I’ve been to Florence several times before, and despite knowing what to expect, I was still completely blown away.
With only a quick day trip allocated this time, we stuck to the classics.
Piazza Santa Maria Novella
Because of its location near the train station, this square is one of the first parts of Florence visitors get to see, and it doesn’t disappoint. There is usually a bit of a line to go inside the church, but it’s well worth a visit. Lots of beautiful frescos in the chapels.
The Duomo: Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
The third largest church in the world, this 1300s cathedral is the kind of building you just want to circle endlessly, looking at every detail. It’s overwhelmingly beautiful from every angle.
Piazza della Signoria
The square in front of the Palazzo Vecchio, with the Fountain of Neptune.
Loggia dei Lanzi
Even if the lines to the Uffici Gallery are unmanageably long, you can start your art viewing experience here, for free! An outdoor sculpture gallery.
The Uffici Gallery
Shockingly, we were able to get into the Uffici Gallery within 10 minutes on this visit, despite the city being very crowded with tourists. We saw the classics like ‘The Birth of Venus’, but I didn’t take pictures because you can find much better replicas online, without the added tourist arms and heads blocking the view.
I also think there’s something to be said for just standing back and appreciating the art in these museums instead of racing around snapping selfies in front of the famous pieces and ignoring everything else (I could go on a very long rant here, but I’ll refrain).
We were in Florence on a beautiful evening and slowly walked across this famous bridge crossing the Arno. Jewelry stores line the bridge and passersby and shoppers alike crowd the bridge.
Finally, on our back to the train station, we came across one more piece of art in Florence, this time, done by someone who is still living!
His art: https://www.instagram.com/tomoterusaito/?hl=en
It was wonderful to be back in Florence, but as stunning as the city is, I was also glad we chose not to stay there this time around. Pushing my way through crowds of people and feeling my blood pressure rise, I was reminded of why I’ve been so much more relaxed and less anxious since leaving NYC. It’s been wonderful to escape that, and I’m in no rush to return to big city life.