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10 Things We Enjoyed in Florence and Pisa

We had the opportunity to visit Pisa and Florence twice during our two months in Italy. The first time we were with family for our cruise’s port of call. We visited Florence for a second time to be able to do a few more things we had missed the first time. Here are ten things we enjoyed the most during our visits.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa

After years of yearning to visit Italy, Pisa ended up being our first city of Italy! It was more than exciting, we finally made it! Even though our first hour in Italy was on a bus to Pisa, we will never forget the moments leading up to Pisa. The grounds of Pisa were beautiful with the four structures devoted to the church, no wonder why they call it the Square of Miracles. We gawked at the beauty of the architecture and of course the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

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Since we were on a time crunch with the cruise, we quickly walked around the Square of Miracles and then spent 80% of our time trying to capture that perfect Leaning Tower of Pisa picture. We never did.

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Enjoying Traditional Tuscan Cuisine

Our first bite of Italy! Our tour guide recommended a traditional Tuscan meal to us that we knew we had to try, coccoli. What is coccoli? It is heaven in one bite. Fried bread dough served with prosciutto and stracchino cheese. You take the fried bread dough, open it in half like a sandwich, spread the stracchino cheese (if mozzarella and mascarpone cheese were to have a baby) and finish it with prosciutto. The result is amazing!!! It is fully carb loaded, rich and creamy from the cheese and then luxuriously salty from the prosciutto. Yum, we need some pronto!

 Church of Santa Croce

The Church of Santa Croce is also known as the church of “Italian Glories” because many famous Italians have been buried here, including the one and only, Michelangelo. Though we did not go inside, we have been told it is magnificent with its architecture and wonderful Florentine stained glass.

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Piazza della Signoria

We loved the L-shaped square, Piazza della Signoria! It is known as a common meeting place and Florence’s political hub. We enjoyed the square because there was so much open space with beautiful architecture and sculptures surrounding us everywhere we turned. Two main attractions within Piazza della Signoria is Palazzo Vecchio, the town hall of the city and Loggia dei Lanzi, an open air sculpture gallery.

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A few sculptures that stood out the most to us were: Perseus with the Head of Medusa, Fountain of Neptune, Searching for Utopia, Equestrian Monument of Cosimo I.

Uffizi Courtyard

The Uffizi Gallery is known to be one of Italy’s most important museums that carries art collections from the Italian Renaissance. We did not go inside, but we did walk through the courtyard that boasts 28 sculptures of important historical figures from the Middle Ages to the 19th century.

However, we were not paying attention to the sculptures because there was a classic auto show and our eyes were on the prize! The most beautiful cars were sitting and driving through the courtyard. There were classic cars dating back to the 1920’s, an Aston Martin that was featured in a James Bond movie and the most beautiful cars on earth – Ferraris. Walking through the Uffizi Courtyard may not always be this glamorous, but it is always beautiful with its architecture and sculptures.

Ponte Vecchio

The famous stone arch bridge! You cannot go to Florence without walking across Ponte Vecchio. Some may say you cannot go to Florence without buying something from a shop in Ponte Vecchio, but we say otherwise. Though the bridge is known for its luxurious jewelry, leather and art stores, we found the stores more of a tourist trap. Do not get us wrong, we enjoyed walking Ponte Vecchio, but do not recommend buying anything from there.

We stopped along the overlooks on the bridge to see the Arno River and felt like we had suddenly escaped all the tourists crowding around the shops. Looking out to the river and buildings alongside it was very peaceful and is what makes Florence so beautiful.

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

We will never forget that moment when we turned a corner and our eyes met the glorious, Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Wow! This is a cathedral you cannot miss while in Italy. Pictures do not do it justice. It took our breathe away. The magnitude of how grand it really is was a sight to see alone. The detail of the cathedral is remarkable. We love its colors of white, green and shades of red as well as the architecture – they are so different than most cathedrals. It has so many elements: a brick dome, the bell tower, the façade, and bronze golden doors. The façade from far away is beautiful, but up close it is exquisite!

We regret not being able to go inside, but we were not able to because of time. Side note: we loved our cruise, but the time limit of what we could see and do was really unfortunate.

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Piazzale Michelangelo

We hiked up to Piazzale Michelangelo the second time we visited Florence. We could have taken a bus or taxi, but we were being budget friendly and enjoy walking through the city, even if it was a steep uphill. We had to work off our pizza, pasta and gelato some how!

This piazza is dedicated to the city’s most beloved Renaissance artist, Michelangelo, therefore, it showcases some of his greatest works. There are replicas of the 4 bronze statues depicting Day, Night, Dawn, and Dusk and of course, a bronze replica of the Statue of David. Though it is not the original, it is still magnificent and a nice alternative if the La Accademia Gallery is closed, which is what happened to us.

Lastly, and the main reason we hiked our way up to the Piazzale Michelangelo, is for the best panoramic views of the city – no questions asked. They are priceless views you cannot get anywhere else. You can see both Ponte Vecchio and Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore perfectly! We stayed at the piazza for what seemed like forever because we could not get enough of the view.

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Boboli Gardens

Ever since I saw a picture of my friends under this beautiful green canopy, I wanted to visit it for myself, but the funny thing was they forget where they took the picture! After a ton of research I found it, Ragnaie, also known as, Spiders Lane, at the Boboli Gardens. I wanted to visit the Boboli Gardens just to walk through the beautiful Spiders Lane so on our second visit to Florence we finally made it happen! We did not rush to Spiders Lane, we actually went through the garden based on the chronological order of the map. We saw some wonderful sculptures, a grotto and more along our way.

The interesting part is that Spiders Lane was not even featured on the map. We walked to places we thought depicted tree archers until we finally found it!Though the trees were not in full bloom, it was still magical. We cannot remember how many times we walked up and down because it was so peaceful and romantic. I think we could have stayed sitting on one of the benches all day long.

Desserts at the Four Seasons Florence

Another reason why we visited Florence twice, to try desserts from one of Italy’s best pastry chefs! Dessert and traveling is what we are all about. The desserts at the Four Seasons Florence are helmed by award winning pastry chef, Domenico Di Clemente. We were able to sit in the Atrium Bar & Lounge and order three desserts off the Michelin One Star restaurant, Il Palagio. They were the best desserts we have ever had!!!! So much creativity and techniques we have never seen before. If you don’t mind spending a little extra, then Il Palagio is a restaurant not to be missed on your next trip to Florence.

Florence you were wonderful!

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Florence and Pisa

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42 COMMENTS

  • Popi

    What would you get if swiss cheese and feta cheese had a baby??

  • medhaverma1510

    I love Tuscany too! I remember when we went, we just rented a car and drove to the countryside. Visited the Chianti wineries, very cool experience.

    • OurSweetAdventures

      Aww that sounds lovely. We never visited any wineries, but we did rent a car and drive through Greve Chianti. So beautiful!

  • westbyswtravels

    It looks absolutely beautiful! Did you find it super touristy? I guess it would be to a point, but hopefully not exceedingly. I loved the homage to Michelangelo. So cool to see. Reading this makes me definitely want to visit sooner rather than later. Thanks for sharing!

  • Carola

    Pisa and Florence are both such wonderful cities, so similar and yet distinctly different.
    I hope you also had a chance to go out and have copious amounts of Florentine ice cream and that you did visit the inside of the Uffizi.

    Happy continued travels!
    C

  • Claire

    Wow so much cool architecture here. The food also looks amazing

  • sinam86

    I’ve been to Florence a long time ago and love to go back after reading your post 🙂 It’s such a beautiful city with so much history. The Boboli Gardens looks amazing and I definitely have to try coccoli next time I’m in Italy. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • OurSweetAdventures

      Aww we are delighted to hear that! It is one of many cities we want to revisit in Italy as well.

  • Gareth

    I have been to Italy on numerous occasions and each time visited Florence and Pisa and each time I forget how many awesome things there are to do there. Everything from the architecture to the food is second to none while, as something of a history buff, there is plenty to satisfy my curious side. Love your shots of the skyline, beautiful stuff!

    • OurSweetAdventures

      Sounds like revisiting Florence and Pisa is like coming home for you. We loved the architecture and food the most too. It is so different and is so beautiful.

  • stylishtravlr

    aww that remind me my road trip in Italy. Ive got to Pisa at night just on our way to Rome. It was dark so I couldn’t take good photo but still it amazing to see ! I wish I went to Florence as well! and OMG coccoli sounds amazing! I wish I could find then in some Italian restaurant in London !

    • OurSweetAdventures

      A road trip through Tuscany would be beautiful for you. You could see may cities you missed the first time. We try finding the best authentic Italian restaurants where we live too. We have found some amazing ones, but there is something special about Italian cuisine in Italy 🙂

  • Tania Mukherjee

    The details of the Cathedral Of Santa Maria del Fiore looks amazing. The coccoli sounds delicious. I don’t mind the carb, infact I survive on carb I guess! 😀

  • Sandy N Vyjay

    Wonderful photos. Extremely beautiful and picturesque in every view. Traveling with family is the best type of traveling. All of you get to experience the culture and the fun of the place that can offer.We loved Florence and Pisa when we were there a couple of years ago. Your post brought back some wonderful memories.

    • OurSweetAdventures

      We are happy to hear that and agree that it was very nice walking around the cities with our family. Now when we get together for the holidays we always reminisce about our family trip 🙂

  • Neni

    The architecture is stunning. The trip must have been awesome, alone the blue sky. I’ve never been to Italy but I’m dying to.

    • OurSweetAdventures

      The architecture in Italy as a whole is amazing. We hope you are able to visit one day.

  • Iza (@IzaAbao)

    I like that you have mentioned good travel tips like the one about Ponte Vecchio. I am the kind of tourist that would go to this place even though I am always on a budget. Haha! I do not think that I would be eager to visit Ponte Vecchio. The photos of the sculptures and cars look amazing. Did your guide accompany you in all of these places?

    • OurSweetAdventures

      We are glad you enjoyed our tips. Ponte Vecchio is worth just a walk through and seeing the bridge from the outside is beautiful. Besides that there was plenty more we enjoyed in Florence. Our guide for our cruise was more of a drop us off and let us wander. He would walk us to the meeting point and along the way tell us great stories and historical facts. We liked that as we enjoy traveling and wandering cities on our own.

  • OurSweetAdventures

    Haha I think that is the best comment of food we have ever received. Thank you so much for your kind comment. We are happy to hear it was helpful and inspiring. We hope you make it here one day!

  • Bonita

    This easily make it as my reference blog post when Italy knocks. My pals also tried the pose at the the leaning tower but the guy they stopped to help out wasn’t so patient hence to backfired. I love the photos and for a moment I felt like I was there with you. Nice post!

    • OurSweetAdventures

      Aww what a bummer! We had my sister take our photo and all three of us were getting annoyed with how difficult we found it. If you have any questions we would love to answer them. Glad to hear our post can be of great reference to you!

  • Kate

    I love the statues! The turtle in particular. Is the classic car show always there or was that just a lucky find?

  • Adrenaline Romance

    The architecture in Pisa is simply stunning! We love the Gothic architecture of the cathedrals; it looks so complicated and detailed. 🙂 We would love to visit Italy if we have the chance. 🙂

    • OurSweetAdventures

      If you ever visit Italy we think y’all would enjoy the Dolomites! And lake activities on Lake Como and Lake Garda. Those two posts are to come in a month or so 🙂

  • wanderlust vegans

    Aw man, I regret that we didn’t make it to Florence! Your photos make the city look so amazing. We had a choice between Florence and Pisa as one of our excursions from our cruise ship. We chose Pisa. Pisa is just an amazing little place, do you think? Plus is it one of those places everyone tells you to see.

    • OurSweetAdventures

      Oh definitely. There is not a single city in Italy that we have thought was anything less of amazing.

  • Swati Sam

    This looks so beautiful. I have always wanted to visit Florence. Every nook and cranny of Florence is beautiful. The city has been very beautifully portrayed in Inferno.

    • OurSweetAdventures

      We have yet to see that movie! Tom Hanks is Adam’s favorite actor so we will see it one day.

  • Suresh

    beautiful pictures. The photos really inspired me to visit Florence.

  • Riely

    Great travels. I remember doing the exact same thing in Pisa, spending majority of the time trying to get a good shot of the Leaning Tower. Florence is so beautiful as well. I wasn’t there for long, but I do remember the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. It’s absolutely stunning and you are right pictures don’t do it justice. I did not walk across the Ponte Vecchio bridge! I am not sure if I didn’t know about it when I travelled to Florence or if we just didn’t have time. I will have to do that next time I am in Florence. Thanks for sharing.

    • oursweetadventures
      AUTHOR

      Haha it is harder than it looks to get that Leaning Tower of Pisa picture! We hope you get the opportunity to go back and explore the city some more.

  • Agness of eTramping

    Florence and Pisa are awesome destinations! These two places offer so many things and activities!

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