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Florence – Backpacking in the Striking City of the Renaissance

Out of the cities I had been to in Italy, Florence is an incredible place to visit. However this city is very touristy. This is because Florence was the home of the Renaissance and you can see the history of it in the museums.

Taking the Train to Florence

I took a train from Rome and once I arrived I was relieved that the city had more of a relaxed atmosphere. My first place to visit was the Pitti Palace, it was a relatively long wait to get in. I have to say it’s worth it, my pictures won’t do justice the experience of looking at some of the artworks all around. It is once of the most opulent things I have ever seen. Outside of Pitti Palace is the Boboli Gardens, a massive collection of gardens which date back to the 18th century, in my opinion it doesn’t amaze me as much as Pitti Palace did, the reason was because of the heat, it meant that the grass hadn’t grown properly. 

I walked over to the Piazzale Michaelangelo, probably the most touristy spot in the whole city as it gives you a view of the other side of the river and an unforgettable view of the iconic Florentine skyline, most notably the cathedral known as ‘Il Duomo.’ If you want to go there when it is lively and the views are most incredibly, I recommend heading over there about 8PM as I went there for the second time on my last night and I was not disappointed. 

The second day was spent, going to art museums, I am no fan of visiting art museums but I had been told that these places are not to be missed. First up was the Academy, I think it took about an hour wait to get in, but the artwork everyone is talking about is of course the statue of David, which has been kept in decent condition since it was first sculpted in the renaissance era, as someone who is no fan of art, the other paintings were less remarkable and the Academy isn’t a huge art gallery, the main thing to see there is the statue of David. 

 Then I saw the building of the Uffizi art gallery, I thought screw it and decided to join the monstrous queue to get in. If you’re planning to visit this place, I highly suggest booking your ticket online. The wait was a brutal 2 hours and it caused my legs to go numb from standing still for so long. Honestly as someone who has minimal interest in art, the Uffizi is quite incredible, the birth of Venus is the most well-known painting there, but it was certainly the most mesmerising painting in the gallery. 
A thing to be wary of in Italy is to check the prices of food or drink before ordering, I was super thirsty after walking through the Uffizi and decided to get a lemon soda from the cafeteria there and it set me back 5.50 euros, absurdly more than the two euros I spent to enter the place. A little bit later I found a nice place near Ponte Vecchio which I ate a really good lasagna and food a good place to get a huge cone of gelato, I had no regrets devouring such a huge portion of ice cream.
The next day, I wanted to go to the Leonardo Da Vinci museum, as Florence was where he lived, it would be fascinating to take a look at the inventions and design. However, it was shut, so instead I headed back over to the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, otherwise known as the church with the big dome. It’s the most famous building in the city and it is absolutely beautiful to look at up close. I decided to queue up to go inside of the church as it was free admission and it was a half an hour wait. It’s quite opulent inside, however it’s the outside design of the church which is truly incredible. 

I took a walk around the area near Ponte Vecchio, the Ponte Vecchio is another amazing structure and I even remember seeing it when I came as a kid. It looks like a bridge with houses on it and it’s one of the bridges that survived the strategic bombing in the Second World War. On the bridge there are a load of Jewellery shops, gelato places and souvenir shops. However many of the shops look like they have recently been closed down. Nearby the bridge, I found a great spot to get a picture and it wasn’t crowded with tourists. 

Incredible Views and Pizza

Another interesting church which is a ten minute walk from the old bridge is the Basilica of Santa Croce, however when I went there, it wasn’t open to the public. It was also one of the few open spaces in Florence that wasn’t heavily crowded and was simply just a stone’s throw away from the big dome.

Furthermore, I had been walking around the streets to find some good Italian food and near the Pitti Palace I found this incredible pizza place. The great thing about Italy is the fact that the pizza is super cheap, if you simply want a margarita pizza, it will only set you back about 6 euros and makes Domino’s taste like garbage. 

Then to work off the pizza, I took a walk around the city at night, if you come don’t be afraid to do this, there may be pickpockets, but it is a fairly safe city. Walking up to the Piazzale Michelangelo to see it during the sunset time is an absolute must do for any tourist in this city. It is a lot more lively in the evening and the sites such as the old bridge and dome look incredibly stunning at night. 

In my opinion, Florence is the best city I’ve been to in Italy, if you want to see some of the most beautiful streets in Italy, you have to come here. Although it’s super touristy, it is hard to knock such a great city. 

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