This city is just my speed. Rome and Pompeii were a flurry of activity, but when I got off the train in Florence, my heart was like, "Yes, this. THIS." I tend to find my best things in life by listening to my heart when it says things like that to me. It is usually right. Reliable ol' ticker.
Florence is slower. It's easy to navigate. It's sensual, with sumptuous food and flirtatious Italian men and lilting street music and lights over the river. My two favorite moments of the entire trip happened in Florence: first, when we ate lunch at Trattoria San Lorenzo. The gnocchi was good enough to almost bring tears to my eyes, I kid you not. I want it right now. And every minute of my life. EVERY MINUTE OF MY LIFE. My friend's order of lasagna bolognese was also worth writing home about, so if you ever eat here, perhaps get both. Your life will be glorious.
The other greatest moment was one night when we climbed up to Piazzale Michelangelo, which requires a walk across the river and a small trek up a hill. The view was incredible! There was a man with a thick Italian accent playing English songs on his guitar, like Coldplay's "The Scientist" and John Lennon's "Imagine." And several other modern hits. We sat on the steps, looked over the city and basked in the music. I feel like it was one of those evenings that my thoughts will wander back to time and time again for the rest of my life.
Alsssso....we saw Michelangelo's "David"! This is stunning. This is a must see. I am so in awe of the things that human hands can create.
Florence is also fantastic for....SHOPPING! Whoever designed the clothing here just....they just....they just GET me. Pretty flowy things with touches of leather and lace, yes please! I scored a few great items, including a pair of blue suede ankle boots, and.....drumroll please....an authentic Italian leather jacket (pictured below, of course)! Two Italian men helped me try it on and consult on the size, and only one of them spoke any English so there was a lot of gesturing and rough translations going on. I ultimately picked a more fitted size (which the Italian speaker was a fan of) and earned myself a "che bella!" and approving hand gestures upon my decision. I love love love the jacket and have hardly skipped a day of wearing it since I came back to California.
And of course there were the usual spots like The Duomo (I recommend a climb up the bell tower rather than the dome itself, because then you can take pictures with the dome in it.....and also if you're afraid of heights like I am, this entire experience is a bit of a trip. You can do it. You got this.) We also ate a LOT of gelato in Florence, including like three visits to Perche No! – an adorable shop that claims to be the oldest gelato shop in Florence (opened in 1939?) and has THE friendliest employees. And the chocolate orange rum flavor? I CAN'T EVEN. Also, the raspberry. I can't all the evens.
Simply put, I adored Florence. Florence was my jam. If I was going to live in Italy, this would be the place. We are two Italian birds of a feather.