By far, the most charming city I’ve ever visited. Tuscany as a province is breathtaking. But, Florence, is where we were swept off our feet. This city actually reminds me a lot of Melbourne, Australia, the city that I will always call home. The difference between the 2 is of course, Florence breathes art, whereas Melbourne is infused by them. Michael Angelo was from here, by the way. Nuff’ said.
Doing research before the trip, the general consensus was that it was impossible to see every art, or visit every museum in Florence. Unless of course you set aside a month or two for it. And since we visited the Louvre, mere days before this, we agreed to go the opposite route. We didn’t plan much, nor rushed. We took the city in, and enjoyed what we stumble on, while casually strolling the city. Lucky for us, this city is absolutely perfect for it, as most of the well known piazzas and museums are all centrally located.
For those planning to visit Florence for the first time, my tip would be to stay near Santa Maria Novella station. The central bus depot is also just around the corner. This is the main station in the city and its a perfect starting point to go wherever in Florence, as well as Tuscany.
Apart from having an extensive list of piazzas and museums, Florence also boasts to be responsible of 85% of the total leather production in the world. Don’t quote me on the number, cos it was told to me by an automated voice that narrated Florence to us, while on board of the Red Bus tour. But, hey, they do have a lot of leather! The Medici brand of leather goods were spilled all over the street market vendors. They all were beautifully hand crafted with quite reasonable prices. The Asian in me, however, decided to wait for our visit to The Mall, for our big shopping splurge.
The Mall is like what we would label as Factory Outlets, in terms of prices and goods being not of the current season. The Mall, however, despite having a cheesy name, looked more like a village of high end boutique stores. Labels such as Todds, Armani, Burberry, Bottega, Gucci, and many others were all found there. And they all had individual concept stores that doesn’t at all suggest that they are a discount store. We went crazy here, with prices as cheap as a third of retail prices. If you are visiting this place in summer, you better get on the 1st available bus there. As Chinese bargain hunters have already zeroed in on this location. Bus ride from Santa Maria Novella is around 45 mins to The Mall.
The Boss and I will forever hold Florence dear to our hearts. For its beauty, charms, and also for something that has little to do with Florence itself. For this is the city that we conceived our first child. Thus, the title of this post. And because he is a boy, we chose to name him Firenze.
I didn’t want to do an informative post, nor make this blog into a travel blog. Partly because I am a half empty glass kinda guy, and I never assume that my opinion is that of the majority. The other reason is, as a traveler especially, I didn’t like to be confined to what others reckon I should see or do. I value my independence, and hope that along the way I learn or capture something that others have missed out on. So, if you find an advice of value in this blog, good for you. All I want to do, if provide an insight, and a personal point of view of the city of Florence.