Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Weekend in Florence

Saturday morning my alarm went off at 5.30am. I was off to Florence to celebrate my 5 year anniversary in Italy!

I caught a very early train with Italo, a new train company which is Trenitalia's only national competitor. For the journey down to Florence I'd decided to pay four Euro more for a seat in Prima classe. There are three classes, Smart (where I was on the way home as the price difference for the return journey was too much), Prima, and Club. The four euro extra got me a snack - orange juice and some tasty biscuits - a free newspaper, and so much legroom that my 5ft nought frame could practically lie down in the seat! And two hours later I was at Firenze Santa Maria Novella station, where it was time for a much needed cappuccino!

I dropped my case off at the left luggage on platform 16 (it's 5 euro for five hours) and off I went to explore!

I wanted my first stop to be Ponte Vecchio, so I worked my way down on foot from the station - mostly following the tourists! All the shops on the bridge are amazing, all jewellery, there was sparkling gold everywhere. Naturally the bridge was packed with mostly tourists, from all over the world. After crossing the river I stopped at Gelateria Santà Trinità (Piazza de' Frescobaldi, 11-12r) which had been recommended to me, and I wasn't let down! The dark chocolate was the most deliciously intense one I'd ever had. Not long after I'd sat down with my cone the gelatieria was invaded by a group of students and their guide!

After a lunch of a delicious slice of pizza back at the train station I went to check in to my hotel (Vasari Palace, Via Bernardo Cennini 11) which was a stone's throw away. I found a framed quote from Dante's Commedia in the lounge area and a unique touch upstairs - all the doors had paintings on them!

After a much-needed rest (I had been up since 5.30) I had a look around a nearby market and then onto Piazza del Duomo. It was just as amazing as it had been when I first saw it over 7 years ago. There I had a Chianti sorbet, no, really. It was as amazing as it sounds!

I must admit that my favourite thing about staying in hotels is the breakfast. And the morning after I refuled in style. A croissant, a piece of crostata, a bread roll with butter and jam, biscuits, a yogurt... On leaving the hotel I found the streets quieter than the previous day, it were as if Florence was still half-asleep... I stopped off in Caffè Sabatino (Via Faenza, 68r) for a second coffee after having had a lovely merenda (afternoon snack) there the day before. Lunch was a cheeky gelato - the best pistacchio ice cream I'd ever had!

After a couple of hours wandering around the streets near the river Arno I was peckish again. By chance I found a sandwich shop, Pane & Toscana (Borgo Albizi 31R). The menu outside caught my eye, a list of panini which included some named after areas and towns in Tuscany.

After following my feet I found myself back in Piazza del Duomo soaking up the atmosphere. It's fascinating tourist watching, and I was happy enough to rest my feet for a while and watch the world go by. The only problem was the Lindt shop which was calling my name...

During my weekend I'd read about the Piglet on Tripadvisor, which isn't actually a pig, but a wild boar. It's a fountain, and the legend is that rubbing its snout brings good luck - and putting money in its mouth even more! I couldn't resist!

Too soon it was time to go back to the hotel to pick my case up and go to the station to catch my train up to Milan. My exhausted phone was very happy to find electrical sockets at Casa Italo! My last meal was a McDonalds supper (I know...) sat in a slightly random green area by platform 16...

So to sum up my weekend in one of Italy's most beautiful cities, I walked a lot, ate a lot, and walked some more! And it was an amazing way to celebrate five years in Italy!


Alison Jackson said...

So pleased that Gelateria Santa Trinita didn't disappoint! John would've had the chocolate too

Nerys said...

Thanks to John for the recommendation! :)

Jenny P said...

Thank you for the gelati recommendations. I will remember to revisit this post when we venture over to Florence. Sounds like a great weekend.

silencer137 said...

Gelateria Santa Trinita was a very good recommendation. I, too, found it to be the best in the city and believe me I tested a LOT of Gelati in Firenze :-)

Katiuscia Herrera said...

bellissima Firenze, devo assolutamente tornarci