Pisa Central station is the most deserted station that I have seen in my life. It was 7pm and other than Gail, me and a homeless man, there was not a single soul to be seen anywhere. Pisa is a small town that becomes quite deserted after sunset and the station was no exception. Our Trenitalia train to Florence was delayed by 20 minutes, so we had to wait at the empty station for close to an hour. When the train arrived we found it was equally empty. Other than the two of us there was nobody on our couch during the 40 minutes ride from Pisa to Florence.
However, Florence or Firenze station was crowded even though it was quite late in the night by European standards. We got out of the station and took a bus to reach our Hotel. It was drizzling and the roads were quite empty. Italians are extremely helpful people and thus with help from passersby, we managed to find our hotel without any difficulty.
Florence is a small city and extremely walkable. As I went during winter, there were fewer tourists and walking became an extremely pleasurable thing. Honestly, it was a delight to walk on the streets of Florence. Not even once did we feel unsafe here.
There are numerous museums, art galleries, and cathedrals in Florence. It would take almost half a day to finish each one of them. We were told that the serpentine queue in front of museums and art galleries are usually so long that one may have to wait for hours to get inside. I had read blogs and watched YouTube videos that said the same. However, let me tell you I had to wait not more than 30 seconds to enter them. Either, I was plain lucky or else it was the ‘off-season‘ that did the trick.
Accademia Gallery: The most popular gallery in Florence is the Accademia Gallery. In this gallery, Michaelangelo’s David is kept. As there was no queue in front of this gallery we thought we had come to the wrong gallery and were almost going away. The security guard then confirmed that it was indeed the Accademia.
David is honestly a sculpture to behold. I stood there mesmerized and awestruck. The intricacy of this statue is such that you are bound to stand there gaping at this naked man.
Apart from David, there are other artworks also. However, the most interesting section of this gallery is the music museum. Here, musical instruments from the medieval era are showcased and it is undoubtedly a must-see section.
Al Duomo: Every Italian city is adorned with a Duomo, Florence is no exception. The Al Duomo of Florence is in the center of the city. From the top of the Al Duomo, a beautiful view of Florence can be seen. The Duomo is visible from numerous parts of the city. It is undoubtedly the most iconic building in Florence.
Ponte Vecchio: Bridge is known as Ponte in Italian. I absolutely loved this bridge. It is a small stone bridge on top of the Arno river. The bridge is full of shops. The shops look very nondescript but all the shops are of big designer labels like Rolex, Gucci, Dior, etc. In medieval times these shops belonged to jewelers.
Piazza de Michelangelo is undoubtedly my favorite place in Florence. Ideally, it is advisable to climb up, however, we took a bus to reach the top. The best time to visit this place is during sunrise or sunset. There is a replica of David here as well. The panoramic view of Florence from this place is mesmerizing.
Leonardo de Vinci Museum is a great place to visit, especially for the kids. My son is fond of Leonardo de Vinci and keeps watching about his inventions on Youtube. I was traveling solo and exclusively visited this place for my son. I actually did a Skype call with him from the museum. I hope during my next visit, I would be able to take him along with me. This museum showcases the replicas of all Vinci’s inventions. This is one place I would advise not to miss out.
Piazza del Vecchio: I hurriedly passed through this place at night, on my way to catch a train to Rome. I couldn’t spend a lot of time here and honestly, this was an injustice to this beautiful structure. I should have spent more time to admire this architecture.
Apart from all these places, there are numerous other places to visit. Just walking around will help one explore amazing places in this quaint city. We did not have much time to explore, however, whatever time we got we used it to the fullest and came across so many beautiful buildings, bridges, cathedrals, lanes, and statues.