Our journey starts as early as 7.32 a.m. at Zurich main station where our EuroCity train is waiting for us at platform 9. First stop: Milan! We make use of the journey time to work on our Princess and Littlecity blogs, but we still enjoy our beautiful train journey south.
Travelling through Ticino by train is always great so time flies by and we soon arrive at Milano Centrale station.Here we quickly buy some provisions for the rest of the journey as we are continuing to Florence by Eurostar train just 45 minutes later.
Our first stroll through Florence.
Around 1.5 hours later we arrive in a completely different world. Bella Italia! After checking into our hotel we naturally decide to take advantage of the beautiful weather and immediately set off on our first stroll through the city.
The famous Santa Maria del Fiore, also known as the Cathedral of Florence, is already visible from afar. And that’s exactly what we are first drawn to. We have to stop for a moment in the square in front of the cathedral. What an impressive and beautiful gothic-style cathedral it is! The cathedral façade is uniquely beautiful.
Florence – the perfect pedestrian city.
We walk from the cathedral to the next hotspot. And that’s exactly what we love about Florence. You can explore the city on foot, because everything is within walking distance!
Within just a few minutes we reach another of Florence’s famous sights: the Piazza della Signoria. The former political and social hub of the city is one of the most famous town square in the whole of Italy. Here, we also see a replica of Michelangelo’s famous David, which we obviously have to take photos of. And we’re quite surprised to discover a huge tortoise shining like gold on the square, next to the old walls and statues!
Pizza in a league of its own.
The choice of where to go for dinner is an easy one. You have to eat pizza at least once in Italy! We don’t just opt for any old pizzeria, but instead head to the Berberè. The local is known for its pizza made from sour dough. Our verdict: very tasty, a real insiders’ tip! And we’re still dreaming about the grilled watermelon that we sampled with our aperitif…
The world’s oldest segmental arch bridge.
On a trip to Florence, you simply have to visit what is possibly the most famous bridge in Italy – the Ponte Vecchio. There have been small shops on this old bridge since 1345, with most of them selling jewellery nowadays. The Ponte Vecchio is not only the oldest bridge that crosses the Arno, but also the oldest segmental arch bridge anywhere in the world.
By the way, from the nearby Ponte Santa Trinita, you have a beautiful view of the Ponte Vecchio, so it’s the best place to photograph it. You also avoid the masses of people on the Ponte Vecchio. The bridge is busy almost all of the time.
414 steps up Giotto’s bell tower.
Florence is also beautiful from above. The view from Giotto’s bell tower or the Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral’s dome is particularly impressive.
Our insiders’ tip for anyone wanting views over Florence’s roof tops: the queue for the bell tower is usually considerably shorter than the one at the cathedral, and you also get a breath-taking view – well, after you’ve climbed all 414 steps. From the tower’s viewing platform you have a brilliant view of the cathedral’s impressive dome. Fun fact: more than four million bricks were used to build the dome. Unbelievable! We hardly get over our sense of amazement.
The city’s most beautiful sunset.
The highlight of our weekend in Florence is a sunset that couldn’t be any more beautiful. To see it at its best, we climb up the hill to the Piazzale Michelangelo, from where you can enjoy a view across the whole city.
The square is busy, particularly at sunset, so it’s worth getting there early enough to snatch a good spot!
Tasty treats and shopping in the Mercato Centrale.
On the final day, before we get on the 2.00 p.m. train back to Switzerland, we make another stop in the Mercato Centrale. The market hall, spread across two floors, has everything your heart could desire. We were particularly taken with the second floor. We really regret having just eaten breakfast, because if you come here with an empty stomach, you are spoilt for choice with the finest Italian specialities on offer.
We, of course, take home some bits and pieces for our kitchen at home. Then we sadly say our goodbyes, because our train is already waiting for us.
Ciao Bella Italia, ciao Florence, you wonderful city!