The last weekend of my two-week vacation was really special, because the trip was a birthday present from the ‘rents. Since lil’ sis Libby and I both have birthdays in February, they gifted us with a reunion in Florence, Italy! I flew from Paris, and Libby flew from Philadelphia. We spent the weekend together in Florence, and when I came back to Lille, she went on to England to see our family friends Donna and Ben and their two kids, Daisy and Alfie.
I had never been to Florence before. My parents had been over the summer, and loved it.* Sarah had also been, and had nothing but great things to say about it, so I was pretty excited. Libby and I met at the train station at the Rome airport, and started our adventure from there.
We got to Florence in the afternoon, and went to our hotel (THANKS MOM) to unpack and rest up a bit. Libby was absolutely exhausted, so while she napped, I did some initial walking around. I mostly just explored the market, which is huge and very conveniently is open every day of the week. Hooray for shopping! Once Libby was feeling a little more alive, we ventured out for dinner. We really had no idea where we were going, but ended up at a restaurant with an extremely friendly waitstaff and even more extremely delicious food. Honestly, some of the best food I’ve had. Ever. Libby and I had both resolved to try anything and everything that sounded appetizing, so for our first night’s meal we had pizza and pasta, followed by gelato. But let’s not get too hasty here, I’m not done talking about dinner! Mostly, I just want to share as many pictures of it as I can, because OH MY GOD IT WAS SO GOOD.
The next day, we decided to do some serious walking. We had heard that Florence was a small city, and they sure as heck were not lying. I swear the map was bigger than the city! Things that were across the map from each other turned out to be no more than a 5 or 10 minute walk away in real life, which was great for two lazy bums such as ourselves. We checked out Ponte Vecchio, which is known for its jewelry stores and breathtaking river views.
As you can see, the weather was quite inviting…so we decided to defy our lazy ways and walk around some more! We were told that we absolutely had to see the Duomo and the museum where the statue David was held, and so we did! The line to go up to the top of the Duomo was ridiculously long, so we decided to skip that and went inside the cathedral instead. I don’t have any regrets about skipping that part yet, but maybe when I’m on my death bed it’ll come back to haunt me. The architecture of the Duomo and the cathedral is breathtaking. It’s really unique and I wish I knew the name of it! I blended right in with all the other tourists, though, who were taking thousands of pictures. I fit right in!
And now, back to the food. That night, we ventured to a restaurant called Trattoria Marione that had been recommended to us by the taxi driver who took us to our hotel. He said we would know it was good because the locals ate there, and there was always a wait to get in. Trying to embrace the Italian lifestyle, we arrived somewhere between 9 and 9:30, thinking we would be among the last patrons to be let in before the kitchen closed. Wrong. We put our name on a long list, and waited outside with about 15 other people, and we were nowhere near the last people on the list. It was bizarre eating out that late, but our taxi driver was right – definitely worth the wait! We got to taste some delicious food, delicious red wine, and since the restaurant was fairly small, we also got to know our neighbors.
The next day was devoted to seeing David. We of course started out at the wrong museum, but felt bad so we did a quick walk-through, got lunch, and then set out to see the real thing. Surprisingly enough, there wasn’t a line to get into the museum and it was fairly easy to navigate once we were in there. The only downside was that no photos were allowed, but we sleuthily got around that rule. And let me say, the statue really is worth seeing. It is amazing!!!
Florence is a great city – despite it being so small, it’s a popular destination for American students studying abroad, so it was full of students our age, both Italian and American. In fact, Libby knew someone from her school who was spending her Spring Break visiting a friend studying abroad in Florence, and we ran into her not once, but twice. It literally is that small. Also, since it’s known for having so many foreign students, most people assumed we were two friends studying there. We’ve encountered this before, but it’s been a while since the last time this happened – when we told people we were sisters, they thought we were joking. They literally didn’t believe us. Granted, we look nothing alike, but there’s got to be at least something that lets people know we share DNA!!!
Even though people didn’t believe us when we said we were sisters, it nonetheless was great seeing my baby sis and having some quality bonding time with her. Florence was fabulous and I can’t wait to go back!!!
*Funny story: my parents took a trip to Italy last summer, right after I graduated from college. They told me that I would need to come home fairly soon after my graduation to watch Woody, our dog. Naturally, I thought my parents were planning to surprise me by taking me to Italy with them. My dad has surprised me like this before, and usually I fall for it, but I knew that this time was different. I was on to them. So I played along, came home right after graduation, and whaddayaknow, they in fact had not planned to surprise me. They really did need me to take care of Woody. Womp womp. Being the amazing daughter that I am, I let them enjoy their trip and didn’t tell them about this until they got home.