Florence Travel Blog› entry 26 of 48 › view all entries
So getting to Florence was quite an adventure. High winds prevented my small Lufthansa plane from landing, so we circled to a nearby airport only to find we were unable to land there as well. After flying about an extra hour or so in turbulent conditions, the plane touched down in Verona, which turned out to be a 3 hour bus ride from Florence.
When I arrived at the hotel, I found Joann and Lizzie well-interred in the roomy Hotel Casci, conveniently located near the Duomo. They'd already had a crazy few days running around Paris and were recovering while I ran late. Joann, Lizzie (and later Jenlui in Greece) were super generous, paying for all the hotels and not letting me split with them at all. When they left, Joann even donated a lovely black tank top to my limited wardrobe, which I've made extremely good use of since.
In Florence, we visited the Accademia, the Uffizio, and this ridiculous place outside the city called The Mall (an 'outlet' of super high end designer brands that everyone kept claiming was half an hour away by bus, though in reality it was a car-sickness inducing neverending ride of an hour and a half). A major tip for any visitors to Florence: make museum reservations before you go! Because we missed our reservations for the Accademia, we ended up waiting in line for 3 hours before getting in, even though we only arrived 15 minutes after the museum opened. With our reservations intact for the Uffizio, we waited only about 5 minutes total before gaining entry. Luckily Joann and Lizzie had done some thorough research before their arrival in Europe.
In terms of timing, we apparently came to Italy at just the right time, since our visit happened to coincide with a country-wide "culture week". This meant that admission to almost all the sites we visited were free . . . so awesome!
Though I've found many major attractions less exciting in real life than in guidebooks, Michaelangelo's David did not fail to impress. While I merely felt impressed, though, Lizzie took it one step further and actually fell in love. Luckily there were knockoffs and postcards all over Florence to remind her of her newfound object of affection.
While we didn't eat anything terribly exciting in Florence, we did have a lovely dinner the first night with some interesting pasta dishes and a great bottle of white wine. We also started our daily sampling of gelato, which continued almost without fail until we left for Greece. After just 2 nights in Florence, we headed by train for Cinque Terre, which turned out to be my favorite of the places we visited in Italy. More information to come in my next entry.