duomo-1295The Duomo, or Florence Cathedral (Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore), was built in 1296 with a Gothic style set to mimic another popular cathedral of the time.  The actual construction of all components of the complex took roughly 140 years to complete, but the actual external facade of the building wasn’t completed for 600 years.


Leaving the apartment at 6:20am, it was clearly evident that the majority of the people still on the streets were out from the night before.  Definitely couldn’t imagine the guy drinking a Peroni at 6am had just woken up.

After getting to Roma Termini in less than 20 minutes, we realized we miscalculated a little bit for our 7:25am train.  Better safe than sorry.  We wandered around a little bit, then boarded our train.  The hour and a half train was going to be a great way to see the countryside heading north.  I personally have never traveled on a train further than 20ish minutes, so this was a new experience for me.  We took the fast train, so we were moving at around 175 MPH – which caused a weird sensation of my ears constantly popping.  Not the most comfortable thing.

cafe-1268 Cafe

Once we arrived in Florence, we walked towards the Duomo, not really knowing what to do yet as it was a little before 9am.  We found a small Cafe and had some breakfast (aka a really sugary but delicious croissant).  We decided now was a good time to go to the Accademia museum as there were no lines.  This is one of the famous museums of Florence, and it has the famous Michelangelo statue of David (aka the cover of many Italian books).  Pretty cool to see all of paintings, because the museum curators put pictures of the restoration of each painting along with a description.

After we left Accademia, we walked over to the Duomo – also known as the Florence Cathedral.  The Chapel itself is HUGE.  After we walked back to our hostel to drop off our bags, we met up with Timur’s girlfriend/friends.  We went to an amazing panini place followed by some gelato.  Realizing that we had to keep walking to make up for the food we just ate, we continued the tour around the city and walked up to Piazzale Michelangelo.  This is the location where many pictures of Florence are taken.  It was a pretty solid hike up a hill/stairs, but it was definitely worth it.   We were then taken around to a few different Piazzas and some leather shops.  It’s actually surprising (coming from Rome) seeing how small Florence really is.   It’s also a town that has far more english everywhere (and hundreds of tours of Asian people….)


For dinner we went to a pretty good aperitivo place called Slowly.  They were playing Finding Nemo on a TV there which I thought was a little ironic considering my hometown got a few inches of snow from Nemo.   The night/streets was also far busier feeling compared to Rome.  Part of that might be size and places we went, but it was a good time.

When we finally headed back to our Hostel, we weren’t the most excited about it.  After checking in earlier, we realized the corner of the room had a nice patch of black mold in it…. Gross.  If you’re ever in Florence, don’t go to the Sampaoli Hostel.. The woman at the desk ‘tried’ to help solve the issue, but that resulted in a discount of 1.50 euro per person.  She initially said she’d refund completely so we could go elsewhere, so we decided about 30 minutes later that we’d do that.  But the woman ‘rushed’ out about an hour before she was supposed to leave, and when we called the manager, she said we couldn’t get that refund.  More to come in tomorrow’s post….

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