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Jul 25, 2012

Exploring Florence, Italy

I'm just gonna come right out and say it...Florence didn't light my fire. I know, I know...I'm sure a few of you Florence lovers could slap me right about now, but it just didn't do it for me. I don't know what it was about that city, but I didn't leave there feeling awe-struck or compelled to go back. Believe me, I wanted to LOVE it, just like everyone else in the world seems to love it, but Florence is just kind of "ehhh" to me. I'm literally hanging my head in shame over this, people. Like I've committed some kind of Italian crime...how could someone NOT love Florence?! To be honest, our day there was kind of stressful, so maybe that contributed to my disenchantment...and it felt too rushed, like we tried to squeeze in too many sights. Apparently my enjoyment level while sight-seeing is directly related to how stressed I am. Who would've thought? {eye rolls} I'm sure that if given the chance to go back, I would, but I'd plan things out a bit differently and I'd certainly know what to expect. Hey, it was our first time exploring an Italian city, culture shock might have also been factor. I'm not ruling anything out, mostly since I can't quite put my finger just what turned me off. 

Now, with all the being said, I did get to see and do lots of things on my bucket list, most notably climbing up the 463 stairs to the top of the Duomo and seeing the Battistero di San Giovanni (Baptistry of St. John). The views atop the Duomo were nothing short of spectacular! And it was fun coaching my sis and cousin up the winding staircases (the parent's sat this one out, obviously). We also got to roam the halls of the Uffizi Gallery, feasting our eyes upon the famous paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli (the Birth of Venus was exquisite!), and Rembrandt. Even though it took up a lot of our time in Florence, it was worth having a look (buy your tickets ahead of time and skip the lines!!) Towards the end of the day we stumbled upon the San Lorenzo markets and spent a couple of hours wandering the streets buying leather bracelets, scarves, and postcards. Oh, and of course pasta...lots and lots of pasta! So, the day was far from a wash. We did have a lot of fun, we did see a lot of history, and D ate the biggest gelato cone that I've ever seen...so, we made a lot of fun of him. Maybe Florence wasn't so bad after all?

Here's a little video of our view from the top of the Duomo. By the way, I hate the word "duomo." It always makes me wanna say stupid things like, "Duomo Arigato, Mr. Roboto." I'm pretty sure we sang that phrase the whole way up the thing. I know, stop it. 

After touring the Uffizi Gallery, climbing the Duomo, and wandering around various squares in the city, we decided it was finally time to try some of the gelato that Italy is so famous for. There were so many gelato shops to choose from, it made my head spin. We ended up picking a place with a really cute sign (because, you know, that's how you pick things if your a girl). The shop was packed, but we squeezed in their like sardines and marveled at all the flavors behind the glass case. Some of us got simple cones with a scoop of pistachio and a scoop of stracciatella (chocolate chip)...while others (and by other's I mean my husband, only) got GIANT cones with multiple flavors and large sugar wafers. I think his eyes were bigger than his tummy. When D walked out of that gelato shop carrying the biggest gelato cone I'd ever seen, I couldn't stop laughing! None of us could. He said he didn't want that much, but the girl behind the counter insisted that he should have a "Mickey Mouse" cone. He had no idea what she meant, so he said "Sure!" That gelato girl saw D coming a mile away, I'm sure of it. So, naturally we made fun of him as he walked through the streets of Florence with his half lopsided Mickey Mouse cone. Only my husband, people. Only my husband.

Cannoli, anyone? No? I didn't eat one either. The gelato did me in for the day.
So, there you have it, kids. Day 2 of our Italian adventure in the books. 
Up next is our whirlwind tour of my favorite city in all of Italy (thus far)...ROME! 
Stay tuned!


  1. It can't be a total waste if you got to eat some real Italian pasta, yum! You and your sister look SO much alike - I really have to pay attention to the pictures, haha!

  2. i feel you on not liking cities you're "supposed" to like. i was not feeling paris AT ALL when i went last summer and venice. ohmygawwwd. never again...lol, okay, maybe in the winter, but venice in the summer...no bueno!!

    buthey, even a lessthanimpressed day in florence is still a pretty awesome day!!

  3. Found your blog today via the blog hop and love it. Crazy that you didn't like Florence! It's my absolute favorite city in the world (so far anyway). But, I was there for a month.. so no stress, rushing and it also wasn't summer (peak tourist time, obv). Give it another chance one day if you get the opportunity, will ya? ;) It's really a gorgeous city, so romantic and filled with amazing history and people. Have to give you props for climbing the 463. I didn't do that and never will.. way too claustorphobic (spelling is wrong) here. I can't wait to read along with your blog.. especially this Italy vacation!

  4. I love reading about all of your trips! I am secretly hoping we get stationed in Germany just so I can visit all of the places you have. I can't wait to hear about Rome!

  5. Your pictures are amazing. NO cannoli?! Thats the whole point of going to Italy! haha

  6. oh my gosh, you are living the dream girl!!

    drop a hello at nichollvincent.blogspot.com and have a wonderful day love!

  7. Mickey Mouse ice cream cone to the rescue!
    It sucks when you go someplace and it's been hyped up and then you get there and you're like, blah. I hate when that happens. For me, that happened in Berlin. I think maybe I need to give it another try.
    But Rome... Rome is wonderful :)
    (my favorite Italian city too!)

  8. popped over from Becky's blog (From Mrs. to Mama). I too did not enjoy Florence as much as everyone said I was - Rome was by far my favorite, but I think a lot has to do with we were travelling with 7 of my husband's family in Florence and then just my husband and I in Rome. Either way, Italy was beautiful and I'd love to go back again soon!

  9. At least you got tons of great photos - and I think you loved Florence anyway! You totally have to try these cannoli, they are delicious and well worth every single calory! =) xo Anja

  10. Hi! Thank you for sharing your thoughts about Florence Italy tours. I am glad to stop by your site and know more about Florence Italy tours. Keep it up! This is a good read. You have such an interesting and informative page. I will be looking forward to visit your page again and for your other posts as well. Following the death of Lorenzo de' Medici in 1492, he was succeeded by his son Piero II. When the French king Charles VIII invaded northern Italy, Piero II chose to resist his army. But when he realized the size of the French army at the gates of Pisa, he had to accept the humiliating conditions of the French king. These made the Florentines rebel and they expelled Piero II. With his exile in 1494, the first period of Medici rule ended with the restoration of a republican government.
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  11. What I want to know is if the pizza was fabulous??

    I've heard Naples and Florence have the best pizza ever... :)

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