Florence or as the Italians call it Firenze

An early start was required for our trip into Firenze, we were ditching the car and opting for the train so needed to be at the station in enough time to find a car park and get tickets before the train arrived.

Biting my nails all the way, as the train arrived and left at 9.15, when the timetable was 9.18. I’ve never know a train to leave early, come on I’m British, they’re always late! Fortunately we did arrive in the right place, and set off to follow the hoards of tour groups all going in the same direction.

Turning the corner and seeing the Duomo standing majestic in its very own square takes the breath away, even if it wasn’t the first time we had seen it. Even at 10am the place was heaving with tour groups and individual tourists all wanting that perfect picture of themselves in front of the Duomo.

We headed off towards the Ponte Vecchio, hoping everyone was still spending there time at the Duomo, (having seen the queues to go inside it was a definite no to standing in it for hours). Passing through the market with its displays of leather goods,

scarves and gloves among the sweatshirts to prove you’ve been to Florence, I made a mental note where to return.

Meandering off track slightly we stopped at the Palazzo Vecchio for a late breakfast and the opportunity to admire the many fabulous statues

from a sitting position

in the sun and out of the cold wind.

The bridge was equally packed, the shops displaying all their glory were ignored,

for that perfect selfie from the bridge.

Crossing to the other side of the river,

the crowds thinned out and it was much more comfortable to walk around the Palazzo Pitta, wandering further, following my nose again, and yep, we found a market round the square. Not too exciting but a market nonetheless.

Recrossing the river by the next bridge

we walked along the river, past the Ponte Vecchio and found ourselves at the Accademia di Georgofili,

beautiful building with intricate lifelike statues lining the porticoes, and a wedding party party pushing the tourists out of the way for their perfect shots!

Finding ourselves back in Palazzo Vechio and watching the snaking queues for entry to the Uffizi Gallery we were quite happy to just enjoy the buildings from the outsides. Heading out of the square we passed the Ospedale di Santa Maria Nuova,

hard to distinguish it as a hospital from the many other buildings especially with such wonderful artwork on its walls. Quite amazing that it started as a hospital in 1288.

Wandering further and continuing to admire the streets and buildings,

each street giving sneaking views of the Duomo at the end of them,

of course, the time had come.. food! Whilst we had initially intended to eat at the camp restaurant in the evening, finding little stimulation from the many cafes and restaurants for something small, we ended up at the restaurant behind the market which we had eaten at last time we were in Florence, and had a delightful meal watching the world go by.

After walking a little more it was time to drag our tiring legs back to the station, passing the Duomo once more, now sparkling stunningly in the bright sunshine.

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