On our last night in Florence we took a bus up to Fiesole to watch the sunset. It was so gorgeous and peaceful and exactly what I wanted. We found a little park to watch the sunset from; it was quite the hike up to the top!!
We stayed at the park for a long time to watch the sunset. Eventually we got too cold and made our way back down to warm up in a caffé with some coffee and sugar!
We thought the sunset was pretty much finished. But oh no, stepping out of the caffé to catch our bus we saw this:
I think we would have been frozen statues if we would have stayed in that park any longer but it would probably have been worth it!
Our day trip to Siena was not my favorite day. It was gloomy and Siena was just too quiet. Literally nothing was happening in Siena and all of the churches cost money to even walk inside which was so disappointing. On a positive note, it was a nice train ride south from Florence to Siena and Piazza del Campo is really beautiful.
Basically we wandered around not sure what to do because we had pre-purchased our train tickets back to Florence so we had to wait for that. It was raining and nothing was open; it was a little sad. We saw a movie poster for the Hobbit (the first one) and decided that would be a good way to pass the time. We paid €10 each for tickets but we were excited to see the movie and it was in a really cool old theater. So we settled down to watch and found that it was completely dubbed in Italian! We thought for sure there would be Italian sub-titles with the movie being in English…no. Completely in Italian! Even the singing. I was worn out and in a bad mood so I took a nap for the entire movie.
Eventually we made our way back to Florence and had a really good afternoon at an artisan market called ARTour Toscana in Piazza Santa Maria Novella.
We bought some Christmas presents from this market and then we went to see the Accademia Gallery. I don’t have any pictures from inside and I wasn’t brave enough to sneak one of David, but it was a memorable experience! Especially since Julie left her little green bag of presents in the museum… Poor Julie The staff were so nice and let her go back in to try and find it but someone had already taken it.
Our last full day in Florence… Oh Florence, I love you!
If you go to Florence, you need to climb the dome! The views were amazing and actually the climb itself was very interesting. There are small landings along the way that are like little museums with statues and other artifacts (good place to take a rest 😉 )
A small steep and narrow staircase is your last hurdle to reach the top of the dome. The views are so beautiful! This is 100% worth every one of those 463 steps.
You get to see the frescoes of the dome up close from a tiny walkway that circles around. Also, there are nice views of the marble floor which I didn’t notice much until we were up high enough to see it.
Next up we found our way to the outdoor San Lorenzo Market. The market is pretty overwhelming and not really what I had imagined. But it was great for picking up a few souvenirs, even if some were kind of cheap. I bought some little leather bracelets, a ring, and a scarf! Julie bought a scarf as well which was so pretty! I think Curtis got gloves.
Guys…Florence in December is COLD! We thought Rome was chilly – no. Be prepared. I had two pairs of tights on, a hat, and needed a warmer jacket, which I eventually bought as well.
The rest of the night we spent walking around Florence – enjoying the Christmas decorations, taking sunset pics along the Arno River, and crossing the Rialto Bridge. After dark we headed back to our hostel to prepare for a trip to Siena the next day.
Real life chores still need to get done, even in Florence!
We arrived in Florence pretty late at night on December 19, 2012. From Santa Maria Novella Train Station we took a bus to our hostel. Hostel 7 Santi was a little further out from the city center than I had wanted but it was still a fairly nice hostel! Julie had a bed in a dorm room and Curtis and I had a bed in a private room with an ensuite bathroom. Much like our room in Rome the “ensuite bathroom” is this funny little canvas walled box in the room with a toilet, sink, and shower inside. But, hey, it worked for us!
Across the street from the hostel was a Caffé which was really nice, we stopped there I think every morning.
After a nice cappuccino we took the bus to the city center. The Duomo is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen! The detail on the outside – colored pieces of marble – is so beautiful.
Not only is the Duomo itself incredible, the Piazza around it is like a dream world. We were here at Christmas time as well so the charm was top level.
Inside the Duomo is such a contrast to the outside. After seeing St. Peter’s in Rome we had certain expections – basically we expected all out high frills – but the Duomo of Florence has it’s own beauty. I loved the inside of the Duomo, after Notre Dame I would say the interior of the Duomo was my favorite of all the churches we saw in Europe.
And the best part…
We climbed to the cupola on top of this huge dome! It was an incredible experience and the views of Florence from the top were so beautiful. I will show you in the next post 😉