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After leaving the constantly-drizzling Pisa, we took a train towards Florence. Known as the “cradle of the Renaissance” (taken from Wikipedia), Florence houses many churches, monuments and buildings.
Basilica di Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cross)
The first stop that we had planned for Florence is the Basilica di Santa Croce. The building of this basilica begun in 1924, and was paid for by some of the wealthiest families in Florence. People from all over the world came to visit some of the famous tombs in this basilica.
Tomb of Michelangelo Buonarroti
Two of the most famous tombs in this basilica is Michelangeo and Galileo tombs. It’s kind of weird to say that I like the tombs, but the detailed sculptures surrounding the tomb are simply astounding and beautiful.
Tomb of Galileo Galilei
A striking fortress-like town hall, Palazzo Vecchio overlooks Piazza della Signoria, and this structure is a highlight of this Tuscan city.
Replica of Michelangelo’s David
Florence is a city of numerous art galleries, and Uffizi Gallery is one of the most famous ones. It houses a wide collection of masterpieces of exceptional value. Another art gallery that many people visit is Galleria dell’Accademia, where they visit the famous Michelangelo’s David. We didn’t manage to go visit Galleria dell’Accademia, so we went to see a replica of David outside the entrance of Palazzo Vecchio (heh).
Florence has six bridges, and Ponte Vecchio is the oldest bridge of all. There were many shops housed under the porticos on the bridge, and most of them are goldsmiths.
Duomo of Florence
Piazzale Michelangelo offers a spectacular panoramic view of Florence. It’s a pity the weather was cloudy, hence unable to capture the beauty of Florence.
Basilica di San Lorenzo (Basilica of St. Lawrence)
On the next day, we visited the city’s main market district and one of the largest and oldest church in Florence – Basilica di San Lorenzo. Largely funded by the Medici family, it’s a huge church with many small chapels inside.
Piazza di Santa Maria
We decided to drop by Piazza di Santa Maria as we had some extra time on hand. Though we didn’t go into Basilica di Santa Maria Novella, it was nice relaxing at the Piazza and people watch – while slurping gelatos and gorging fruits.
Duomo of Florence
I believe Duomo of Florence is the most popular cathedral in Florence. Many tourists flock here everyday and queue up diligently just to go in and have a look inside this magnificent Duomo. It was the third cathedral to be built in Florence and has a very beautiful facade.
The other side of Duomo of Florence
We didn’t climb up the Giotto’s tower, though it stands at 84.7 metres tall and has an excellent view of Florence.
Duomo of Florence and Giotto’s Tower
We didn’t take much night photos in Florence, and it was so cold during the night that we just wanted to return to the hostel as quickly as possible after dinner.
Duomo of Florence
‘Nuff of the buildings and structures and sculptures… moving on to the food in Florence! I love, love, love the Tuscan cuisine in Florence. In fact, I had one of the most memorable and tasty food in Florence.
We went to Mercato Centrale, and I absolutely loved that place. All the cakes, cookies, petite fours, pastries…
From meat to vegetables to fruits to desserts… Mercato Centrale has them all.
Fruits, vegetables and mushrooms!
The wide variety of cheese they have is astounding.
Left: wild strawberries; Right: normal strawberries
We love how the markets offer only fruits that are in-season: strawberries, cherries, peaches… We ate tons of strawberries and cherries during our trip in Europe.
Cured meat hanging from the top, fresh meat and condiments below.
The family of tomatoes.
We saw this incredibly small Nutella and the incredibly huge Nutella and we couldn’t resist not taking a photo of it. In Singapore, I’ve never seen Nutella of these sizes.
They even have a Nutella snack! Biscuits with Nutella spread and lemon drink. Reminds me of Yam Yam, my childhood favourite snack.
The weather was cold during the two nights that we were there in Florence, so we ordered a hearty vegetable soup to share. I believe it’s called Ribollita. It’s a hearty Tuscan soup with peasant origins. There were many ingredients in this soup – carrots, celery, beans, onion, cabbage… just to name a few.
Pasta was a dish that we did not stop eating while we were in Italy. But Rome still had better pasta…
Florence is famous for the Tuscan-styled T-bone steak. The portion was huge and was grilled to perfection.
Lemon sorbet – not as good as those gelatos, but I like the presentation of the sorbet. (:
We had an earlier dinner the next day (hence the photos turned out nicer). This was a truffle risotto – which we didn’t really like it. It was so plain!
The pasta was slightly better than risotto, but then again, Rome has better pasta in my honest opinion (or maybe we just didn’t go to the correct place to eat?)
I’m gonna end off this Florence trip with this amazing pastry café called Caffé Paszkowski. Over 150 years old, this is a classy cafe located at 6r, Plaza della Repubblica. The prices are a bit steep, but they have a really wide selection of desserts and they all look so good. Pity I didn’t have enough money to try them all!
And that’s all for Florence! One more stop before we leave Italy for a new country. Will update soon! (: