Firenze, Italy

Florence is obviously best known as the birthplace of the Renaissance and home to work of Brunelleschi, Giotto, Botticelli, and of course, Michelangelo (some of our art world superstars). Therefore, it’s clear that it’s like a dream come true for anyone who is into art history. It is very well known though, so during the day (say between 10:30am and 4:30pm) the main tourists sties are packed with tour groups. The best time to see the sites is either really early in the morning or late in the afternoon. They won’t let you go inside past 5pm, but many of the sculptures and churches are just as beautiful from the outside. As with Rome, we had pre-paid tickets to see Michelangelo’s “David,” which saved us a bit of the hassle of dealing with long lines and elbowing tourists.

We decided to climb to the top of the Florence Cathedral and it was actually way cooler than expected. Its famous terra-cotta-tiled dome engineered by Brunelleschi and bell tower designed by Giotto are beautiful and highly worth checking out. With only one way up and one way down, it can be pretty claustrophobic to climb inside the small passageways that go up the curved dome tough. We also decided to climb the much-less-claustrophobic bell tower for the great views of the dome itself (oh the pictures!). Another fantastic panoramic view of Florence is from the Piazzale Michelangelo although the afternoon didn’t provide us with the best lighting for pictures. 

The nightlife here calls for cozy bars with dim light and servers with thick rimmed glasses covered in tattoos. There are also many youngsters drinking outside in the piazzas (yes, it’s legal). La chiesa di Sant'Ambrogio, for instance, is a well-known hangout spot. I just can’t help but say it, I love Tuscany!