Experiencing Downtown Florence For The First Time
Alright, I need to admit something. I am a planner. “Be prepared” rings very true to me. But, sometimes it can be a problem. So that is why I decided not to research any place to visit in Florence in advance.
With every city that we have visited, I have browsed the web at night trying to figure out our plans for the days we would be visiting to make sure we capitalized on the time we spent there. To be honest it can be exhausting. It also leads to little let-downs. For example, Milan has an incredible Cathedral and I really wish that I hadn’t seen it online first. It spoiled the surprise.
When you arrive at the Duomo stop on the metro and walk up the stairs you are greeted with an absolutely beautiful site. Seeing it online first deflates the surprise and excitement.
So, I thought as Florence approached, I would do something different. I wouldn’t browse around online and figure out where to go. I would wait until we had settled in and then figure it out.
This brings me to last night. We thought it would be fun to go see the Statue of David and cruise around for a bit. I knew from a while back that the statue was here in Florence, but I didn’t know what else was around it. So, I plugged in “statue of David Florence Italy” into the google maps on my iPhone and we hopped on the bus.
The Statue of David in Florence Italy￼
It was a short walk to the museum. The museum is located off of a small one way street and when we arrived, it was just starting to get dark. We went into the museum and browsed around enjoying the art and crazy amount of sculptures present. Then, we walked into the room housing the Statue of David and it was incredible. The detail in the statue is so much more present then in the replicas we had seen. (They have a replica housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London)
After the museum, we walked outside and upon looking left noticed some really cool star lights and the sound of Christmas music. So, we made are way in that direction.
After traveling about two blocks we purchased some amazing Gelato and then continued down the street while we enjoyed our frozen treat. More and more Christmas lights came into view and we passed by the Hotel California! It was right then that we noticed an incredible large and beautiful building that was lit up. To be honest, it looked a little fake. So, we increased our pace a little and then the street opened into a square and we were right next to this incredible building, shops, restaurants and a very large Christmas tree.
￼We stood and marveled at the building walking along the side and in front. I couldn’t believe how magnificent it looked with the green and white. The light shining on it only added to it’s beauty. After taking several photos and people-watching, we decided to get something to eat.
I did a quick search in Yelp and Trip Advisor to find something that was four or five star rated and close. I found the La Cantinetta in Borgo restaurant. It was located within 100 feet of the square.
We chose our seats in the very back of the restaurant close to the restrooms and kitchen, but away from the larger area of seating. The chef greeted us in his pajama pants and white shirt with his accompanying white socks and sandals. Right then, I knew this place was going to be great.
Their menu featured homemade pastas, meat and cheese platters, fondues, burgers and salads. We ordered our food and started on a cheese platter. About halfway through our meal, a grandmother, mother and daughter arrived and sat right next to us.
The daughter was 19 months old and her name was Beatrice. (Her name sounds incredible in Italian.) Beatrice and Grayson hit it off right away and started playing with cars and hanging out. Our waiter even joined in and was playing with the cars. (We purchased these pull back and let go race cars at the Ferrari store in Milan. These cars are really fast and a lot of fun!) We started talking with the mother who had travelled to the US and even visited Arizona. It was a lot of fun.
These are the days I enjoy most when we are traveling! Tons of surprises and amazing food and conversations. My hope is to try to avoid planning for our first day in Siena in order to see how it turns out.
Florence is a beautiful city with a lot of rich history and so far, amazing people. I look forward to exploring the city more and discovering the richness of its culture.