Have you heard that our little family is currently travelling around Europe? The first stop, on our month long holiday was Venice, where we spent a quick 24 hours before we caught the train to Florence.
The train journey across country was spectacular. It was the best way to make an entrance to the city, high speed through the rolling hills and wineries that make up the Tuscan countryside. I couldn’t help but say ‘wow’ out-loud at the lushes green fields and the old rustic farmhouses.
Arriving in Florence, we quickly checked into our hotel, before heading out for dinner. It wasn’t until the next day, when we went out to explore, that we discovered why Florence is considered a romantic city.
What To See In Florence
The architecture is so beautiful and there is such a vibrant atmosphere in the city. The ‘Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore’ certainly took my breath away, with not only it’s height, but also the details in the stone. Apparently the doors alone took 27 years to be built.
We spent endless hours wondering the streets, absorbing all the buildings and the busy Piazzas. There were street performers, gelato shops and famous monuments to see on every corner. But, if that’s not your thing then there are plenty of museums, art galleries and shops to mooch around too.
Even in October, the streets were bustling with people, both tourists and locals heading to work, school and University.
We escaped the crowds on one of the days and headed to the Palazzo Pitti gardens. Palazzo Pitti is an old Renaissance palace and the biggest museum in Florence.
Calling the gardens ‘grand’ would be an understatement. There were endless corners to explore and at the top of every hill a different view of gorgeous Tuscany.
There were some moments, when we forgot that we were in the centre of one of Tuscany’s biggest cities. It was so tranquil.
We were also really grateful, to have one beautiful October day in Florence. The views were definitely more defined in the sunshine and you could see all the way to the mountains in the far distance. It was so warm, a complete contrast to the next two days, that were chilly and slightly stormy.
These little attractions are so perfect for taking young children and toddlers too. The chance for them to run around hands free is more of a blessing than you’d realise. Evie burnt off so much energy and loved climbing all the stairs and watching the ducks play in the water.
Maybe it’s just that we’re not used to busy cities with Evie, but it was a bit of a struggle to get her to hold hands willingly, all the time, and to stop her from running about. Random, wide open spaces, became our best friend!
On one of the days I got the shock of my life, as my beautiful boyfriend surprised me by turning up to say hey! He’s currently working on super yachts all over the Mediterranean, so I was more than grateful to get to spend a rare bought of time with him.
We spent the afternoon exploring the streets, eating ice-cream and drinking Chianti. My favourite spot was on Ponte Vecchio, a famous bridge in Florence.
The medieval stone closed, arched bridge is home to an array of jewellery stores, all with gorgeous views over the river. The old buildings are quite something. They have been kept so well and give such character, to this little area of Florence.
I loved just standing on the old bridge, watching the boats pass through, heading towards the countryside in the distance.
On one of the walls is a spot for people to ‘lock their love’. We couldn’t resist leaving a padlock on the bridge to add to our memory book. It was such a beautifully, cheesy moment, that I’ll remember for a long time.
One thing I will say, is that you can’t come to Florence without trying some of their incredible homemade gelato. The size of the tubs in not just one, but all of the shops, was insane!
We’ve travelled to many cities and seaside towns and I’ve never seen ice-cream like this in my life. I tried the ‘caffe’ and ‘cocco’ flavours and was not disappointed.
Evenings In Florence
We loved the food too and were spoilt for choice with traditional Italian eateries lining the streets. Sipping wine and watching performers in the Piazzas at night time, is truly a beautiful way to spend your time.
On one of the evenings, we sat in a main square to enjoy some wine and food, while the sun set. The food was so fresh and delicious. Although it doesn’t look that appetising in these pictures, the flavour combinations popped in your mouth and left you wanting more.
It was the perfect place to sit with a fidgety toddler as there was plenty to keep her entertained. Right before our table, a few traders were throwing flashing light toys up into the sky, other people performed music and a few extra large bubbles were being cast and chased about the square by children.
Children In Florence
Although there isn’t much to do for children in Florence, you can’t beat a carousel ride in the middle of the Piazza at night time.
We may have bribed Evie to be good in return for a few rides on the carousel, for the few days we were here. All I can say is that it worked and she had not one, but two rides! Thank you carousel!
I definitely want to return to Tuscany again. Although Florence was really magical, a few days spent here is plenty. Next time we’ll be heading more into the countryside to have a tranquil retreat near a winery or the coast.
Florence is only a short train and car ride to Pisa, the coast, wineries, the countryside and Siena. We definitely wish we’d taken the opportunity to leave the city and see more of our surroundings, but it is definitely a great spot to stop off on a tour of Italy. You can read our comparison, ‘A City Break or a Country Retreat In Tuscany?’ here.
The next stop on our month long travels of Europe, is historic Rome. Keep your eyes peeled for that post!
Have you ever been to Florence or Tuscany? Where is your favourite spot? Let us know in the comments below.