Welcome to to my third instalment of Travel Tuesday. I am excited to share photos of my favourite city of all the ones I have visited in Europe. If you haven’t already guessed which city I am referring to by the photo below of its famous 700-year-old bridge, I am talking about Florence!
In my second Travel Tuesday blog post, The Road to Florence, I shared photos of our road trip from Rome to Florence that included a memorable stop in the antique town of San Gimignano. After arriving in Florence in the late afternoon, we checked-in to our hotel, B&B Hotel FIRENZE. That evening, Katharyn and I decided to venture out into the city on our own and it didn’t take us long to discover that we were in Florence during a significant public holiday – The Feast of St John (La Festa di San Giovanni)! On this day, which has been celebrated in Florence for centuries, the city has a small civic parade and various cultural and folkloric events around the city to celebrate Florence’s patron saint, St John the Baptist. The night would later end with a magnificent fireworks show called i fochi di San Giovanni by Florentines, but before that, my travel partner and I were in search of a dinner spot. We stumbled across a great sidewalk restaurant close to the Arno River where we shared a table with two French travellers, drank red wine, and absorbed the Florentine culture. Later in the evening we met up with some of our fellow Contiki travellers at a local bar who we later walked back to our hotel with. I love this photo that we took during out late-night walk through Florence. I will always remember The Feast of John the Baptist 2015. It was the day I fell in love with Firenze!
We woke up early the next day for a guided walking tour of Florence. Our first stop was to a leather factory where we were given a demonstration on the making of leather and how to tell fake from authentic. We then explored the streets of Florence learning about the city’s extraordinary history and gazing at the magnificent artworks from masters like Michelangelo. We walked along River Arno and across Ponte Vecchio (“Old Bridge”), popping into local shops, some of which have been around since the 13th century. We walked through Medici Palace, Piazza della Signoria, and laid eyes on the Duomo, Basilica Santa Croce, Giotto’s Bell Tower and the Baptistry.
After a full day of sightseeing we went back to our hotel to get ready for the evening. For dinner we travelled outside the city to a winery in Tuscan country where we enjoyed an authentic Tuscan feast. I remember the sound of everyone gasping when we arrived at the winery and saw the view. The sun was setting behind the rolling hills and the orange glow touched the flourishing vineyards and olive groves. Taking in the views of Tuscany that evening as the sun set is something I will never forget.
Oh and the night didn’t end there. Following dinner we headed back into Florence to Space club to celebrate our last night in the city before departing the next morning for the Italian Riviera.
If you love Florence as much as I do follow Girl in Florence. Whenever I am in need of a mental escape I visit her site for some European and Italian inspiration.
My next Travel Tuesday post will highlight our last few stops in Italy before we crossed over into France. The photos I am going to share of the Italian Riviera are some of my absolute favourites of my Mediterranean Highlights trip. If you’ve ever come across photos of Cinque Terre on Pinterest then you likely know why.