Visit to Italy: Florence & Tuscany Region

After our 4 nights in Rome, we boarded the high-speed train to Florence. We booked our tickets in advance directly through Trenitalia and decided to travel business class, it was worth it! There was one stop, shortly after leaving Rome, then it was direct to Florence. Our departure was out of the Roma Termini and we arrived at the Firenze S. M. Novella station.

Views from Train

Our VRBO was a lovely 2 bedroom 2 bath apartment located right next to Piazza del Mercato Nuovo which was a bustling part of the city! Every morning the vendors set up all of their booths and every evening they took everything down and moved their carts out. It was quite the process! Here is a link to the property where we stayed for our 3 nights. Our apartment was also a short walk to Ponte Vecchio so we were close to lots of restaurants, shopping, and of course gelaterias!

Piazza del Mercato Nuovo

That night we dined at Ristorante Oliviero 1962, this was recommended to us by our VRBO host and coincidently her family was dining there the same night to celebrate her husband’s birthday. This was a quaint, charming restaurant and the food was delicious.

I pre-booked a tour of Tuscany through Get Your Guide (which gave us a 10% savings as American Express cardholders – bonus!). We chose the Tuscany Day Trip with Optional Lunch and Wine which was a full day (12 hours) tour starting at the Firenze S. M. Novella train station and visiting three towns, Siena (which included a guided tour along with free time), lunch at Fattoria Poggio Allora in the Chianti Hills, free time in San Gimignano, then our last stop was Pisa before heading back to Florence.

Everything about this day was wonderful! We had a great balance of learning about the area as well as free time to explore and shop. After our walking tour of Siena, we stopped into Bar Gelateria La Costarella for coffees and to taste the Ricciarelli cookies that are very popular in the area.

Walking Through Siena

We then headed up to the San Gimignano area where we were served lunch and wine at Fattoria Poggio Allora. The food, the wine, and the extra virgin olive oil (also made there) were all amazing. We ended up purchasing 4 bottles of the Chianti to take with us (you can’t beat €8,50 a bottle!) and then we ordered 3 cases to ship back home. Even with the shipping to the US, this worked out to €14,00 a bottle. Once it arrives, we will be able to share with our friends and family the taste directly from our experience in the Chianti Hills.

Chianti Hill Region

Our next stop was a short drive to the town of San Gimignano where they suggested that we try Gelateria Dondoli which served award winning gelato – so of course we had to check it out! You can see my quick TikTok here.

Lastly we drove to Pisa so that we could see the famous leaning tower. There is also a Bapitistery and a Cathedral there. You can purchase tickets to climb the tower, even with a 16 year old, they wouldn’t let our kids go by themselves, so The Hubby made the trek up the tower. Unfortunately I was having some knee issues and didn’t see that being a successful adventure for me! They did say you could feel the lean as you wound around the tower climbing the steps.

The Hubby and The Boys Up There!
View From The Top
Obligatory Photo!

That night we enjoyed a late dinner at Ristorante Celestino which was a short walk from our apartment. We started outside, but then it started pouring so we were quickly moved inside. Once again, the food and wine did not disappoint!

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio – one of my favorites!

The following day we didn’t have really any plans except for visiting the Accedemia Gallery with the primary purpose to see Michelangelo’s David. These are tickets you will want to purchase in advance as it is a bit of a “gong show” even getting into the right line once it is your time to enter the museum. If you don’t have tickets purchased in advance, you will likely be standing in a very long line to buy them. We purchased them through Get Your Guide and saved our 10%! Even with that, we needed to show our voucher at a designated location to retrieve the actual tickets.

Since we had some time, I decided to make The Hubby and I coffee in our apartment’s kitchen – I fell in love with these coffee makers and brought one home for myself and my brother!

For breakfast, we decided to not map out where to go, instead we chose to start walking and found Caffe’ dell’Oro with a couple of available tables outside that had a view of Ponte Vecchio and the Arno River. We had to split up because there wasn’t a table for 4, but funny enough, our boys ended up ordering the exact same meal.

Ponte Vecchio Over Arno River

It was raining off and on that day, so decided to spend some time in our apartment relaxing before heading over to Accedemia. Once we left the apartment again, we knew we would see the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and the famous Brunelleschi Dome. We had not planned to buy tickets and go inside, but it was quite massive and impressive to see! It was raining quite hard once we were in that area, so didn’t spend a lot of time gazing at it.

Relaxing In Our Room and Enjoying Our Newly Purchased Chianti!

For our final dinner in Florence, we chose Casa Del Vin Santo and were given a lovely table right next to an open window. Food and wine were top notch!

The next morning we headed to the train station and decided to eat breakfast at ADD HERE again and we were off to Venice….final blog post coming soon!

Thank you for reading about our time in Florence! You can see the TikTok I made about our experience here!

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