I am overwhelmed. I don’t know where to start.
Florence, is the birthplace of Renaissance, home to world class art and gothic beauty. In the capital of Tuscany I got to “personally meet” best-loved masterpieces by great artists. Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Botticelli and Da Vinci just to name a few of the most famous. Walking in an open air Renaissance university, strolling in the imposing Galleries, is quite equivalent to an intensive arts masterclass.
Walking is the only way to explore and exploring is the only way to create. My favourite break point is the Old Bridge, above the Arno River. Ponte Vecchio, indeed the oldest bridge in Florence, is mostly known for the glittering jewel shops built on the bridge, though the highlight, is the incomparable view from above.
I keep coming back, in the same spot, dawdling on Ponte Vecchio, several times during the day. Just to make sure i won’t miss on any mood or any view change.
Antiche Dimore Fiorentine
One of the first B&Bs to open in Florence, Antiche Dimore Fiorentine, is one of the most informal, intimate and warm guesthouses I have ever visited.
Upon entering the house, located in an old Florentine palace, I come across the sweetest hostess. Her courtesy and honest smile would make anyone feel like home. A warm welcome, a casual encounter with a person who truly enjoys taking care of guests. The house is within walking distance to major sights, making the location absolutely perfect.
The room is typically decorated in Florentine colours and inspires domestic atmosphere, intimacy and great hospitality.
An honesty bar operating upon trust and good will. A sincere “give and take” between the landlord and the guest. It isn’t the first time to meet such a concept. Last summer, during my stay in Lisbon, a guesthouse of similar values, offered drinks and food trusting in guests’ honesty for any payment.
Our hostess, grabs the map, and gets me acquainted with a legendary city. I have to admit that the best recommendations come from locals. No matter how deep is a research, how many kilometres one walks, hanging out with a savvy local is second to none.
I arrived by train from Venice, heaved my luggage up in the bed and went out for the first dinner in Florence.
Just a hop away from my Florentine “house”, this cozy, typical Florentine restaurant serves food of excellent quality at great price.
Osteria Pepo, is a few blocks away from the central market. A multi awarded restaurant, a local meeting point, as small as may be, inspires a cozy atmosphere. The menu is simple and changes daily. The house wine is delicious and the menu is written on the blackboard. Warmth and splendid odours fill up the place and I go for the Florentine steak.
Red wine, great food, fine people. What else is there?
Casa di Dante
Dante, a medieval poet and philosopher, known mostly by his epic poetic trilogy “The Divine Comedy”, is celebrated in a 3 floor museum in the heart of Florence. His work and life are documented and showcased in the same exact spot where the house of Alighieri family stood.
Born in 1265, of a family greatly involved in the political scene of Florence. Dante had to get married to Gemma Donati, in a young age though his only true love has been Beatrice Portinari, whose character would form the backbone of his greatest poem. Their love was from afar, courtly one would say, yet strong and inspiring.
The masterpiece of Italian literature that embraces mankind’s eternal fate, “The Divine Comedy” in its tiniest form is housed in the museum.
I spotted this exquisitely designed multi space, during my way back to my Florentine “house”. I couldn’t instantly tell between a restaurant, a coffee shop, a bistrot, a fine dining room or a design shop. A contemporary mixture of urban essentials all packed gracefully into a delicate multi usage space, just around the corner.
Dear La Ménagère,
allow me to “copy” your well crafted words.
This space used to serve as a housewares shop, recently transformed into a conceptual restaurant. All curated by Florence’s q-bic studio.
A container of creative minds, a place where design meets gourmet cuisine, flowers and housewares to create an informal atmosphere. Recycled and repurposed industrial materials as well as artisanal design objects animate the 1500 mq modern space brightened by beautiful light fixtures. The place is beautiful, inspiring and absolutely contemporary. As a digital nomad, I would “reserve” and use some space every single day as my working space.
“Artemisia”, is a flower shop in the shop, a place where one can order a rose while sipping a coffee, or savouring an alchemic cocktail.
<tweet>I couldn’t find a corner of Spring, regardless of the time of year. </tweet>
One of the main advantages of travelling off season, is that you never have to wait your turn in endless queues. Those lines are quite as famous as the masterpieces.
Uffizi Gallery, built in 1581, has been constructed under the request of Granduca Francisco de’ Medici.
Adjacent to the Medici Palace, the most significant family in Florence, extending until the Arno river, over the Ponte Vecchio Bridge, this building was originally used as offices. Nowadays, holds some significant masterpieces that will blow your mind.
The main part of the collections were left by the Medici to the state of Tuscany so that they could “adorn the State, be of utility to the Public and attract the curiosity of Foreigners”.
A room dedicated to Caravaggio, a room dedicated to Michelangelo and the Florentines, a room dedicated to Raffaelo and 90 more rooms, designed ‘to walk in with paintings, sculptures and other precious things‘.
Incomparable to any other, the collection of the Uffizi is probably the only one to have extraordinary masterpieces of exceptional value.
I spent the day feeling small and grateful.
Wrapping up a tour in the Uffizi Gallery comes with a view and a tasteful pleasure. When you exit the U shaped building, after your tour in the artful halls and corridors of the museum, you find yourself in Piazza del Grano. A small square filled with hungry art lovers waiting in line for a famous typical Florentine sandwich.
I ask for a small glass of red wine and a traditional “schacciata” by cult Giacomino and i hop on a wall, overlooking Ponte Vecchio to conceive my luck.
<tweet>Simple and comfortable. That’s luxury!</tweet>
I kept coming back to this Medieval stone closed – spandrel segmental arch bridge over the Arno river.
Ponte Vecchio, probably the most photographed landmark of Florence, worths more than a visit. Mood and views change, as sun and moon swirl and one cannot stop inhaling love, exhaling hate.
I was overwhelmed by the incomparable beauty lying there, before my eyes. A magnificent natural setting offering the most scenic view towards river Arno.
I had to climb up the balcony of Florence, where Michelangelo’s replica – statue of David stands, overlooking the capital of Tuscany and the Arno river, reaching high for the sky.
I had to catch my breath. I walked all the way from Ponte Vecchio to Piazzale Michelangelo, took the swirling way up the hill just to “drink” some river spray.
I couldn’t put it better than Nelson Mandela: “After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”