If you follow me on Instagram then it was probably impossible to ignore that I spent the past week in Italy on holiday before I begin university in September. I travelled to Florence in Tuscany and I absolutely loved it! One of the things I loved most about Florence is that even though it is popular with people from all over the world, it didn’t feel completely taken over by the tourist industry, and it was very easy to escape the busy areas and immerse yourself in Florentine culture and see their way of life. Another thing I loved about this city is that it is a very good base as it allows you to travel to other parts of Tuscany and see as much of the region as you can through their incredibly efficient transport system. I tried to take full advantage of this and visited Lucca, Fiesole and Pisa during my stay, however I was sad that I couldn’t make it to Sienna and Cinque Terre as well- gives me an excuse to go back!
There is so much to do and see in Florence and the surrounding region, especially for history/shopping lovers, and luckily I am very interested in both (obviously also popular for art fanatics)! The most obvious attraction is Il Duomo di Firenze, the major landmark of the city, which was the first thing I stumbled across while walking around the city and was amazed by the beauty and large scale of it. I stood looking up at the building, built over six centuries, with mass admiration for quite a while and felt like the attention to detail throughout the entire building cannot be shown in pictures.
I also walked to the Piazzale Michelangelo which gives the most amazing panoramic view of the entire city, and I would have to say that while I had to walk up the hill in 37 degree heat, it was completely worth it once I got to the top and was able to stand and look out over Florence. This was perhaps my favourite moment of the holiday simply because it felt utterly surreal!
However, while I visited many churches and museums in Florence, as I have said it is also an amazing place to shop, whether it’s designer, high street or quirky boutiques, there was an endless amount of shops with gorgeous items! For me, wandering through the fancy streets where all of the designer shops are is always one of my favourite things to do in any European city, just peaking in through the windows and thinking about the day I may perhaps be able to afford one of the luxury items. It was no different here, and it was particularly special to see the Gucci store, as this was the city of the brand’s birth! The Ponte Vecchio bridge lined with little jewellery shops was another place I would recommend to wander through, not only because you can look at all of the elegant Italian jewels, but it is also a pretty amazing historical site, as it has been lined with these shops ever since it was rebuilt in 1345!
If you are interested in anything Renaissance then Lucca is another must visit! It isn’t too far from Florence and is easy to get to by train, and with an endless amount of churches, restaurants, and Roman ruins to visit, it is impossible not to enjoy this place. I spent the day I had there wandering the cobblestoned streets, eating pizza and gelato, visiting the churches and walking along the wall which once guarded the city, and it was perfect! I also spent a day in Fiesole, a town on a scenic height above Florence where I visited the many Roman ruins and enjoyed the views it had to offer over the Tuscan countryside. This was a great way to escape the faster paced environment of the city and see a different side to Italian culture.
Pisa was the last stop on my trip, where I got to see the Leaning Tower and the entire Piazza del Duomo which was definitely something I had to tick off of my bucket list! It was crazy to stand and look at the tower leaning right in front of me, as I promise you it looks like it is leaning even more in person than it does in the pictures! I was also very pleasantly surprised by the rest of the city, as it was a very pretty place to walk around, and of course have my last proper Italian pizza of the holiday.
So, without a doubt I had the most amazing holiday and I am already missing the Italian sidestreets and endless amounts of pizza and pasta I ate although I have to admit I was glad to come home to a bit of rain after the scorching heat that my Scottish blood and pale skin just cannot cope with- factor 50 was on every single day! It was the perfect summer getaway and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone looking for their next city destination and cannot wait to go back and discover all of the other Italian gems that I missed this time!