei Fiori (pictured above) showcases brightly colored green and pink pastels, a bell tower and it’s famous dome that is symbol of Florence itself. The structure and piazza around it represent a very central and historic part of town.
After leaving the Piazza Del Duomo, we walked back towards our hotel and found a fabulous restaurant, Trattoria al Trebbio. Upon sitting down we saw the steaks at the nearby table and knew that’s what we wanted. From veal to steak to pasta to wine, everything here was delectable.