Florence. Even the word itself rolls off the tongue so beautifully. If you want an authentic Italian experience, Florence is the place to be. We stayed in the most beautiful boutique hotel I have ever seen which had 20 foot ornately painted ceilings, a little balcony with a view of the quaint Piazza Santo Spirito, and an incredible rooftop bar overlooking the city. It was picturesque to say the least. If you tried to envision the perfect Italian scene in your head the view from the roof was it. Prosecco in hand, views of alleyways, churches, and the iconic Tuscan-looking horizon... add an accordion player, which of course there was, and you have the recipe for a perfect evening! I'm pretty sure this American girl is really Italian at heart. Spaghetti with clams, gnocchi with truffle oil, and a Florentine steak were among the best things I've eaten. Ever. My husband and I also took a cooking class and handmade our own pasta, bruschetta, and drunken peach panna cotta. We shopped for the ingredients with our teacher right in the square outside our hotel room and the smell of fresh basil will forever trigger the memory of that day. More on our Florence adventure in the captions, and keep your eyes out for a Venice post!
Above: the experience from our hotel, Palazzo Guadagni. Incredible. I highly recommend it!
Below: I made Sam wake up to catch the sunrise with me... Unfortunately a storm was trying to roll in and we saw no part of a sunrise. However, getting up that early meant pictures with no people which in Italy is very hard to do! Beautiful views of the river and the Ponte Vecchio bridge. Forgive Sam's sleepy face... I made him wake up at the "crack" of dawn *insert emoji smiling with tears face*.
Below: One of our adventures in Florence was to Boboli Gardens which was not what we thought it would be, but it sure was beautiful! Ornate sculptures and fountains, lemon trees in terra cotta pots for days, and amazing views from the hillside created a fairytale-like setting. It was as if this place went on for miles, and it sort of did!
I did rock the gold pants a few times on the trip, and of course I only brought the camera when I was wearing them... If you ever take a trip to Italy in the summertime I HIGHLY recommend a pair of linen pants, lightweight tops, and comfy shoes! If you are going on an adventure come prepared!
We did nearly 12 miles of walking the day we went to the gardens and I would guess at least 4 of them were from the gardens alone. We climbed a steep slope to the top of the estate where we found breathtaking views of the mountains and city and the sweetest little area where it was clear all the citizens of Florence liked to picnic on a summer day.
When Sam asked if I was seeking any souvenirs from Florence he was not pleased with my response. I told him (totally seriously) that I wanted a lemon tree!! He said customs would not approve... wah wah. Some day I'm going to get one!
I will always dream of Florence. It is breathtaking and authentic. The food, the people, the culture as a whole is just beautiful and I cannot wait to go back some day. I will also dream about the cherry gelato... which I was too busy chowing down to take a picture of...