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Popular Attractions In Florence Italy
Thinking of studying abroad in Florence? Or want to take a family trip? Whatever your reasons are for visiting Florence, there are a few places you want to make sure to visit to make the most out of your trip.
It's not hard to spot once you're in Florence. In fact, you'll probably use il Duomo as a point of reference to get to where you need to go because it's at the center of the city. If there is any advice I can give, it's "When in doubt, look to il Duomo." And trust me, you will lose your way around Florence several times before you get the alley streets and avenues memorized.
Aside from serving as a monumental navigator for the lost, it's a beautiful church that has stood the test of time. Along side il duomo there is the baptistery, and Giotto's Campinile bell tower. You can climb the bell tower (415 steps to be exact) and take in the breathtaking view of all of Florence from atop. It's definitely worth the climb.
When you walk onto the Ponte Vecchio you will feel like you have been transported to a different time. It's a relic of medieval times, and is one of the oldest bridges in Florence, if not the oldest. When you walk up and down the bridge, you'll notice small jewelry shops. It also has a great view overlooking the Arno river. At night, you will find the old bridge lit up with young people listening to musicians playing.
If you have time, try to make it to the Boboli gardens. It's a beautiful and large garden with mazes and sculptures. You can definitely make a date of it because it's romantic, but you can certainly go with your friends and enjoy the beautiful landscape.
If you are a lover of art or just someone who can appreciate fine paintings and sculptures you will love the Uffizi gallery. It is one of the most famous museums in the world and houses original pieces by Da Vinci, Botticelli (one of my favorites paintings is The Birth of Venus), Caravaggio, and Rembrandt. You will stand in awe looking at art pieces you've only seen on the internet or your intro to art 101 book.
The gallery is very large so take time out to spend a good 4 or 5 hours there. Take in all the pieces, read every description, and enjoy the museum. I myself stayed almost half a day in the museum making sure that I took in every single one. There is nothing like looking at a Botticelli painting up close. Even if you don't have the first clue about art, you can still appreciate the labor of love (or hate) that produced them.
San Lorenzo Market
If you have ever visited another country outside of the U.S. you will notice that central markets are usually outside. San Lorenzo market is like that, where you can buy the freshest cheese, meat, fruits, and veggies that your heart desires. Everyone in Florence shops at the local market so if you want to fit in with the locals, make a stop at the market and try it out. The meat is far better than store packaged meats that we are used to.
Aside from just being a food market, you can also find clothes (usually leather jackets), and knick knacks being sold for tourists who want to go back home with gifts of their trip. Try not to be completely duped into buying unnecessary leather belts and jackets. They will try to hassle you to buy something but don't fret, just smile and keep moving on. Unless you really want to buy yet another leather jacket.
While shopping and visiting museums might not sound like a whole lot of fun, you can certainly enjoy your time there appreciating the beauty of a city that has buildings, streets, architecture, sculptures and paintings that have been around since before the 12th century.
However, if you ever want to venture outside of Florence you can hop on a train and travel within Italia. One of the most fascinating things about Europe is its complex EuroRail system. In Florence the Firenze Santa Maria Novella railway station is where you will head to if you want to visit sites in Italy like Pisa (where the leaning tower is), Venice, Verregio (known for it's beautiful beach).
Words of Advice
- If this is your first time in Europe or Italy, you should know that the easiest way to buy your tickets is from machines similar to ez ticket at airports, or that of the LIRR (Long Island RailRoad).
- After buying your ticket and before getting on the train you have to go to a yellow machine nearby to validate your ticket. There is a heavy fine for not validating your ticket, so make sure you validate it to avoid trouble once you're on the train.
****NOTE**** If you take public transportation in Italy you have to buy your bus pass before getting on the bus, and then you have to validate it once you are on the bus. It's complicated, so to save you from stress here is a link that explains how to buy a bus pass in Italy:
Once you're in Italy you will see that there is so much to do, you will be visually mesmerized by the beauty. Have fun but stay safe. While traveling alone can be fun, it's best to go with a family member or a friend you trust so that you don't have to venture to unknown places alone.