I can safely say that Tuscany was the reason for my decision to visit Italy. I have always been fascinated by the region – the wine, the food, the culture – has always amused me. And I can not put into words how happy these couple of days made me.
Firenze, Florence was our third stop in Italy. We had already seen a bit of Italy but Florence was something else. The beautiful paved streets, the very typical buildings, the florentine music…. everything took our breath away during the 20 minute walk to our BnB. We stayed right in the heart of a city in an average room, but we couldn’t wait to dump our luggage and head out.
Our first plan was to visit the famous Duomo tour, Santa Maria del Fiore & the Baptistry. These all are included in a single ticket which can be bought right behind the Duomo. This trip was way too time-consuming as we were in the queue for almost an hour, and when you are on a tight schedule, you want to cover as much as possible! But there is no way around it if you would like to head up to the Duomo. But once we reached the top, the whole wait was worth it. We could see how Florence is so distinct from the rest of Italy but yet so similar. The rooftops are the typical red and the green hills all around the city makes one feel truly blessed! The facade of the Duomo complex is exquisite and very unlike any other i have seen. The structure has been very well maintained and I’m sure the steady influx of tourists is a great reason for the up keep.
Our next stop was a half day Horse back riding tour in the Chianti region. This was the highlight of our trip! We had a fun, sunny hour riding through the vineyards in Chianti and then got a guided tour of the wine cellars and of course, a very detailed wine tasting session. Chianti Red & Classico wines are now available all around the world but to be seated in the region, with local food was quite something. The beauty of this place takes your emotions to another level and even though we were tired from being under the sun, our hearts were super happy!
The next day, we took an early morning train to Pisa. This was an easy ride and the walk from the Pisa centrale to the leaning tower is fairly simple. I highly recommend you reach Pisa before 9 AM because the place is sparsely crowded then and you have plenty photo ops then! By 9 – 9.30 AM, the crowd comes in and takes over the beauty of the place. The ticket to enter the leaning tower is in the office very close by. Though quite expensive, you can not not enter the leaning tower. Entering the leaning tower was the most surreal experience ever. The gravity defying building not only looks like a Wonder from the outside but the tilting feeling inside the tower can not be described. The walk up to the top is extremely difficult and certainly not recommended for the faint hearted. I think it took our group of visitors a good 45 minutes to reach the top the last leg of the climb is the most difficult! The view from the top is quite lovely but that tilted feeling is what makes being on top way more exciting than the view. This is a must do for anyone visiting who can bear the strenuous climb.
After Pisa, we headed straight back to Florence to visit the Ponte Vecchio along the Arno. This is another gravity defying bridge that is really very fascinating and looks straight out of an exotic travel book. The bridge itself just has Jewellery stores but the walk around the bridge is really fun.
We then headed to visit David and his friends first the duplicate at Palazzo Vecchio and then the real deal at Galleria Accademia. The Aura around Florentine art was enough to excite me to cover as much part of history as possible. Michelangelo can be seen and heard all throughout the city. An ardent art lover will definitely spend more than a couple of days in Firenze!
Like every other place, I wish I could have stayed just another day in Florence. But hey, hugsband says we can always go back! ❤