Back in July Luke and I went on the least pregnancy holiday ever and traveled across Italy, starting in Milan, followed by Florence, Pisa, Rome, Naples, Pompeii, and the Amalfi Coast. It was planned before we knew I was pregnant, and being pregnant was not going to stop us from exploring all of these places in an incredibly active holiday. I did struggle but it was one of the most amazing holidays I’ve ever been on and the perfect babymoon, our last holiday as two. If you follow me on Instagram then you may remember some of my photos, but I thought it was about time I share a post all about our adventure.
Florence was the second place in Italy we visited, and aside from the Amalfi Coast was my absolute favourite place to explore in Italy. From the culture to the stunning views everywhere, to finding the best ice cream in our entire trip, it really was a dream and a city I fell in love with.
WHERE TO STAY
When we planned our trip we had a budget to keep in mind, but at the same time wanted to stay somewhere central to allow us to spend more time to explore each destination and less time traveling. In Florence, after a lot of searching, we decided on La Campanella, a small guesthouse B&B.
I have to be honest, La Campanella was probably our least favourite choice of accommodation on our entire trip. It’s an incredibly tricky place to find with no obvious signposts as it’s essentially a floor within a regular housing building. The only reason we actually found it was from the reviews we’d read on Trip Advisor previously when researching.
The bed was uncomfortable, as in solid as anything (not good for a 5 month pregnant me), and it was incredibly noisy. The room lacked double glazing and because of the convenient location near trams it was incredibly noisy and nothing could be blocked out. You seemed to be able to hear ambulances and all sorts constantly going past too.
On the plus side, La Campanella is incredibly conveniently located B&B, only a 10-15 minute walk to the main Florence train and bus station, or a 30-35 minute walk into the main city center.
If you’re looking for somewhere conveniently located at a reasonable price then this is ideal, but for the reasons above I really don’t think I could ever stay there again and would have to spend a little more to stay somewhere a little more premium away from the noise.
WHAT TO DO
There’s so much to see and do in Florence, so we did have an itinerary on the places we wanted to see the most and couldn’t miss, but had already decided to take it easier than we perhaps would have if I wasn’t pregnant. This isn’t to say our trip was slow and we missed out on things as we really didn’t, but we had to be realistic to some extent. It was very hot during our trip and I was getting a lot more easily exhausted than usual!
With this in mind, we caught the train from Milano Centrale that arrived at Firenze Santa Maria Novella at around half 6, and decided to keep our first evening quite chilled, taking in the culture of Florence and the local area we stayed in. We headed out to find a local pizza place which had an open pizza oven, Piccolo Cesare Pizza & C.
Piccolo Cesare Pizza & C. very much had a family, authentic Italian vibe to it with incredibly friendly staff. We were seated quite close to the pizza oven and I loved being able to see all the pizzas being made. I would have to say this was the best pizza we had had so far at this point on our trip, and the second best pizza in the entire trip. I would have happily eaten there daily.
Day 2 was the start of our exploring adventure in Florence, the day when we started to work through our sightseeing list. We started our day by going for a long stroll into the center of Florence and started admiring the buildings in the piazza, particularly the Florence Cathedral (the Duomo) and the Bell Tower, both of which are just stunning to look at. The detail that has gone into the architecture is incredible, the photos really don’t do it the justice they deserve.
Around here was when we realised we needed a pre-booked ticket to be able to do anything. They were completely sold out for the few days we were in Florence so we ended up purchasing an overpriced ticket from the ticket touts everywhere instead. This ticket covered a range of activities and entrances including the Duomo Climb and viewing of the Duomo downstairs, the Bell Tower, and the Duomo museum. If you’re planning on visiting Florence I really recommend planning your tickets in advance so you can save money.
We booked a tour slot to climb the Duomo for the afternoon, and in the meantime took a trip inside the Duomo museum, the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo. It was incredibly fascinating to see some of the original arts of work, statues and doors created for the Duomo, and allowed me to have a break and sit down too (lol).
Following our look around the museum, it was time to climb the Duomo itself, 463 steps to the very top, outside. About halfway up you caught a glimpse of the incredibly impressive artwork of the Duomo ceiling showing the magnificent cycle of frescoes depicting the Last Judgement. There’s so much to see in the artwork that you could easily spend an hour looking at this alone.
Once you get past this section we continued the climb to the very top of the dome into the viewing area where you exit outside to amazing views of the city. As you get close to the outside of the dome everything does become incredibly narrow and tight-spaced with low ceilings, so if you’re tall or going with someone tall they do have to duck, but the view is totally worth it. Every direction you look is stunning with orange rooftops everywhere and the bell tower in sight too.
Our plan was to then climb the Bell Tower, but with a knackered me and a broken Luke from ducking in the previous climb we instead decided to take a break and go to the Magnum shop instead, the least Italian thing ever, purely because we’ve never been to one. It was delicious but Italian gelato is 1000% better, perhaps unsurprisingly.
After our little snack, we headed to the Accademia Gallery to see the David. I wasn’t too fussed but seeing Michelangelo’s David is something you have to do when in Florence, and it was better than I expected and much larger. The museum also held a range of other statues and some stunning artwork. It’s definitely a gallery worth taking a look at, even if it’s only briefly.
Once the evening hit it was finally time for us to have some food. We seem to have developed a tradition of visiting Hard Rock Cafe’s in various countries, and there was an England football game playing in the Florence one, so we headed to the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner.
I had a delicious mocktail whilst Luke had one of their famous cocktails, whilst we had a slow evening devouring a chicken starter and our mains. It was extremely yummy and made a bit of a change from all the Italian food we enjoyed on our trip.
The following day started with a bus ride to the Pizzale Michelangelo where you can find a panoramic view of the whole of Florence. The view was beyond stunning and even better than I ever imagined. As stunning as the view was from the top of the Duomo this was definitely the best of the two, and one I thoroughly recommend you doing.
The bus ride there was about half an hour to 40 minutes, but it really is worth it. After we had taken our selection of photos we weren’t finished taking in the views so decided to stop at the restaurant onsight overlooking the view. If you decide to do this too it’s lovely to take in the view, but the food is not worth it. We didn’t eat ours, and many of the other people sitting down didn’t either which I think says it all. We did, however, pick up some ice creams to go afterward from one of the stalls just above, which were much better.
Later in the afternoon, we headed back to the city center of Florence and went for a wander popping in some of the shops. We walked up and down the narrow streets taking everything in and went for a walk up a local market street where a variety of products were sold. It was lovely to take the evening a little bit slower before finding a restaurant in the center for some dinner.
Frustratingly I decided to not take any photos, but we went to a centrally-located restaurant and both had a pasta dish for dinner. I believe I had a simple tomato and basil dish which was basic but yummy all the same. I don’t think you can go wrong with an Italian meal in Italy no matter where you go really. Most people were drinking wine and a couple even purchased some so if I wasn’t pregnant I’m sure this would have been a great addition to my meal too.
Following this, we took a slow stroll back to our B&B to chill for the rest of the evening and rest my legs.
I realise this is a 72 hours in Florence post, but technically it still is… bare with me… We started the day by heading to Pisa but as Pisa was further away from Rome and we wanted to spend a little more time in Florence we headed back here for the evening after a day exploring Pisa.
We arrived back in Florence at about half past 6 and headed straight back into the city center of Florence where we had made reservations at Obica, an Italian Mozzarella bar. The restaurant had a real homely vibe with a gorgeous, contemporary interior, and seemed incredibly upmarket. We started by having lightly spiced buffalo mozzarella bites before Luke had some meatballs for his main whilst I had a tortellini dish. Luke’s meatballs were very large and tender on the tongue, whilst my pasta dish was super soft. It wasn’t my favourite meal of our trip but it was a lovely experience and environment for our last meal in Florence.
Once we had finished our dinner we went for one final wander around the city center of Florence taking in all the incredible architecture and local culture once more. We even went for a gelato last minute which has to be the best decision we made, as the gelato was the best on our entire trip in my opinion. The little gelato shop was called La Pasticceria and had a mulitiude of gelato flavours to choose from, and additionally some lovely macaroons to choose from too. I went for the nutella gelato and Luke went for strawberry flavoured gelato – both of which were divine.
It was the perfect end to our few days in Florence, and I would absolutely love to go back. Florence was incredible and is asbolutely a place you need to go if you haven’t already. I would love to take things a little slower another time, simply enjoying Florence for all it has to offer.
OTHER THINGS TO DO IN FLORENCE
In case there isn’t enough for you to do in your 72 hours in Florence, we did have a few other things on our list that we’d have loved to do but didn’t have the time in the end. These are the:
- Uffizi Gallery – an incredibly famous art museum which also has statues outside
- Baboli Gardens – beautiful Italian gardens home to a selection of sculptures from the 16th to the 18th centuries
- Municipal Swimming pools – outdoor swimming pools, perfect to cool down in if you’re visiting on a hot Summers day
Have you traveled to Florence before? How would you spend 72 hours in Florence?