Spring in Tuscany and Florence – Seeing the Main Sites of Florence & Ending the Day with a Tuscan Wine Tasting
There are some places in Europe that are truly awe-inspiring with its history and beauty. Okay, there are a lot of places in Europe like that 😉
In May, after leaving Rome, we traveled to Florence, Italy as part of an excursion with our cruise. Our cruise ship docked in the port city of Livorno, Italy where we boarded our tour bus for the hour drive to the city of Florence.
Livorno being a port city, it is a working class area fully dedicated to shipping. As we began to leave Livorno, the landscape began to change as the buildings were replaced by farmlands and rolling hills.
As we entered the Florence area, the traffic started to build again as we passed through the more modern part of the city, headed to the historic old, center town. Crossing through a hillside park, the view of the Duomo Cathedral of Saint Mary came into view along with the red, clay roof tops of the old part of Florence.
We parked and then walked to the plaza where the Santa Croce Church is located. From here, we had three hours to tour the city. I went to explore the area and take pictures, while my wife and her Mom went on a shopping spree.
After leaving the Santa Croce area, I made my way to the Arnot River, which flows through the center of Florence. My specific destination was to see the Vecchio Bridge, which is the oldest bridge in Florence. What’s cool about an old bridge? It was built with shopping stalls along the walkway and above it were passageways where the Royal Family would cross from their palace to the center of town for business. The facade of the shopping structures are still present with their colors and architecture adding the beauty of the city.
From the Vecchio Bridge, I made my way to the Palazzo Vecchio, which is now the location of the Town Hall Building. But, the famous part about this area is all of the 15th to 18th Century statues surrounding the Palazzo, including the most famous statue in the world, Michelangelo’s Statue of David.
Granted, the Statue of David that is here is a replica, but it is still impressive to see nonetheless. For the original statue, you have to go to the Academia Museum nearby, and unfortunately time did not allow for me to go inside to see the real one….but, it sounds like a great reason to return to Florence.
After seeing the statues, I made my way to the most iconic structure in Florence, in a city full of icons….the Duomo Cathedral of Saint Mary. This is a very large church set inside of the center of Florence and all its buildings.
Not only is this Cathedral an impressive structure, but is like its very own marble statue with its marble facade and the artwork. Even on this cloudy, drizzly day, the colors in the facade really stood out, and is so amazing to see.
TRAVEL TIP: If you want to see the real Statue of David, to see the inside of the Duomo, to see the inside of Santa Croce Church, then you will need to plan to spend at least one night in Florence. If you only have a few hours in Florence, then pick one site to go into to see, or you can do as I did and walk around to see the above places.
After leaving Florence, we then drove about 30 minutes into the Tuscan countryside to visit one of the largest castles in Italy, the Castello del Trebbio. The castle has now been converted into a bed & breakfast and winery. After touring the castle and seeing how they made their Chianti wine and their own olive oils, we went to their restaurant for a fabulous wine tasting event.