Award Trips

Tuscany Trip Report: An Afternoon In Florence

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Mine was not the typical siteseeing afternoon most tourists experience in Florence, though it was meant to be. It wasn’t until 3:30PM that I was settled into my hotel room at the Westin Excelsior Florence, found the walking map, and planned out my itinerary for the afternoon.

I’d created a little list of “must sees” which included the interior of the Duomo and the Uffizi museum and mapped out my walking path. It was a hot day and not even 5 minutes out of the hotel I realized how very tired I was.

Street art in Florence, Italy

Street art in Florence, Italy

things to do in florence street scene

So when I realized my sweater hadn’t made it into my bag and I wouldn’t be able to get into the Duomo with bare shoulders I decided not to buy one from the nearby hawkers and just enjoy the Duomo exterior before heading to my next stop.

duomo florence

duomo florence crowds

And after seeing the huge crowds at the Uffizi I realized I probably wasn’t in the right mood to fully appreciate amazing works of medieval art.

things to do in florence uffizi museum

Instead I took the scenic route to the one thing on my list I felt truly excited about even in my jetlagged state: the Basilica di San Miniato al Monte.

things to do in florence ponte vecchio

Ponte Vecchio covered bridge

things to do in florence street river walk

fantastic graffiti enroute

fantastic graffiti 

I knew it was at the top of a hill overlooking the city, but fortunately I hadn’t internalized what that actually meant.

things to do in florence stairs to san miniato al monte

Steep streets turned into steeper endless stairs, but I managed to haul myself up. Worth every step.

things to do in florence san miniato al monte steps

The view is amazing. Totally worth the exertion. You get an amazing perspective of Florence. And a visit of the thirteenth century church is worth it as well.

things to do in florence san miniato al monte view Keri

san miniato al monte florence italy exterior

It features timbered ceilings and historic wall paintings, semi faded with time. And, of course, lots of marble! Most of it over 700 years old.

things to do in florence san miniato al monte chapel

things to do in florence san miniato al monte paintings

things to do in florence san miniato al monte rafters

things to do in florence san miniato al monte 13th century marble

If it’s open, check out the adjoining monastery to buy their famous honey and homemade liqueurs.

On the way down I stopped by the Piazzale Michelangelo that everyone else was visiting, which is also breathtaking.

things to do in florence Piazzale Michelangelo

things to do in florence view from Piazzale MichelangeloBut it’s very crowded and covered in asphalt. So I definitely recommend going the extra distance for the basilica. Less crowded and slightly better view.

Very very tired and hungry at this point I headed to Pitti Piazza to check out the Pitti Galo e Cantina enoteca I’d read so much about. It wound up being a beautiful end to a relaxing (despite the stairs) afternoon in Florence, especially since it started with a tasting of three Chiantis from 3 decades.

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