Like most people, Florence was on my list as soon as we started planning to go to Italy! It was the birthplace of the Renaissance and the city is always sprawling with intellectual and architectural marvels. Like most trips, we spent 24 hours in Florence. Given this short amount of time, we were able to make the most of all the things Florence has to offer!
We took the train from Venice (If you missed my Venice adventures see here) to Florence. The train was easy to navigate with both stations being in the heart of the cities. When we arrived to Florence it was only a short walk to our hotel.
Where we stayed …
We chose to stay at the Hotel Spadai during our recent trip. This 4 star luxury hotel was very modern and located right in the heart of the city, next to the Duomo. This hotel could not be in a better location given it’s proximity to the Duomo and amazing local restaurants.
Starting our day …
After a night well rested, we woke up early to explore the city! We walked the short distance to the square surrounding the Duomo to grab a quick espresso and croissant. The small cafe overlooked the Duomo which was not crowded yet.
Climbing the Duomo …
The Duomo opened at 8:30AM and we wanted to beat the crowds to climb the dome! Being some of the first in line for the day, we ascended the 463 steps to the top. Throughout the climb, we stopped along the way to marvel at the inner dome, the beautiful frescos of the church, and peak through the windows at the square below.
Reaching the top, the views of the city were spectacular! We could see for miles the surrounding city of red bricks with the Tuscan hills in the background.
After descending the Duomo, we checked out the inside of the church, as well as the Baptistery and Bell Tower. We also visited the small museum, Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, near the main square that houses the original Gates of Paradise. The Gates of Paradise used to be the original doors of the Baptistery (today’s are a replica); however, these gilded bronze doors were relocated to the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo for preservation. They were spectacular to view and a great icon of the Renaissance.
Marveling at the David …
Another icon of this period is Michelangelo’s masterpiece – the David. We decided next we would visit the Galleria Dell-Accademia, a must visit every time I’m visiting Florence! Due to the long lines that typically form, we purchased our tickets online and were able to skip the lines. Walking into the gallery, you pass Michelangelo’s unfinished Prisoners trying to emerge from the marble. This makes the David a sharp contrast with its perfection.
After visiting the Galleria, we grabbed a quick bite to eat at a local cafe. Scattered throughout the city are little baguette sandwich shops. For a couple euros, these amazing sandwiches are super affordable, while also being delicious.
After exploring the Duomo and the David for most of the morning, I decided to explore more of the medieval history and artwork in the afternoon. In the coming days, you can read more about the 2nd half of my adventure.