As someone who has not left London for a good 3-5 years (Yes, now I admit this out loud I can’t help but realise its been way too long) I can honestly say, I think everyone deserves to go on holidays all the time because being away from home really clears your head. It allows you to have the space you need to regain motivation and direction. Not only that, being away broadens your horizons, teaching you things you never knew about the world around you and yourself. So I was super excited to be invited to visit Florence with my boyfriends family, as I’d never been anywhere in Italy before.
On the evening of our arrival, the driver picked us up at the airport with one of those white boards saying the family’s name. He drove us to where we were staying so we could check into our rooms. Hotel Pendini was the hotel chosen by his parents and as we walked into the room I was shocked. It was the most extravagant hotel I had every stayed at with a view directly looking into the square. I was speechless and excited to explore!
After a busy saturday evening of walking around to see what the town had to offer with the family, we then decided to eat some fresh pasta at a restaurant the parents had been to on their last visit here. We also had prosecco for the ladies and red wine for the gentlemen, it was a fabulous evening.
On Sunday morning, the plan was to have breakfast, head over to the Uffizi Gallery and wait in line to get in. (Every last Sunday of the month there’s free entry and long queues) But we ended up straying from that plan because as we walked and walked down the different roads trying to get to the end of the line, we finally decided that we didn’t want to waste 3 hours waiting. Especially as the weather had taken a turn for the very worst.
Instead we had a look at all the amazing statues all around the gallery, here are a few:
Once we had enough we made our way to the hotel room to get nice and warm. As we got in, a huge thunderstorm started: it was thunder and tones of rain. Boy, was I glad to be in the room. Unfortunately, by this time I’d come to the realisation that I had managed to get sick. Just my luck. So we booked our tickets for the Uffizi online and had a power nap. By the time we awoke the thunder and intense rain had subsided so we got ready and headed back out to explore some more.
As we were walking around the Duomo we casually wondered into a Sunday Mass they were having. So we decided to stay and have the full experience. I can honestly say being in that building alone felt glorious and godly. Especially because of the art, architecture and acoustics of the building combined with their amazing sound system.
One of the most interesting pieces of art lives on this church’s ceiling. Initially painted by Giorgio Vasari and completed by Federico Zuccari with help from Giovanni Balducci:
After Sunday Mass, we found a cute cafe to have a well deserved tea/espresso break.
Dinner time was near and so we met up with the family again. We ended up going to ‘The world’s worst pizza place’ as branded by Jacob’s dad. The decor was very interesting, everyone ate their pizza and I started to learn that red wine could be very delicious.
Once our dinner was complete we walked down to a bar near Franco Zeffirelli’s Performing Arts Centre. I had another glass of chianti (by now I reckon I was on my 4th glass) and by the end of the evening I was truly tipsy, ready for a good night’s sleep.
On Monday, we walked to Ponte Vechio and had a look at the jewellers stretched out across the bridge. Interesting fact: The shops on the bridge used to sell meat!
Then we came across a small gate where tourists had clipped locks onto to it to symbolise their love. So of course I had to get involved. Buying a lock at the stall opposite, I used her marker to write mine and Jacob’s initials on the lock with the date.
After taking a few beautiful photos of and from the bridge, we decided to keep exploring.
Later that day, we ended up discovering an outdoor market with all kinds of leather goods. Handbags, gloves, scarves, bags, souvenirs and more bags!
After a hectic experience at the market, we met everyone else and went to an indoor food market to try some ‘Tripe’ (Cow’s Stomach). It was super weird to chew because the texture of it just tasted like fat. Jacob was so hungry he ate a whole sandwich!
Then we all had a drink and headed back to our rooms to get ready for dinner. On this occasion me and Jacob were dining alone. I’d been talking about trying a real T-Bone steak for ages and the day before we had come across a restaurant with a meal deal for steak, potatoes and wine. So we headed there for a romantic carnivorous evening. All I have to say about this meal was ‘wow’, the steak came out sizzling and it was HUGE! For the first time I decided to get it medium rare and it was beautiful. The rock salt on it just added to the carnival in my mouth. I was joyous and the evening was a success!
Fast forward to tuesday morning were we were up early to go to the Uffizi gallery.
Here are some of my favourite discoveries there:
There were oil paintings after oil painting of Jesus on a cross but this one stood out.
The craftsmanship of all of the statues were so particular and breathtaking.
I was utterly fascinated by all of the detailed paintings on the ceilings.
Adam and Eve.
This painting made me laugh because its so ‘gangster’.
Finally, this shield with medusa looked so detailed, creative and just awesome!
Once we were finished in the gallery we went to The Pitti Place and The Boboli Gardens.
Then for sunset we made our way to Piazzale Michelangelo with Jacob’s brother and his girlfriend. To bask at the beautiful florentine skyline against the mountains.
After exploring all day, my feet were exhausted so we met up with the parents again to have our last dinner all together in Florence. For the last meal we ended up going to a small restaurant Jacob’s brother had found. I had the potato ravioli with a amazing mince sauce, honestly it was the best pasta I had on the whole trip. Amazing! After a few drinks at another local bar with live music we headed to bed.
On our last morning we rushed around for last minute gifts, packed and said Goodbye.
I can honestly say I had a amazing time, even though I was an absolute wreck on our trip. Ill and exhausted I managed to fight through it and have a fabulous time. I look forward to my next visit to Italy and if my arrangements go to plan, that’ll be soon.