Ah Florence. My favourite place in Italy. Despite having a raging cold (not allergies, after all) and being somewhat off my rocker due to the Thai cold medication I was taking, I absolutely loved the place for the following reasons:
– Streets that are well-organized and easy to follow. Everything generally runs in a grid pattern, streets are named (imagine that!), and tourist offices are happy to help point you in the right direction if you toddle off.
– The food! This spaghetti was so full of flavor and made me almost forget that I had a cold, and the owners of the restaurant were lovely. And the prices were a steal compared to Rome and Naples.
– Markets and shopping – little boutiques, markets, stationery shops – we could have spent a week there.
– Culture! So many museums, galleries, statues (David, anyone?), piazzas, churches etc. etc. etc. Every turn produced the same response – a lot of “oooo” and “ahhhhh” sounds.
Florence was, essentially, the Italy that I had been waiting for. Great food (truffle sandwiches, cheese platters, etc. etc.), nice chianti, friendly people, beautiful Tuscan scenery and architecture. We only had two days there, but made the most of it by just wandering side streets and getting off the beaten path. Afternoons spent sitting on curbs eating sandwiches and drinking wine, window shopping at little boutiques, marveling at fountains. Florence has restored my faith in Italy! Best of all – no Jersey Shore cast sightings, so my trip remains thankfully GTL-free.