Destination 6: Florence
Almost every major Italian artist and architect is represented here. You could write the entire history of the Renaissance by spending a few weeks wandering around here. The Accademia houses Michelangelo’s David (You can see the fake one placed at the original location outside the Medici palace in the last photo in this post). The Uffizi houses paintings from all of the masters. Brunelleschi’s basilica dome or Duomo, is perhaps the most famous dome in the world. Hell, you can even see Galileo’s finger in a jar here. Leather, jewelry, and fashion in general are big but the prices are high. Check out the prices for gold jewelry in the shops on the Ponte Vecchio. I couldn’t afford anything even if the prices were Yen instead of Euros. In my opinion, you’re better off spending your hard earned money on wine and food.
Florence had our most memorable dining experiences in Italy. Vini e Vecchi Sapori was one of the best dining experiences I’ve ever had, and likely ever will have. Florence is situated on the edge of the Chianti wine region in Italy. Not the cheap Chianti you can buy for a few bucks at the local liquor store. This wine is a deep red, dry and the flavors are powerful. Goes perfect with the local specialties such as Bistecca alla Florentina. Bistecca is aged steak cut thick and served rare, putting most any other steak to shame. Fantastic gelato is a given. Discussion on Italian food and photos are for a later post, but the quality here cannot be ignored.
While these works of art/architecture and the amazing food culture draws tourists, I found it to be less crowded than Rome. The streets in the main historical areas seemed less overrun by speeding Vespa’s and what are comically tiny cars (at least by American standards). The pace was more of what I had imagined Italy to be. Then again maybe we were just starting to learn how to enjoy this wonderful country.
Next post: Chianti Region Wine Tour