The view of Prague from the Petřín Lookout Tower, 2010
Florence isn’t my favourite Italian city. There, I said it. But it’s undoubtedly beautiful and immensely important for world culture. After all, it’s the birthplace of Renaissance and artists such as Michelangelo created some of their best masterpieces in Florence. Having said that, it’s no wonder than many people find Florence daunting and even overwhelming because of an abundance of must- see museums and art galleries filled with so many iconic sculptures and paintings. Florence is also one of those cities where the tourists outnumber the local population in the period of April to October. So choose your time of visit wisely. I’d suggest to either visit in the early Spring or in the late Autumn. Definitely avoid the summer when it’s too hot to walk around the city. If you’re a first time visitor then definitely focus more on squares and palaces and ice-cream than on museums. Unless, you’re a real culture vulture and you simply have to see the original statue of David in Galleria dell’ Accademia. And book your museum tickets online to avoid waiting in the queue. Even if you only have a day in Florence you can manage to see all of the most important sights I listed below.
So here’s the list of 5 unmissable sights in Florence
- Ponte Vecchio
The oldest bridge in Florence (1345) is also the most beautiful one. The Americans call it the Golden Bridge because of all the high-end jewellery shops on it. It’s always crowded and you should take care of your belongings while admiring all the costly jewellery. If you cross the bridge and go left you’ll reach the Palazzo Pitti and the serene Boboli Gardens. Over the bridge is the Vasari’s Corridor which connects the new Medici palace (Medici family ruled over Florence and Tuscany for centuries) of Palazzo Pitti with the old palace of Palazzo Vecchio. The newest addition to the bridge are the so-called love padlocks. To take the best photos of the bridge you have to either go to the bridge after or before the Ponte Vecchio bridge.
- Piazza della Signoria
Once the political center of the entire region and nowadays a hotspot for locals and tourist alike this gorgeous square is also a sort of museum in the open. The dominating feature of Piazza della Signoria is the medieval town hall of Palazzo della Signoria or Palazzo Vecchio. You can enter it for free but if you want to see the upstairs rooms you have to pay for the ticket. On the right side of the palace is the world-famous museum the Uffizi and on the corner is the Loggia dei Lanzi with a number of interesting sculptures. There are many important art pieces at this square including the copy of Michelangelo’s David (the original is in the Accademia). There’s also the Neptune Fountain and the Cosimo I Medici sculpture on a horse. Occasionally there’ll be some temporary modern sculpture or installation too. You’ll probably notice a round marble plaque on the floor in front of the Neptune fountain. That plaque marks the exact spot where the infamous Girolamo Savonarola was hanged and burned after he was finally captured. He used to organize Bonfires of the Vanities in the 15th century and burn books and artworks. There’s a water tap behind the Neptune’s fountain so you can fill in your water bottle. If you fancy a cup of pricey coffee you can choose one of the two historical cafes at the square.
It was probably the hottest day of the year. 29°C on a sunny day in May. Who would have known that it could get so hot in the spring in Austria?
My mum and I took a day trip to Klagenfurt to take a break from my wedding preparations (three years ago). On the way to Klagenfurt we admired the view of the mountains and the green lush scenery. But then we reached the Karawanks Tunnel at the Austrian-Slovenian border and lost a lot of our precious time because of the road works. When we finally reached Klagenfurt I already felt exhausted but my spirits lifted when we started to walk around this pretty little town. Actually Klagenfurt is the sixth biggest town in Austria with the population of around 99 000 people and it’s the capital of the Austrian federal state of Carinthia. It’s on the lake Wörthersee and on the Glan river. According to a legend the city was founded after a couple of brave men slained the dragon like creature Lindwurm who fed on virgins. Today you can see the giant Lindwurm fountain at one of the city’s beautiful squares.
So what did we do in Klagenfurt? My mum and I just walked around and admired its many sights. The first thing we came across was the Theater built at the beginning of the 20th century by the famous theater architects Helmer & Fellner. Next to it is the Stadthaus with the flower clock which actually works. How neat! We noticed a lot of hanging flower baskets around the city. Then we saw the parish church and came to the Old Square (Alter Platz) surrounded by the houses from the 16th and 17th century. You can see the Plague Column at the square and the oldest house in Klagenfurt. It dates from 1489 and it’s got a golden goose on its façade above the entrance. Just around the corner is the Landhaus with the Renaissance façade where the Corinthian parliament holds meetings.
A fellow travel blogger whose recent posts from her latest trip to England left me green-eyed with jealousy has also published a fun little post called Alphabet travels. I thought I could do a similar post 🙂 So, I went through all my travel photos (not an easy task) to find one for the each letter of the (English) alphabet. Actually, like she did, I wanted to see whether I’ve visited cities/towns/places whose names correspond to each letter of the alphabet. For instance, I had plenty of choice for letter B since I visited Budapest and Barcelona and Bruges and Belgrade and Bologna …. But I’ve definitely not been to any place whose name begins with letter X. Maybe the alphabet should be the inspiration for my next trip? Let’s go to a place that starts with X or U 🙂
THE ABCs OF MY TRAVELS
A- Athens, Greece, 2006
B- Brussels, Belgium, 2015
C- Cambridge, England, 2008
D- Dubrovnik, Croatia, first time in 2005
E-Edinburgh, Scotland, 2011
F-Florence, Italy, first time in 2004
March. On the one hand it was probably the most boring month I’ve had lately. I mostly stayed at home and studied for the exams for my new licence. I saw the musical Mamma mia! which was fun. My hubby and I ate out a lot actually and tried out some new places. My best friend’s baby turned 1 in March! 🙂 I’m a proud auntie. On the other hand, something very exciting is going on all the time but I still can’t tell you anything about it. Maybe you’ve noticed that I haven’t posted as much as I used to. Well, there are more important things in life than blogging, sorry guys. Anyway, wish me luck with my exams this week! And I’m looking forward to all the Easter food! How was your March?
So, in case you missed them:
Published posts in March
So I’ve noticed lately these all about me / 50 facts about me posts from several of my favourite bloggers and I’ve decided to give it a try too. I don’t often write about myself and since I’ve gained a lot of new readers/ subscribers I thought it might be fun to tell you more about me. If you’re interested, read on 🙂 If not, just skip this post until my next travel post 🙂
Here are some random facts about me:
- I’m a chocoholic. I love all sorts of chocolate, cakes, and sweets. The best ever? I’d probably do a Maths test quicker than answer that question
- I love dogs and cats but I guess I’m more of a cat person because I have a cat that treats me like his servant and I like it 🙂
- My first cat’s name was Timmy. I named him after the dog from the Famous Five books. My husband named our current cat after a board game (Munchkin).
- I’m totally crazy about London. I guess you knew that 🙂 I’ve visited London 11 times!
- I still buy postcards wherever I travel.
- I keep a travel journal too but I’ve neglected it a bit since I started this blog.
- My husband introduced me to the joys of playing board games. We’ve got a substantial collection of over 60 titles.
- I love reading books. I enjoy classics, detective stories, chick-lit, children’s books, fantasy, …but I rarely read SF books.
- I can’t drive. I’ve got a driving licence but I haven’t driven in ages. I think the roads are safer if I don’t drive.
- I rarely wear make up. I just can’t be bothered unless it’s a really special occasion.
- I often get compliments about my youthful looks (hopefully that’ll continue after I hit 40, I’m now 33).
- I love swimming and spending time at the beach.
- I like wearing red. I’ve got a red skirt, a red coat, red shoes, a red shirt…
- I can’t play a single instrument yet my dad’s a professional musician.
- I did ballet when I was a kid. Actually I’ve practiced it for 7 years.
- I studied History and English language and literature.
- I’ve worked in education and tourism.
- I lived in England briefly.
- I enjoy going to the cinema.
- I love Christmas markets.
- I speak Croatian, English and some French and Italian.
- My mum speaks Hungarian but she’s never taught me a word of it.
- I can’t imagine my life without travelling.
- I enjoy baking.
- The best thing I ever did while at uni was to join AEGEE.
- I don’t remember my first trip to Venice since I was only 4 or 5.
- I always buy souvenirs.
- I still find flying exhilarating.
- When I was living in England I discovered Walker’s salt & vinegar crisps. Best ever 🙂
- I’ve never really drunk much tea until I moved to England. Now I drink it as often as I can (except in summer when it’s really too hot for tea).