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Dec
2017
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Florence Italy Travel blog firenze first time visitor

Florence Italy for First Time Visitors

The Italian region of Tuscany really fascinates me. Ever since I watched the movie “Under The Tuscan Sun”, I told myself that if ever I’d get a chance to visit Italy, Tuscany should be number one on the list.

A few years ago, I had a chance to fly to Florence from Barcelona and got my first taste of my Tuscan life dream. The birthplace of the renaissance and (known as) the home of Leonardo da Vinci, to be excited to start exploring this city (as an architect and artist) is an understatement.

Florence Italy Travel blog firenze first time visitor

As someone who travels solo, the first thing I always do is to walk around the city. What I love about Florence is that almost every known sites are walking distance from each other. From the famous Duomo to it’s picture perfect Ponte Vecchio.

Though they can be considered as touristy, these places are a must visit when your in town especially if you have a limited time in the city.

Here are some of the places to go to if you are visiting Florence for the first time either on a solo trip or in a luxury vacation in Tuscany.

PIAZZA DEL DUOMO

Florence Italy Travel blog firenze first time visitor

I think everyone who visits Florence never missed walking around this piazza. The location of the famous Duomo Cathedral, you can just stroll around and be amazed at the details of the cathedral’s exterior architecture or listen to random violinist playing in the street.

Tip: try to comeback in the evening as the plaza becomes very dramatic with the lights on.

DUOMO ( CATTEDRALE DI SANTA MARIA DEL FLORE)

Florence Italy Travel blog firenze first time visitor

I am putting this on the list because I missed this. I didn’t go inside the cathedral because I was lazy (ugggh—learn from my experience) and I regret this. To see the historical dome by  Filippo Brunelleschi (which is the largest bricked dome ever constructed) alone is a worthy reason why the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Flore is a must visit.

Florence Italy Travel blog firenze first time visitor

Giotto’s bell tower

Tip: After visiting the cathedral, do a quick work out by climbing the Giotto’s bell tower to see a panoramic view of the whole city.

PONTE VECCHIO

The Ponte Vecchio (old bridge) is the most famous bridge over Florence’s Arno River. Probably the most photographed spot in Florence next to the Duomo. Almost every postcard/poster shop sells a photo of this bridge. It has been a subject as well of many artists and painters in the city.

Florence Italy Travel blog firenze first time visitor

The famous Ponte Vecchio

Florence Italy Travel blog firenze first time visitor

The shops along Ponte Vecchio in the morning.

What I like about this bridge compared to other European bridges is that, like the olden times, it still housed several shops along it but instead of butchers, shop spaces are now occupied mostly by jewelers, art dealers and souvenir shops.

Tip: Go to Ponte Santa Trinita to get a postcard- like image of the Ponte Vecchio

ACCADEMIA 

The Accedemia Gallery is well noted as the home of Michelangelo’s marble sculpture of David. At an overwhelming height of 5.17 meters, this statue represents the biblical hero David. It is not allowed take photos inside the gallery, but the image of David will definitely be imprinted in your mind. Also, there are several replicas around the city which you can take photos for souvenir.

To know more about the story of David and how it was transported around the city, watch the documentary located inside the gallery (the facts about this history is very interesting).

There are also other art pieces from a number of Florentine artists that are being showcased inside the gallery. Compared to the Uffizi (below), the Accademia is smaller and more specialized.

TIP: Arrive early because the queue to get the ticket can be very long especially on peak season.

PIAZZALE MICHELANGELO

I mentioned about replicas of the statue of David (found in Accademia), one of those replicas can be found at the Piazzale Michelangelo.

Florence Italy Travel blog firenze first time visitor

Bronze replica of the statue of David

Florence Italy Travel blog firenze first time visitor

Ahhh FLORENCE!!!

I really didn’t research about this during my trip, so it is safe to say that I discovered this accidentally. After a few days of roaming around the city center, I thought of just walking on the opposite side of the Arno river when I found a pathway going on a hilly part of the bank. Then —-YES I found myself standing at the piazza with the bronze replica of the David on one side while the panoramic view of the whole of Florence on the other.

Tip: Just go here and you’ll never regret it.

UFFIZI

Uffizi Gallery is the main art museum in Florence (or even in the whole Tuscany region). Think of it as the Louvre of Florence. It is located at a walking distance between the city’s historic center and the Ponte Vecchio.

As the birthplace city of the renaissance period, you can imagine already the richness of the art pieces being housed in the gallery.

Some of the famous pieces in the gallery are, Sandro Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus, Verrocchio and Leonardo da Vinci’s Baptism of Christ and Piero della Francesca Dukes of Urbino. 

Tip: Hmmmm because it is Italy’s most visited museum, booking ticket online is a must. I didn’t do this, so I waited almost 4-hours.

AQUA AL 2

Lastly, with all the walking done, definitely you will need to fuel your body. Italy offers one of the best local cuisines in the world and it will be shameful if you will not try the city’s best dishes.

Florence Italy Travel blog firenze first time visitor

Everywhere you go will find gelato stores which prices ranges from 1 to 2 euros (YUM).

For a whole hearty meal a friend of mine suggested a restaurant called Aqua Al 2. A very cozy Italian restaurant found at the heart of the city center. The best to try is there pasta platter (piatti primo sampler), a sample plate of 5 pastas served individually. This can also be shared.

Florence Italy Travel blog firenze first time visitor

Signed plates on the wall.

Tip: check out the plates on the walls. Famous celebrities who ate in the restaurant sign these plates.


I considered Florence as my favorite Italian city, as an artist and an architect, The moment I stepped out of the bus from the airport and walked on its cobbled street I already felt at home.

Have you been to Florence? Any tip for those who will visit it for the first time? Shout it out in the comment section below.

kenneth surat Dubai Travel Blogger Philippines

 

 

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16 Responses

  1. Florence for us is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. We loved it there when we were there a couple of years ago.The city where the likes of Michael Angelo walked is indeed so special My favourite spot in Florence was Piazzale Michaelangelo, the views from there are so spectacular.

  2. lovely article, bought back memories of my trip out there . I had visited without any preparation done and had no idea what to see , way back in 2010 but somehow had covered all the locations that you mentioned barring the restaurant. Yes i agree that Florence is a city that everyone who travels must visit at least once in their lifetime , there is something real unique about the entire vibe out there

  3. OMG! I have been wanting to go to Tuscany after watching Under The Tuscan Sun. Love love that movie! And being an art nerd, Florence is also included in my list. Been to too many countries in Europe but never made it yet in Italy but I have been inspired lately to go. And the $1-2 gelato seems a good reason to go haha.

  4. You covered almost everything that a first time visitor to Florence would love to see. I would like to add that it’s best to visit all the above while exploring the streets on foot. When we went to Florence for the first time, we did a lot of walking and we totally loved the vibe of the city

  5. Such a wonderful place! I heard a lot of beautiful thinks about Florence and I’ve been wanting to visit ever since. Thank you for this post. I will save it for my future reference when I’ll visit Italy.

  6. I feel so envious looking at your photos. As a person who’s into the arts, this is really one of my dream destinations. Just looking at your photos makes me drool over the perfection of the architecture around the city. The place emanates with such rich arts and culture!

  7. I really enjoyed my trip to Florence, I loved the Duomo. I found myself just having coffee and wandering the streets. It;s so pretty. It will definitely be a place I will go back to. I feel my time there was too short. There’s a lot here I still missed. I would love to see it again.

  8. Florence is a magical place, the smile on your face in your photos reminds me of the smile I had wandering the city. Beautiful photos and great capturing of this place <3 Happy Travels!

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