We arrived in Florence at night and stayed in a beautiful apartment on the top floor of an old building in the heart of the city. When we opened the window, we had our first visual connection with the Tower of the Campanile, which was majestic in the darkness of the night. So we decided to get out and connect immediately with the city because we only had three days to enjoy Florence.
Walking through the streets of Florence is to relive past times, with all the facades full of art, the artists performing in every corner, the smell of traditional food and pasta and simply being surrounded by beauty.
The first morning we had breakfast in a Coffee shop where the elegance was present in the decoration and in the food, with an exquisite service and an excellent cappuccino.
We headed towards Il Duomo to climb 463 steps through a winding path to reach the unique and majestic Brunelleschi Dome that crowns the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. It's a true work of art at 116.5 meters high with an impressive view at the apex: Florence in all it's splendor--its streets, its rooftops, the landscape of Tuscany in the background and the tower of the famous Campanille de Giotto, the place of our next visit.
We arrived at The Campanile di Giotto, after climbing its 84 meters to see from there again the views of Florence, but from a different perspective. We especially enjoyed contemplating the exterior beauty of Burnelleschi's Dome.
Then we went to the Mercado de San Lorenzo to eat typical products from the area, meat ("tripas"), fresh pasta and pizzas. It was all fabulous. It's really a market with its own soul and it's a true reflection of the commercial and civic activity of Florence.
I always avoid the touristic areas and get fully immersed into the life of the city, so I can photograph the painters in the street, the small craft workshops, cabinet makers, goldsmiths jewellers and more art, more monuments, churches and cinematic buildings.
The Majestic Statue of David carved by Michelangelo got our attention for more than an hour. It's 5,17 meters tall and 5572 kgs of white marble carved by the artist. It is simply AMAZING to be posing as the protagonist in a room of such huge dimensions where people look like ants walking around David's statue.
The statue is exposed in the Accademia Gallery along with other important artwork that will make you enjoy a pleasant visit.
The sunsets in Florence truly do justice to the beauty of the city. From Il Ponte Vecchio or from the Mirador de Michelangelo, we enjoyed seeing the beautiful statues found in the Piazza della Signoria, where young people come at the end of the day to relax after a long day of college and university classes.
It is mandatory to cross one of Florence's bridges over the Arno River to the other side of the city and of course climb up to the famous Mirador de Michelangelo where time seems to stand still. Nonetheless, in reality time was pressing us and we had to leave many more wonders behind.
TUSCANY, Florence - San Gimignano - Siena
Driving from Florence to Siena through its valleys and small roads surrounded by vineyards and olive trees is a true delight for the senses.
We left very early from Florence to San Gimignano, an Italian village located on a hill in Tuscany, southwest of Florence. It is surrounded by walls that date back to the 13th century. In the centre of the old town is the Piazza Della Cisterna, a triangular square where the medieval houses abound. The town's urban skyline is made up of medieval towers, including Torre Grossa, built in stone.
We restarted the route to Siena and along the way, you can't avoid stopping the car to get out and breathe the fresh air and contemplate the wonderful views of this beautiful part of Italy.
Once we reached Siena, we were immersed in the city's own life and the narrow streets where the light refuses to appear. But when it does, it does so in a wonderful way illuminating the highest areas of its buildings. We walked to the popular Piazza del Campo, considered one of the best medieval squares in Europe. It's a meeting place where you can sit on the floor to sunbathe, have a snack in one of the fabulous restaurants and cafes, and where you can watch the young people play, listen to music or simply read a book.
Driving back to Florence, we stopped many times on the road, leaving the usual route and discovering some small villages where no more than two families live. The nature and landscapes of the area are unparalleled and again we enjoyed another indescribable sunset, a sunset in The Tuscany.