This week Cecil Lee, travel photographer extraordinaire, is back to tell us about Florence, another spot in Italy he fell in love with during his travels earlier this year. And since I just visited there for the first time this past spring, I know what it’s like to fall in love with the beauty of Florence.
Apart from falling in love with Venice during my trip to Italy, I also found myself falling for the art, historical and cultural capital of Italy – Florence. A UNESCO’s World Heritage Site, Florence is the capital of the Tuscany region in the middle of Italy. I fell in love with Florence because she is so elegant and different from the rest of Italian cities I visited. The city lies on the River Arno, which separates Florence into new and historic sections. Florence is known as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance with its strongest influence in Italian art and architecture. Two of the greatest artists of the Renaissance, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, lived and worked in this beautiful city.
Florence is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. When we first arrived at its main rail station Santa Maria Novella, abbreviated as SMN, and walked out from the station, we were surprised to find ourselves already in the heart of historic Florence. We started to explore the city attractions one by one since they were all within walking distance. The most dominant icon of Florence would definitely be the Duomo, or Cathedral, the highest building in Florence. Climbing up 460 steps of spiral staircase to the tower top offers the best view of Florence. Next would be the Accademia Gallery. I had to queue for 45 minute to get in, but it was worth it to see the original David, the greatest sculpture done by my favorite sculptor Michelangelo.
Sitting at one of the many open air cafés at Piazza Della Signoria, I could actually see some of those famous sculptures as well as people watching. A replica statue of David could be found here. For my wife who loves leather bags and wallets, the San Lorenzo open market was a “must-go” spot. We spent hours in there to buy some of those high quality local leather products such as shoes, bags, wallet that are made in Firenze.
In the evening, we walked along the River Arno, the main river of Florence and Tuscany. We came to the Ponte Vecchio bridge, the oldest and most famous bridge that crosses over the River Arno. There are shops selling jewelry, art and souvenirs. In the evening under the setting sun, it just looked marvelous in yellow color.
When the night fell, we took a bus up to the hill top at Piazzale Michelangelo. It is the best viewpoint to Florence city skyline. I set up my DSLR onto a tripod and shot endlessly!
Florence is also a great location for visiting other important cities of Tuscany, such as Sienna and the wine producing area Chianti to try the Chianti Classico wine. Florence offers much more than that, too. The local foods are marvelous! I couldn’t help but to try the local gelato, as well as the famous Florence steak with a glass of Italian Chianti Classico wine as well as the traditional bread with Tuscan Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Florence offers so much beauty to discover!
Cecil Lee is an avid traveler who is also a passionate travel blogger and travel photographer living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He writes about travel for MNUI travel insurance and on his own travel photo blog, Travel Feeder.
What a fantastic post! I was in Firenze this summer and it was absolutely gorgeous. It was, by far, my favorite spot in Italy and it’s amazing to think about what a rich history and bright future it has. Thanks for sharing the wonderful pictures as well- they are just beautiful.
Ciao Vanessa! Thanks so much for stopping by and for your nice comment. I think anyone who has been to Florence (and maybe even those who haven’t!) could just get lost in Cecil’s beautiful photographs. It took me right back to when I was there last May. I think it’s my favorite city I’ve been to in Italy – the size is just perfect. I hope to go back again soon! 🙂
Cherrye at My Bella Vita says
I, too, loved Florence, as well as Cecil’s photos of the city. Seriously … he should be a professional photographer or something. 😉 he he
No, no, all joking aside, this was a great post. I’ve only been to Florence once and I hit all of the places Cecil mentions in the post, still there is just so much more to see. I wonder how long one would have to be in Florence to see “it all?” Besides climbing the Duomo and seeing The David, that leather market alone is worth the trip.
What an awesome city and like you, Laura, it is my husband’s favorite city in Italy. I love it for its history and size, but I think I still like Rome’s energy. You know, if I HAD to choose. 😉
Ciao Cherrye! I was there for the first time last May, but just for a few days. I wondered the same thing… how long would you have to stay to see it all? Maybe a lifetime! I think that richness of history, art and culture is what makes it so alluring. But, really, how can one choose just one?? 🙂
The photos are better than the real thing! I guess I didn’t really focus on all of Florence’s beauty in the short time I was there.
Ciao Gil! There’s so much to see that it can be overwhelming. I was just there for three days… and only made a small dent! 🙂
The Food Hunter says
Such an easy place to fall in love with. And your photos are amazing!
I know I fell in love with Florence right away! 🙂 Yes, Cecil’s photos are dreamy….
Barb in Minneapolis says
Just returned from our 4th trip in 10 years to wonderful Italy. Florence is so heartbreakingly beautiful it just kills me to leave. Maybe someday I can call it home. Italy continues to astound me.
Barb in Minneapolis
Ciao Barb! I’m so glad you had a wonderful time in Italy! Florence is hard to leave … and I was just there for a few days. I hope you can call Italy home someday soon! 🙂
Vacanze In Italia says
I am extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice blog like this one these days.. 🙂
Ciao Vacanze in Italia! Many thanks for your kind words. This is one of the WordPress free themes called Atahualpa by BytesforAll. But I have customized the colors and details some. Just checked out your website and it’s a nice resource for B&Bs in Campania!
Hi. Just returned from a trip to Florence and purchased inexpensive thin leather bracelet at San Lorenzo market for about 1 euro. My friends went crazy and would like to purchase them.nAny idea of how I could get some from the states. Many thanks