Florence

“In Paris, you learn wit, in London you learn to crush your social rivals, and in Florence you learn poise.”

Virgil Thomson

We arrived in Florence by train from Venice and dragged our cases the short walk to our hotel, pre-booked through Lastminute, the MSN Palazzo Suites (which we later discovered was a B&B). I couldn’t recommend this hotel enough if you’re travelling as a couple. The décor is stunning and the architecture inside is spectacular.

Pink and gold chaise lounges adorn the monochrome lobby. The hotel is modern, fresh, funky and light. I fell in love instantly. Then we saw our room.

I highly recommend this accommodation to anyone visiting Florence. It is a 15 minute walk from the centre or a 5 minute bus ride. But, enough about the amazing accommodation.

Thanks to the trusty Lonely Planet guidebook we had pre-booked a recommended bike tour through the Tuscan wine region of Chianti. On our first morning we met our guides and our fellow cyclists, mostly Americans and Canadians, at the tour office. They transported us to the tiny town, Popiano, in the Tuscan hills where we began with a wine and olive oil tour around a castle-turned-winery which finished with tastings.

We geared up and were soon on our way cycling through the stunning scenery of Tuscany. We stopped for lunch and enjoyed yet more local wine before continuing our relaxed route.

The tour was well really well organised and casually paced, the only criteria being you must be able to ride a bike. Check them out here.

We spent the rest of our days in Florence roaming the city and stumbling across hidden architectural wonders;

Climbing anything we could to get a 360 view of the city. This view is from the monstrous Duomo (cathedral) that dwarfs all the other buildings in the city.

Visiting museums and naughtily snapping works of art to be explicitly told ‘no photos’. The Galleria Dell’academia displays the famous Michelangelo’s ‘David’.

Eating. Now Florence is supposedly the birth place of Gelato and where it’s at its best so how could we avoid the many parlours offering up fantastic creamy ice cream?

We also frequented a local Italian eatery called Il Pallaio which was recommended to us by our hotel manager. How thankful we are he was friendly. It served truly amazing, great value for money food and each night we went and every table was full of locals. The lack of tourists meant we received the authentic Italian experience we were looking for. And the best thing – they serve deep fried sage.

Florence seemed the most logical gateway to Pisa so we spent a day capturing the stereotypical Pisa pose.

Florence is supposed to be the most romantic city in the world. It was pretty but I think Paris pips it. Although the view from the Piazza Michelangelo is quite something. Grab a few bears and enjoy the sunset.

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