Florence

All it took was one day. Firenze sneaked its way in and made a clever getaway with my heart. It’s funny really, I had planned out the itinerary for every city to a T. Except Florence. And perhaps, that was the reason I fell in love with it. There were no trains to catch, no tickets booked for places to see, just a long day ahead of us full of promise and possibilities.

But first. Let me put things in context.

While Europe had been full of adventure so far, each place had had its share of crazy – an unpleasant old lady, a train missed, a bunch of rowdy Frenchmen, a budget hotel from a horror story, a map that made no sense…the list is endless!

But Florence, with its pretty streets echoing a million lovely tales, seemed to embrace us with the familiarity of an old friend. We didn’t feel the need to visit all the “must-see” attractions. It was a day for spontaneity, to saunter leisurely through the city and see where it took us. And Firenze was on our side.

A (Slightly) Romanticised Account of Our Day in Florence

The 19th century Hotel

Our experiences with budget hotels so far had been…not too exciting, to say the least. But Hotel Crocini effortlessly rescued the reputation of budget hotels everywhere. Situated in a historical building from the 1800s, it has preserved its rustic charm while offering all modern amenities. It’s like going back in time, but with Wi-Fi!

Hotel crocini florence
My favourite part was this age-old elevator! And it actually functioned, if you can believe it 😮 It had a velvety interior and cool knobs for buttons and everything.

Tucked away on a quiet street, the hotel was walking distance from all the important places (but then, Firenze is so tiny, I think everything is walking distance). Breakfast was served in a small room overlooking a delightful little garden and before we took off, the staff at reception provided us with a map that would be our guide for the day.

i heart florence

Streets From a Musical

As we set out, we couldn’t help but feel that there was happy dust in the air. Cool air played with our hair, the sun shone brightly, everything seemed to be in technicolour. People walked by us humming to themselves, eyes twinkling, looking as though they would burst out into song and dance at any given moment. An ice-cream shop was just opening up it’s shutters and so, of course, we made a quick stop for gelato (Mission Stuff-Self-with-Pizza-&-Gelato-While-in-Italy was a go).

gelato in florence
Stuffed faces with two scoops each. This was followed by a pizza, then another gelato, then another pizza. I’m refraining from sharing photos of each food pit-stop :p
florence book shop
Stumbled upon this book shop with rare editions of classic works. It was a sight to behold :’) Couldn’t afford to buy any of them, of course.
street in florence
Posed on random streets, ’cause why not?
Arcone Florence
Admired historical architecture. The inscription on this arch in Piazza della Repubblica, can be roughly translated to: “The ancient centre of the city restored from age old squalor to new life.”
Mr Pizza Florence
Had happy timez at pizza parlours.

Unexpected Rain

We had found our way to the Duomo and after a tiny bit of shopping (my trolley backpack was bursting at the seams so I bought myself a mini-backpack and a T-shirt for the hubs), we were in the midst of deciding where to head to next.

duomo florence
Gettin’ touristy at the Duomo.

Before this important decision could bear any fruit, it started pouring! Unprepared and unsuspecting, we ran around like headless chickens in search of shelter, giggling to ourselves about how ridiculous we must look.

A man seemed to appear out of thin air, selling umbrellas (it was like he was hiding in the shadows all along!). We quickly stuffed cash into his hand, bought one and attempted to squeeze under it. But the wind was having none of that. The umbrella breathed its last just a few minutes later.

Street in firenze
The umbrella that was.

Thankfully, we spotted another man selling raincoats. After a discouraging experience with the umbrella, this seemed like a worthwhile investment. The whole time we were chuckling with amusement and, once under the protection of raincoats, we felt fully equipped to brave the rain and continue exploring the city.

Raincoats in Florence
Post rain, frizzy-haired, slightly confused faces.

Happy Goodbyes

Sounds like a bit of an oxymoron, doesn’t it? Goodbyes are, by their very nature, meant to be sad. But this one wasn’t for some reason. Perhaps it was the fact that the day had been so magical, and there were no regrets about not having seen enough. Or perhaps, it was the strong belief that someday, I would be back…

view of florence
Until next time.

 

28 thoughts on “Florence – The Heart Thief”

  1. Love the piece and your photography! It took me back almost twenty years to my first visit to Florence. It is a magical city isn’t it? And the gelato, oh the gelato! We too steered clear of the tourist lines and opted for an “off the beaten path” day trying to drink in the “real” Florence. Hope to get back there some day too!

    1. Hi Kristen! Thank you so much. I’m so happy you enjoyed the post and it helped you relive happy memories 😀 It really is a magical place. I hope we both get to go back someday ^_^

  2. I’ve visited Florence twice and absolutely loved it. Despite spending two weeks there I totally want to go back and discover more!! It is such a walkable city.

    1. I know! I loved that about it. I can definitely see myself spending a lot more time there and not getting bored 🙂

  3. These photos are awesome! It looks like such a lovely place and like you had an Amazing time! I’d love to visit there one day!

  4. This post gave me chills! I feel the exact same way about Florence. By far my favorite city. I love Italy in general but Florence holds a special place in my heart.

  5. I have a Greek friend who told me that Italy should be the place of “Amour” and not France for a lot of reasons. The art, interior, ambience and even food gets you in a very exotic mood and so romantic. Thanks for making me actually visualise some parts of it.

    1. That is SO true actually. I mean, I’m no expert but from what I saw on my trip, I’d have to agree with your friend wholeheartedly. Florence, especially, incorporates all the things you’ve mentioned 🙂

  6. I was in Italy, sometime around 2005 and it was the most memorable trip of a lifetime. Florence was like the dainty lady among the rugged warriors of Rome and Naples and the coastal casanova-like city of Capri. I’ve forgotten the hotel that I stayed at but I vaguely remember the name ‘Embassy’. The old brick streets are still so fresh in my memory. I adore the photos and you look beautiful!

    1. Thank you so much! Your description of Florence is so apt and beautiful. I didn’t get a chance to visit Naples or Capri on my trip but I hope to go back someday and cover more of Italy 🙂

  7. You were able to capture some great photos of Florence. Can I just say that the gelato in Italy is AMAZING everywhere you go?! Glad you had such a great time!

  8. Looks like a lovely place the kinky problem with Europe is finding halal food and your budget hotel reminds me of a quaint hotel that we had booked in Georgia. Florence seems interesting though.

  9. I love your story telling! It makes me want to visit and I’m also really intrigued to read the rest of your posts ! I’ve never been to anywhere in Italy but I’ve always wanted to go!

  10. The vintage hotel elevator looks cool. Wish you had the picture of the interior of the elevator too! The umbrella moment was fun to read! I never leave any place without regret of watching the place completely.

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