Florence : cherry blossom and ice cream!

I will always remember the spring sunshine and cherry blossom in Florence. And the massive mounds of ice cream, obviously! This was ice cream unlike anything I’d ever seen before, or since. It became our nightly ritual to have an ice cream for pudding each evening while strolling around as the sun set.

Florence is a beautiful city. Each morning we walked along the river towards the Ponte Vecchio. This is an ancient bridge with jewellery shops spanning the length of it. It is customary for lovers  to chain a padlock on to the railings on or near the bridge to symbolise their eternal love.

Florence is characterised by red roofs and it was lovely to stroll along the quaint streets, ice cream in hand, just soaking up the atmosphere. We also sampled the more cultural aspects, visiting the famous Uffizi art gallery, as well as the Galleria dell’accademia to see Michaelangelo’s David. Both places had massive queues – despite getting up early we queued outside the Uffizi* for around an hour. Luckily that queue was sheltered from the sun, but not so for the queue outside the Galleria dell’accademia – we were sweating in the heat of the morning sun. After an hour or so a man came along the queue saying he was taking a tour into the Gallery right now and we could give him 20 Euros to join their tour, just to get in, and then do our own thing once we got inside. We thought we would take our chances so we agreed and gave him cash?! Which is bizarre as I would never normally agree to things like this so it must have been the heat that went to my head! Sure enough he came back for us with tickets and took us in with his tour group. I would advise being wary of such people, as looking back I’m surprised we ever saw him again! 🙂

In the Galleria dell’accademia I enjoyed seeing Michaelangelo’s David, and that was the main event for me. We dutifully looked around the rest of the gallery, but it is clear that most people go to see David. The Uffizi on the other hand is massive, and you could spend all day in there. It was renaissance art and I prefer modern art, so after a while I had seen enough, and at risk of sounding like a total philistine I wanted to leave to get some delicious lunch 😉

The Duomo is certainly worth a visit, and dominates the skyline of Florence. I would definitely recommend climbing up the dome – partly to see the beautiful intricate frescos on the inside of the dome, and also to see the spectacular views of the red roofs of Florence from the outside of the dome.

* See my blog post on South America, “The most amazing coincidence ever?!” for a bizarre follow on from the Uffizi queue!

Next blog: Pisa, Italy

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