Before we dive in, let's back it up a few years, shall we?
I studied abroad in Florence, Italy in 2004. When I think about the fact that that was 9 nears ago, I feel very old. We met some study abroad students while we were on vacation and they were surprised (or acted so) to hear I was that old. Thanks kids! Italy and Florence have such a special place in my heart. It was truly the time of my life, and I met and made some of the best friendships I have while living there. Adrian, an avid traveller, has visited many European countries, but hasn't spent any time in Italy. Last year we decided we wanted to take a longer trip in 2013, and decided on Italy fairly quickly. We booked our flights and left the rest of the details to follow.
We knew a European vacation would not be nearly as relaxing as a beach vacation, but we wanted to try to avoid burning ourselves out. We decided on three cities, with one quick stop in a fourth. We settled on Florence, one night in Naples, then Sorrento, and Rome.
Here's a look into our five night stay in Florence....
We used Airbnb.com to find a one bedroom apartment in the city. I highly recommend staying in an apartment during your travels, it was around the same price as an economy hotel and we had a full kitchen and a terrace with beautiful views.
Our days mostly consisted of walking around the city, taking in the views, people, and sights, with an occasional stop at one of the popular tourist attractions. And of course delicious meals and gelato stops too!
Florence is known for one of the first duomos. It's so large it is very difficult to get a good picture.
We had the most amazing paninis in Italy. I'm not really a huge sandwich person, but give me freshly sliced Italian meats and mozzarella between fresh bread and I am a very happy girl.
The next two photos are throwbacks to my study abroad days. The door I'm standing in front of is the door to the school we studied at, Lorenzi di Medici. The second is taken on the street we lived on, Via Delle Ruote.
|busy street market|
|relaxing on the terrace|
We stopped for a drink at this rooftop restaurant & bar down the street from our apartment. It has beautiful views of the river and city (seen above).
Someone recommended the wine bar we went to, above. It was tiny, but so good. We had a delicious plate of cured meats and cheeses, and of course some great Italian wine!
One day we walked to Piazza Michelangelo across the river. It has a beautiful view of the city. Though it was a cloudy day, the views were still great.
Our last full day in Florence we visited inside the Duomo and hiked to the top...
Aaannd more paninis...
Not sure if we really worked off all the panini calories, but we also hiked the tower next to the duomo. We climbed over 1,000 steps that day!
And of course I couldn't forget the food pics and selfies from my iphone....
I'm going to try and list my top 5 highlights of each city. Clearly number one is spending time with my hubby, so I'll skip that one.
1. Revisiting my old "stomping grounds" from college days. It brought back SO many memories.
2. Relaxing on the terrace with a good book and a glass of wine. I read Defending Jacob while we were away.
3. Gelato at Perche No?
4. Lots of fresh pasta, especially at La Burrasca - our favorite local restaurant in Florence. Not fancy, but so good!
5. Taking in the views of Florence at the top of the duomo and tower.
And that's a Florence wrap! Next up is Pompeii & Sorrento.