First of all, a note of my favorite places to eat:
- I Buongustai
- La Cantinetta in Borgo
- Gusta Pizza
- Ristorante Caffagi
- Ristorante Zaza
- The sandwich guy who sells pesto-mozarella sandwiches inside the Mercato Centrale.
- Cantuccini Al Borgo, for their cantuccinis, a pastry.
I had prebooked an early morning high-speed train seat for a pretty good price(20 EUR). The journey was smooth, most of it was through fog, so couldn’t see a lot outside. My hotel, Veneto Residence was close to the Academia Gallery, left my luggage and set out to explore the town. I had booked for 10 AM with the Uffizi Gallery(turns out I didn’t need to book, since you could just go in,there were no lines). The piazzas looked great, especially the Piazza Signoria, the Duomo looked fantastic, but the light wasn’t enough for it to glow, the Ponte Vecchio too looked superb.
Later, spent several hours at the Uffizi. You need to several rounds, one to look at the murals, another to look into the rooms, another to look at the sculptures in the passage, I could do just one in every round. Views over Florence and the river bank were pretty good. View of the Duomo were good from the café, but you can see just the Duomo, not the entire cathedral. Had lunch at I Buongustai, bruschettas(one with walnuts and cheese on top),and pasta in Pomodoro Sauce, all cooked to perfection, and really cheap!
Visited the Bargello museum, went up the Duomo, have really no words to express the marvel it is from both the inside and the outside, the paintings-murals were so real. Views from the top were absolutely fabulous. It was late afternoon, there was light mist and the sunlight was soft. Florence couldn’t have looked better at any time, very dreamy, out of this world. But I didn’t linger here for long, went to the Palazio Vecchio, got a ticket to go upstairs to the battlements and the tower. Views over the entire cathedral, the Duomo, the town were fabulous. Waited almost till sunset, when the lights came up on the cathedral, was quite a sight. Later walked all around the old town, all lit up and beautiful. Had dinner at Gusta Pizza on the other side of the river. The pizzas are Neapolitan and really good, the crowds attest to that. So make sure you’re there before 7, because there’s a queue to get in.
Visited the Academia wandered at the David for quite sometime, the details are mind-boggling. Rest religious paintings are certainly worth a look. Proceeded to the Duomo area, had a look at the Duomo museum, a really well done and well lit modern museum with some really good sculptures. The Baptistery leaves you spell bound. That was one of my most favorite buildings in Florence. Had lunch again at I Buongustai, their Risotto was really well done, while their desserts didn’t impress me enough.
Climbed up the Giotto Bell Tower, the views are just phenomenal. The Duomo’s scale is even more evident when you go up. Walked up to the Santa Croce, didn’t really go in, walked around the Square and the markets and proceeded towards Piazza MichaelAngelo.
Views from the top are fabulous in the evening! Yes, it’ a little crowded, but certainly worth it. The Basilica San Miniato Al Monte was absolutely great, a bit dark inside but really beautiful, infact one of my favorite basilicas in Florence, the light outside had become very dreamy and evocative. All shades of colors possible, red, pink, orange..headed back to the Old Town after it got dark stopping by the Pitti Plaza. Had dinner at La Cantinetta in Borgo, a pear stuffed Ravioli and a spaghetti in Truffle Sauce, both very well done. The truffle dish was smelt so good, everyone looked towards the dish when it arrived. So ended my second day in Florence. There were several places I hadn’t seen, the Pitti Palace or the Medici tombs for example.