This weekend we caught up on sleep, and laundry, then walked to our neighborhood gelato shop after church and wished we were back in Italy, ha! In an effort to cure the post vacay blues, this week I’ll be sharing our Italian road trip in the exact order of our stops right here on B&B. We flew overnight and arrived in Milan bright and early on Thursday morning and picked up our rental car, then promptly left for Florence. We opted to drive instead of having to deal with train schedules so that we could really make the most of every minute in Italy, but I should warn you… Driving in Italy is NOT for the faint of heart. Everyone is driving well over the speed limits (despite the speed cameras that are everywhere, Italians do you pay your speed tickets? I’m curious! Ha!) and the tolls are not cheap, but if you’re up for an adventure, a skilled driver (or traveling with one like me) and are willing to spend a little more on a fabulous Italian car that makes the experience even more magical (more on this in my Tuscany post) then a road trip is an incredible way to see Italy on your own schedule. And getting back to our itinerary, we arrived right on schedule in Florence!
It was a cloud covered early afternoon in Florence, and the city was quiet. It felt as though we had the whole town to ourselves. We parked on the street across from the Basillica Santa Maria Novella, a small but beautiful church and immediately began exploring Florence on foot. To be perfectly honest we didn’t really “plan” out things to do in Florence. I had some sights and bites pinned to my Italy travel board, but hadn’t mapped them out and figured we would sort of figure it out as we went along.
We walked the prettiest cobblestone streets and passed by the all big designers you’d expect to see in a high end shopping district… Balenciaga, Ferragamo, Dior, Cavalli and Louis Vuitton. And we passed them all to do some shopping for our boys at Zara where I literally bought one of ALL of the new fall little boy things they had. Back to school shopping, CHECK! Then we had our hearts set on something sweet, a stop at Perché No! was an absolute must.
Espresso and chocolate. Try it if you find yourself at Perché No! You won’t be disappointed!
Our next stop was lunch…Can you tell we hadn’t eaten since stepping off the plane? Ha! We stumbled upon this precious little place on our way to Ponte Vecchio. It was so delicious. We had a beautiful meat and cheese platter and the service was divine. I didn’t take a food pic because we devoured it. We highly recommend Osteria Vecchio Vicolo!
We continued our stroll to Ponte Vecchio, the beautiful bridge your bound to have seen in every Florence guide ever. It was just as lovely as we expected, so we decided a view from the top was in order. And up to the roof of Hotel Continentale we went for cocktails and kisses with a view at La Terraza Lounge Bar.
We toasted to the beginning of a wonderful trip, we made out like teenagers and we took some elevator selfies I won’t ever be posting, ha! It was just a great time, all around. And when we were done I begged Derek to commandeer this bicycle for me… To which he flat out declined, so rude. 😉 I mean I honestly need this bicycle. Can you blame me? Even the bikes are chic in Italy!
Since Derek refused to become a bike bandit on my behalf, our walk continued. We decide in interest of saving time and skipping lines that we’d head to the Piazza Della Signoria and see the “fake” version of Michelangelo’s David. Despite not being the real deal, it was still beautiful as were the other sculptures in the piazza.
We returned to our car to drive out to the Boboli gardens, our last stop before leaving Florence! When we arrived to the gardens they were closing and the woman at the gate could sense my utter disappointment. I couldn’t believe I didn’t check the hours for the gardens, and as we started to turn away the woman gestured for us to come in through the gate and said that while she couldn’t sell us a ticket we were welcome to step in for a few pictures before she locked up. Her kindness was so appreciated, I could have kissed her! For that I am forever grateful for my few shots of the Boboli garden, and it’s the first stop on my list for when we return to Italy again!
The first day of our Italy vacation, was one for the books… And it wasn’t even over yet! Farewell Florence!