Usually city tours are planned for stay in the city 24/48 hours. In my case it is gonna be different. My city guide is about how to use efficiently 3 HOURS (exactly 180 minutes) in Florence. Are you ready? 😉
Just to make it clear, why my stay in capital of Tuscany was that short? It is not that I did not want to be there longer, as believe me, I really wanted! The reason is that this trip was very unexpected. Last week I was working on Sunday and Monday in little town – Barberino di Mugello – out of Florence. I expected to be there full 2 days but fortunately, we (I mean me and other models who were working for @RIFFLEjeans) finished our job on Monday earlier – just before the lunchtime.
But! It would be naive thinking ‘oh, that’s cool, I can have more time for myself!’. The truth was… not really, we needed to wait over 2 hours for the bus to take us back to Florence and take the train back to Milan.
I thought I was so close to this city and I would regret not seeing it even for a bit! Especially that for last two days, during job, photographer & assistant talked a lot about Florence and how nice is it, giving some tips what to see, where to go there. I really wanted to see it myself! One other friend (who I just met at job) tempted by those hints, thought the same, we decided that we would go back to Milan a bit later that evening so we could have at least few hours in Florence.
And that is what we did!
When the bus finally picked us up to Florence, in the meanwhile we marked some places on the map that would be nice to see. We split with the rest of the group who was chasing the train at 5PM, having on our mind that now we had 3 hours to see as much as possible.
(Below you can see map marked with our walk – now, looking at this in perspective of time, seems like that we made quite solid distance 😉 )
We started from Firenze Train Station (S. M. Novella) which is located just next to Basilica Si Santa Maria Novella.
Then we headed towards Pallazo Medici Riccardi and little Basilica di San Lorenzo . Which unfortunately was already closed, we missed 10 minutes(!).
Later, we turned right and walked down the street where on our left appeared one of the most beautiful Cathedral I have ever seen in my life – Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.
Astonishing facade, jaw-dropping with its colorful marble. This 1200s cathedral known for its red-tiled dome. We had walk around it, trying to find the way to walk inside, but this idea quickly blurred after seeing the queue to the entrance… (Hopefully next time!)
Walking down Via dei Calzaiuoli we walked towards Piazza della Republicca and found Fontana del Porcellino. I did not know by then, but apparently rubbing the snout of this iconic bronze fountain of a boar will ensure your return to Florence 😊.
From there we walked to Piazza deggli Uffii where is located Gallery which is a prominent art museum. One of the most important Italian museums, and the most visited, it is also one of the largest and best known in the world, and holds a collection of priceless works, particularly from the period of the Italian Renaissance.
This is placed just few steps from the bank of Arno River where we enjoyed picturesque view of the city over the water.
At this point we walked a bit more to the east side of the city to see Basilica di Santa Croce di Firenze.
That was a turning point of our trip and started to walk towards train station. We came back to the riverside and crossed it through Ponte alle Grazie (from there I spotted hill with Piazza Michelangelo on top but we had no time to climb over there – later I googled this place and this is apparently the best place to see panorama of the city – according to Wikipedia that it is 19th-century piazza with a bronze replica of Michelangelo’s David & panoramic views over the city]”).
Southern part of Arno River was definitely more chilled and peaceful than its northern part which was full of traffic. I really enjoyed it, we walked towards Ponte Vecchio. Picturesque medieval arched river bridge with Roman origins, lined with jewelry & souvenir shops.
This is probably one of the nicest and romantic part of the city. (And I am saying this – the one who is not romantic at all 😀 ).
From Ponte Vecchio we walked a bit more further up the river.. We had 1 hour before the departure of our train. So we decided to look for some nice bar to rest and eat after our [quite] intense tour.
Primarly we wanted to try Lampredotto. This is one of those historical, common folk dishes from Florence’s medieval period. It is a sandwich made with thinly sliced tripe (intestines) that’s been boiled in broth, seasoned, and served either on a plate or in a sandwich. You can order it with spicy red sauce or herbal green sauce, or even bagnato (with wet bread, and little bit of gravy) from outdoor markets or street vendors around the city)… but the bar was already closed so we walked across the river once again, googling local restaurants so we would be closer to the train station and have more time to relax.
We ended up at Trattoria da Giorgio (Via Palazzuolo 100r). Where we expected to have good, home-made food – judging from reviews on Internet.
We ordered our food at 7.30 and it was served in few minutes. But we had almost no time to enjoy it… We were eating literally as it was a competition. Paying for it with mouth still full of food. Eventually, we left the restaurant at 7.48 and run towards train station to catch the train at 8 pm…
I do not need to tell how mad I was when I saw when I saw on the screen that our train had 30mins delay… ‘We could have at least some coffee at the restaurant and eat as a human!’ – thought to myself…. I felt so sorry for my friend who I was rushing up with eating. On the other hand, we had extra time to get some gelato on the station!
Our delay eventually turned into 45 minutes and then we got out train to Milan, where we arrived at 11 PM.
I was very tired when we got off at Milano Centrale as that were two intense days, also Sunday and Monday I needed to wake up at 5 am, but I was also happy about having seen Florence at least for a bit!
I walked (or rather crawled) very slowly – like a zombie to my apartment. All I needed was having a shower and going to bed.
While I was falling asleep I had real brainstorm on my mind and flashbacks from this what I has seen that day, as everything was happening so fast and still I could not believe I was there…
And, you know what?! The legend about rubbing Porcellino is actually truth! As I go back to Florence for job next week! 😉