Florence Day One

Overlooking Florence from the Piazzale Michelangelo

Overlooking Florence from the Piazzale Michelangelo

Just got back from spending a week in Florence, Italy with my family! We don’t get to see each other so often, so why not make it even more special by heading to Tuscany for some family time?

My parents, Koen, and I arrived in Florence first, in the early afternoon. But before any exploring could begin, we needed to have lunch. We were staying in a great apartment just outside of the busy center and the owner gave us what turned out to be the best recommendation – Trattoria da Tito! Mmmm! This trattoria opened in 1913, and the atmosphere was so cozy! I had looked up typical Tuscan dishes and was able to cross off 2 just with my first lunch. The first was my starter: Pappa al Pomodoro, a tomato and bread soup made with stale Tuscan bread, tomatoes, garlic, and basil leaves. The texture was different than I expected – much thicker. Very delicious! And for my main, I split the Bistecca alla Fiorentina, a t-bone served rare, with Koen and my mom. Wonderful, excellent, perfect! And everything paired with a Super-Tuscan wine and topped off with limoncello and a special laurier liquor made by the house!

 

Trattoria da Tito

Trattoria da Tito

 

My starter: Pappa al Pomodoro

My starter: Pappa al Pomodoro

 

Koen's starter: homemade pappardelle with wild boar

Koen’s starter: homemade pappardelle with wild boar

 

Bistecca alla Fiorentina

Bistecca alla Fiorentina

 

My steak topped with a sage and rosemary salt and roasted potatoes

My steak topped with a sage and rosemary salt mix and roasted potatoes

 

Our digestif: homemade limoncello and laurier liquor

Our digestif: homemade limoncello and laurier liquor

 

After a very filling lunch, we headed into the center to see the city. I have to say Florence was much smaller than I initially realized. I thought it would take days to visit all of the piazzas, but everything is relatively close. So we did an initial overview, and in the coming days explored each piazza more in depth. We started with Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square), followed by Piazza della Signoria. At that point we were ready for some gelato!

 

First glimpse of the dome of the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower

First glimpse of the dome of the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower

 

Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower and Giotto's Bell Tower

Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower and Giotto’s Bell Tower

 

Baptistery of Saint John

Baptistery of Saint John

 

Piazza della Signoria: Palazzo Vecchio (town hall)

Piazza della Signoria: Palazzo Vecchio (town hall)

 

Mom and Dad with the copy of Michelangelo's David statue in front of the Palazzo Vecchio

Mom and Dad with the copy of Michelangelo’s David statue in front of the Palazzo Vecchio

 

Uffizi Gallery

Uffizi Gallery

 

Gelato stop!

Gelato stop!

 

Yum!

Yum!

 

Then we crossed over the river via the Ponte Vecchio, the famous bridge with shops built along it, to get to the Oltrarno (Left Bank) neighborhood. Oltrarno has many hills to climb, but it’s worth it for the view! We climbed up to the Piazzale Michelangelo for a beautiful night-time view of Florence.

 

First view of the Arno River

First view of the Arno River

 

Approaching the Ponte Vecchio - so busy!

Approaching the Ponte Vecchio – so busy!

 

View from the Ponte Vecchio

View from the Ponte Vecchio

 

Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio

 

Tourists

Typical tourists

 

Climbing to the Piazzale Michelangelo

Climbing to the Piazzale Michelangelo

 

Bronze cast of David facing Florence from the center of the square

Bronze cast of David facing Florence from the center of the square

 

View of Florence from the Piazzale Michelangelo

View of Florence from the Piazzale Michelangelo

 

The walking gave us an appetite, so we headed to the Piazza Santo Spirito, known to the locals as Lovely Florence. The owner of the apartment let us know that this was the best area to go for dinner in the city. We decided on Borgo Antico for pizza!

 

Basilica of Santa Maria del Santo Spirito

Basilica of Santa Maria del Santo Spirito

 

Borgo Antico

Borgo Antico

 

2 pizzas: margherita with mozzarella and salami

2 pizzas: margherita with mozzarella and salami

 

A piece of the margherita with mozzarella

A piece of the margherita with mozzarella

 

We took a scenic walk along the Via de’ Tornabuoni, the high fashion street, heading toward the Mercato Centrale. The San Lorenzo Market is made up an outer market, leather goods and clothing, and inner food market. My brother and his wife were arriving the next day with my little nephew, so wanted to pick up some goodies for a welcome lunch. We wound up leaving with Chianti Classico wines, meats, and cheeses. Mmm!

A very busy first day! Lots of walking, but everyone’s legs felt better after a good night’s rest.

Crossing back to the otherside of the Arno; view of the Ponte Vecchio at night

Crossing back to the otherside of the Arno; view of the Ponte Vecchio at night

 

Via de’ Tornabuoni

Via de’ Tornabuoni

 

Via de’ Tornabuoni

Via de’ Tornabuoni

 

Mercato Centrale

Mercato Centrale

 

Italian cheese

Choosing our Italian cheeses

 

Picking out our salamis and ham

Picking out our salamis and ham

 

Chianti Classico wine shop

Chianti Classico wine shop

 

Dining area with a replica of David

Dining area with a replica of David

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