I can’t tell you how often I heard about Tuscany being THE place one must explore when in Italy. It is a region fully saturated with architectures, arts and history and especially famous for its delicious food and wine. Since this is my first visit to Italy and time is most definitely of the essence, I chose to zero in on the city of Florence which is the region’s capital, as well as a day trips to the smaller towns of Pisa and Lucca.
There were so many things to see and explore in Florence and I really love how each attractions was between reach by foot. Walking was definitely the best way to explore Florence.
The Cathedral of Florence – Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore
Beautiful view of Florence and the Arno River from Ponte Vecchio
Ponte Vecchio is the only surviving medieval bridge in Florence when every other one had been blown up during World War II and rebuilt afterwards. This bridge is now lined with shops selling gold jewellery and outdoor market stalls.
Piazza della Republica
Piazza della Republica is located in the Duomo neighbourhood. I came here on a beautiful afternoon with a delicious pink berry gelato when the sky was pastel blue, the sun was shimmering softly and there was a group of street musicians playing the coolest jazz music. It didn’t get any better than that.
Piazza della Signoria
Piazza della Signoria is the heart of Florence decorated with some of the more famous sculptures such as Benvenuto Cellini’s Perseus (holding Medusa’s head). Michelangelo’s David was originally here too before it was moved to Galleria dell’Accademia and replaced by a replica.
Italian fashion labels
Being in Italy, you cannot escape from lusting over the big boys of fashion labels. Via de’ Tornabuoni, Via Strozzi and Via della Vigna Nuova are the streets where you can find legendary Italian labels and even a museum dedicated to Salvatore Ferragamo’s journey in fashion creations.
Florence is famous for its gelato.
Did you know that I am a total ice-cream and gelato lover? Being in Florence was like utter heaven and the gelatos here were better than any other places in Italy (even the franchised Grom). I went on a little hunt of my own to find the best gelateria. Here are my top three on a countdown.
3. Il Granduca (Address: Via dei Calzaioli, 57, 50122 Florence)
2.Perche No! (Address: Tavolini 19r, Florence)
1. Cantina di Gelato. I can sing praises of this place. Just out of this world delicious. Whenever I think of gelato, this place is what came up in mind. (Address: Via de Bardi, 31, Florence)
Runner-up: La Sorbettiera (Address: Piazza T.Tasso, 11/r, 50123 Florence)
The gelato from this last one actually tasted very similar to my number one but it’s a runner-up because it is located so far away from the city centre. But if you happen to be in an area closest to this, give it a go.
Markets are scattered all over Florence.
Indoor food market
I have a thing for food markets especially the ones with neatly arranged products and Florence's indoor fresh produce market was no exception.
At the back of this market is also where you can find food stalls selling some of the best food I’ve eaten in all of Tuscany.
I have known about the Leaning Tower of Pisa ever since I was in kindergarten so there was no way I’d miss out on the opportunity of seeing this architectural wonder. Deciding to forgo taking a bus from the Pisa station to the tower was the best choice because strolling through Pisa town felt most enchanting.
The Leaning Tower is located right behind the magnificent Duomo in Campo dei Miracoli and was originally built to be the bell tower of the cathedral. The tower started leaning from the beginning of construction because there was too much water seeping through which resulted in deteriorating soil condition. The lean became so bad that the bells were stilled to prevent vibrations from shaking the tower further.
Although the tower is opened to the public, I chose not to climb up the tower frankly because I was scared to be at such an angle
It made sense to catch a train from Pisa to Lucca which was just 30 minutes away by train. Lucca is such a charming little town. I was there on a Sunday and it was so lovely to see families coming out to the piazza with their children just enjoying fun quality time together.
So that was my little taste of Tuscany which was really wonderful and I was really lucky to have visited when the sun was blasting every single day. There are so much more left to be discovered so I’m really looking forward to come back one day and explore the rest of this fantastic region.