After Zermatt, it was “farewell” to Switzerland and “hello” to Italy… or should I say “Buongiorno”..?
Zee left in the morning and I followed his lead a couple hours later, making the various train switches before boarding the train that would take me to one of the premiere European summer destinations: Florence!
The trip was quick enough and before I knew it, I was pulling into the Firenze station where, to my surprise, the Wilson brothers awaited my arrival. It was so great to be reunited with them. Good times were headed our way..
We stopped to drop off my luggage at our hotel, located just down the street from the station and countless Italian attractions, and we were out in the heat, in search of something to eat. Despite, or in lieu of, my exhaustion from a full day of travel, I was mesmerized by the architecture of the beautiful city. The sun was at just the right angle to cast looming shadows over the towering structures and mix them with the brilliant orange of dusk.
We found an inexpensive restaurant off of one of the main roads where we sat down to enjoy a meal of bruschetta, pasta, and, of course, wine.
The boys and I let ourselves get lost in the streets of Florence, admiring the busy nightlife and the break in scorching Tuscan heat. I’d had vague memories of Florence from when my friend Remy spent time there last year. He’d sent me a video while sitting along Ponte-Vecchio, making me incredibly envious of his travels and fueling my wanderlust. I couldn’t help but reminisce as I stood near the very spot that he once had, now on my very own journey abroad.
The next morning, we took a day trip out of Florence. Our first stop: Pisa! In all honesty, there’s not much to see in Pisa besides, of course, the Tower. The streets are pretty enough, but the primary draw of the town is the curious structure that rests on the North end of the city.
As with most other iconic structures I’ve encountered in Europe, I was in pure disbelief that something I’d seen to frequently in photos was right before my very eyes. The Tower of Pisa is beautiful and intricately constructed… aside from the fact that it couldn’t stand securely on its own for several years. I loved being able to see its details up close.
After marveling at the Leaning Tower, the heat became too much for us to bear and we sought out some refreshments and food before hopping on a train to our next destination for the day; the small town of Lucca.
The boys’ family came from here, so naturally, they wanted to visit. They’d informed me ahead of time that there wouldn’t be much to see since it was such a small city, but we were all surprised at how many tourists we saw walking about. I later discovered that it is one of the only Italian cities where you can still observe and walk along the walls surrounding the center of town.
We wasted the next few hours curving through the old streets, eating gelato, and just observing the sights. We made a quick run to a supermarket to grab some snacks and rested among some grass to enjoy the last bit of time we had there. We journeyed back to Florence, loving the indescribable Tuscan hills we passed.
The next day marked our final day in Firenze. We were up early(ish) in hopes of getting into the Uffizi museum, but the lines were far too long and it was much too hot to wait around in the sun. We dropped our initial plans and instead explored the Galileo Museum along Ponte-Vecchio. What a treat it was to see such advanced tools from so long ago. Countless items filled the glass cases of the museum, even a few of Galileo’s very own fingers… and a tooth. (Yikes!)
After our historical fill, we walked down Ponte-Vecchio to observe the shops. When we couldn’t stand the heat any longer, we bought some wine and gelato and made our way back to our hotel for a bit of a snack and a quick nap.
For our last dinner in Florence, we selected a quaint little restaurant with a great house wine and a delicious selection of entrées. I ordered spaghetti with various shellfish on top. It was too good.
Behind it’s overpopulated streets and overtly touristy ambiance, Florence is a gorgeous city with an endless supply of history, good food, great shopping, and friendly people. I’d be a lucky girl if I were ever able to return.