ITALY: The heart of Tuscany: Florence – Volterra – San Gimignano

The third day of our trip to Tuscany we headed east to visit Florenze (Firenze). When you’re in the area you simply can’t pass on this city as it’s the capital of the region and a city that has a lot to offer.

Florence is famous for its history. It used to be the centre of medieval European trade and was one of the weathiest cities at the time. But now it’s still a vibrating city with many tourists discovering the city and its sights.

On our way to Florence, we made a little detour to Volterra and San Gimignano as those two cities are known to be very beautiful as well. We just couldn’t overlook them.

When we left our hotel in the morning, the entire area was foggy, so we were quite anxious that we wouldn’t see anything of the beautiful Tuscany hills. Fortunately as we drove higher up the hills, we suddenly ended up above the clouds and the sight we were greeted with was simply marvelous. Suddenly I was very grateful of the fog and it gave it all such a unique atmosphere.

SONY DSC SONY DSC

Our first stop of the day was Volterra. We didn’t really spend a lot of time in this town as we had a very filled day ahead of us, but it’s a lovely city to just walk through. Especially the old Roman Teatre, which dates back to the 1st century before Christ, and the main square are pretty impressive.

SONY DSC SONY DSC

SONY DSC SONY DSC

SONY DSC SONY DSC

SONY DSC SONY DSC

Next we headed for San Gimignano. This small walled medieval town is most famous for its many towers and towerhouses that were preserved. It gives the town a unique skyline. You have the best view on that skyline from a bit out of the town, but for those who don’t have a car to drive out of the town, you also have a lovely view from theBastione San Francisco.

The historical city of San Gimignano is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so definitely worth a visit. We also didn’t have a lot of time here, but it’s just amazing to walk through. Aside from the towers, I also loved the Piazza della Cisterna.

SONY DSC SONY DSC

SONY DSC SONY DSC

SONY DSC SONY DSC

SONY DSC SONY DSC

Not only are those two towns just lovely, but the road to get there is filled with so many beautiful sights. The Tuscany area is just so stunning and I wouldn’t have mind driving through it a bit longer.

SONY DSC SONY DSC

SONY DSC SONY DSC

And then we were off to the city of Florence. We started our tour of the city with a view of the city from Piazzale Michelangelo. You simply can’t skip this view as it’s just marvellous. To me, it’s the best way to start your visit, and plenty of people think so as it gets really busy at that spot.

SONY DSC SONY DSC

SONY DSC SONY DSC

We couldn’t really find a good city walk of Florence, so we decided to just wing it and get a bit lost in the city. We started off our wandering along the Arno River, to the Ponte Vecchio. This old bridge now still has shops on it, just as it had back in the early years of the city. Back then butchers occupied those stalls whereas now you can find jewelry, art and of course souvenirs. There are also street musicians doing their thing, so the atmosphere there is really lovely.

SONY DSC SONY DSC

SONY DSC SONY DSC

SONY DSC SONY DSC

From there we headed along the Via Por Santa Maria to the Piazza del Signoria. This is one of the most important squares of Florence as you can find many amazing buildings and sights, such as the Palazzo Vecchio, a copy of the David of Michelangelo and the Loggia dei Lanzi.

SONY DSC  SONY DSC

And then the highlight of Florence; the Santa Maria del Fiore, also known as the Duomo. This Cathedral dates back to the thirteenth century and is the largest dome built in brick and mortar in the world. Its most important characteristic is the exterior marble panels in various shades of green, pink and white. Along with the historic center of Florence, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

SONY DSC SONY DSC

SONY DSC SONY DSC

SONY DSC SONY DSC

We really wanted to visit the Duomo with its beautiful fresco’s and the view from the top but sadly by the time we were there, all tickets for the day were already sold out. Since we still wanted a view of Florence from that place, we climbed the Giotto’s Campanille. This bell tower has over 400 steps and is quite narrow, but the view is really worth it. Especially since we had the Duomo in our view now. The entrance ticket costs 15 euros but that’s a ticket for the entire site, so the Duomo was also included. You can’t buy separate tickets for each venue.

SONY DSC SONY DSC

SONY DSC SONY DSC

SONY DSC SONY DSC

Since our ticket now also included entrance to the Museo dell’Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore, we decided to go have a quick look at this museum.

SONY DSC SONY DSC

Next we headed for the Piazza di Santa Croce. By then night had already fallen, but it made the Basilica di Santa Croce di Firenze look really special all lit up. A few young people were making music on that square so I’ll forever remember the amazing ambiance there.

SONY DSC SONY DSC

Another one of the must-do sights of Florence is definitely the Galleria Uffizione of the most famous art museums in the world. It can be found on the Piazza del Signoria. Their most famous acquisition is definitely the ‘David’ by Michelangelo but there are plenty of other well-known paintings and objects displayed as well. Sadly we didn’t have time to visit the gallery, but it’s also worth it to go check out the building and the courtyard of this gallery as it’s quite spectacular as well.

SONY DSC

This day flew by so quickly that before we knew it, it was almost time to head back to our hotel in Pisa. But since the atmosphere was so lovely, we decided to go back to a few sights we’d already seen just to see it again by night. And it was simply stunning.

SONY DSC SONY DSC

The view from Piazzale Michelangelo is definitely also worth it at night, so with that view we said goodbye to the city of Florence.

SONY DSC

And with that I’ve told you all about the most important sights of my trip to Tuscany and Liguria. It really was just a lovely roadtrip and I really hope I can go back to the area one day as it’s so stunning.

Until next time,

With love, Ellen

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: