Often when traveling, I’ve heard that the most unexpected, unplanned moments turn out to be the best ones.
That’s exactly what happened when I decided on a whim to take the train from Pisa into Florence for four days. What happened next was my heart was laid out on a silver platter for what came to be my favorite city in Italy.
1. Florence is a walking city.
That means you don’t have to worry about public transportation and all the hazards that come with it. Just find a map or use GPS or ask someone friendly-looking and find your way around the city on your own two feet. But it is that much better if you have a Vespa.
There are so many deliciously empty side streets that let you wander in peace.
And then there are corners of the city where you will find absolutely no solitude.
But finding yourself in those areas becomes absolutely worth the crowds of tourists, especially when you see the magnificence that is the Duomo.
2. I fell in love with Florence because I wanted to fall in love IN Florence.
I’m convinced that Florence is the most romantic city in the world. Yes, you’ll find couples sitting around lounging and occasionally showing a little too much PDA in most cities around Europe, but there was just something about Florence that made me want to climb into a Rom-Com and share this exact moment with someone who I loved, or even just liked, a little.
3. You’re in the heart of Tuscany, and the food reflects that.
When I traveled through Italy, the food I tried in Rome, Cinque Terre or Pisa simply was not the same as the food I had in Florence.
We decided to try this restaurant right in the heart of Santo Spirito (a neighborhood in Florence known for local hangout spots), and I had by far the best spaghetti I had ever had in my life. Everything from the sauce to the homemade pasta – the fresh tomatoes and basil.
Wild boar sausage and buffalo mozzarella + fresh tomatoes.
Fresh olive oil and olive tapenade served to complement the fresh baked bread.
And on some days (more like everyday) treating yourself to homemade gelato while exploring this pretty little city.
We were charmed by the fresh, handmade sandwiches served outside of an antique store. The guys who worked there were totally nice, and extremely patient as we had a bit of a difficult time ordering in Italian.
Oh, but wait – we can’t forget pizza. Pizza by the kilo or pizza by the slice. I scarfed down two slices and eventually decided to order more.
4. Night time is the right time.
Everyone in this city hangs out in Piazzas, or squares – this particular one in Santo Spirito was so lively on a Saturday night. You walk into a bar that’s the size of a large closet, pay for your beer, come outside and drink it in the piazza.
Or you can just bring your own six-pack and hang out with the boys. What I particularly loved was that the city and its citizens make an effort to keep the square clean for the next day, and the hundreds of beer bottles and plastic cups are thrown away around 2 AM.
5. The beauty of this city will stay in your head and heart forever.
This view is one of the most breathtaking views you’ll find in Florence, once you take the steps up to Piazzale Michaelangelo.
This day was perfect. We sat on the steps and listened to an acoustic guitarist singing covers of John Mayer and Bob Dylan songs. The weather was warm, the sky was bright and the occasional breeze brought us much-needed comfort after the mini-hike (it’s actually not a hike at all, I was just extremely un-athletic) up to the top.
There’s a certain soul here. Maybe the distant chatter of the Italian men across the street, or the sound of the vespa driving down the street in the mornings. Maybe it’s the fact that this city is probably the best place in the world to shop for leather goods – most storefronts have factories in the back where they’ll customize any piece you buy to your liking on the spot. It may also be the way the water looks in the rain, and how quiet it gets on the bridges at night.
I don’t quite know what it all means, but there was a feeling that I had where I just knew that Florence would always have a special place in my heart. If you haven’t been, I’d definitely recommend taking even a short weekend break in Florence – start planning your Italian getaway.
Thank you so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed this post. Feel free to follow me on instagram for photo updates of my travels and for some daily inspiration/motivation. instagram.com/projectinspo