I took an express train to Firenze and arrived around 10:30am, I had about 9 hours before heading back to Rome. After reading several blogs I planned a packed itinerary for what to do during my short stay. Firenze was a last minute decision because I had to cancel my Venice trip, but I was in awe once I stood before the astounding Duomo Cathedral. I've seen it countless times on Instagram, but it's not the same as seeing it in person. I felt like I was walking into a storybook surrounded by incredible architecture and history. Florence is such a beautiful city, and I would go back in a heartbeat!
WHAT TO DO:-Piazza del Duomo: where you can find adorable shops, restaurants, and major attractions such as the Duomo and Bell Tower. You can buy tickets online (15 euros) to go to the attractions inside the piazza.
-Duomo (Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore): if you decide to climb up the stairs (400+ steps, no elevator) there's an impressive view of Florence. I climbed midway but had to go back down because my mom didn't want to go up to the top. If you just want to go inside the church, the entrance is free.
-Campanile di Giotto (Bell Tower): you need to climb up to experience the city view (400+ steps) but an amazing sight. Highly recommend!
-Baptistery of San Giovanni (Battistero): look up, there's an amazing gold ceiling. In front are gold panel doors designed by Michelangelo. Stunning!
-Ponte Vecchio: walk across Florence's oldest bridge.
-look up places where they serve the best T-bone steak, one of Florence's specialty. Known as bistecca alla Fiorentina. It's huge and I would recommend ordering one and sharing it with someone, which is what my parents did.
-San Lorenzo Market: great spot to buy souvenirs and leather goods. I didn't get to go inside, but read reviews that there are amazing food and finds. I spent time shopping outside at the market stalls with my parents.
-Giardino Bardini: a hidden gem in Florence. About 20-25 minutes walking distance from Piazza del Duomo, but a peaceful garden with stunning view of Florence. Also, a beautiful wisteria tunnel! I would double check times and also you need to bring cash to pay for the entrance fee.
-Church of Santa Maria Novella