Le nostre avventure in Italia – Parte terza

Okay, so this is the longest holiday report EVER, but here I am today with the third instalment of our trip to Italy. You can find the previous parts here: Part 1 (Parma) and Part 2 (Bologna).
So where did I get to? Oh yes, we’ve just left Bologna and are heading to Florence. 

I’d heard good things about Florence so was keen and excited to get there and experience my first taste of Tuscany. We’d booked a driver to take us from Bologna to Florence and I was SO glad we had as our hotel was slightly tricky to find in the narrow Florentine streets. We checked into our hotel, Hotel Davanzati, where we received a very warm welcome and chilled out in our room for a bit. We had booked a junior suite and it was a very nice size, with two flat screen SMART TVs with an excellent choice of films loaded on. This was great for downtime as it meant the children could kick back with Despicable Me whilst I relaxed and enjoyed my first ever viewing of Beverley Hills Cop. (How freakin’ amazing is that film!). The hotel had a perfect location, right in the centre of Florence, no need for a car and every evening had happy hour with free Prosecco and some little snacks including the lovely, spicy Davanzati sauce.

What we did in Florence…

Florence was by far the most touristy place we visited in Italy. This was no bad thing but it did mean that getting into places like the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore were near impossible unless you wanted to queue for 2 hours in the 38 degree heat.  Needless to say, with two small children we gave this a miss and just enjoyed it from the outside. Regardless of the fact that it was August and most of Italy was on shutdown, Florence was bustling and busy. 

We decided to pick just one gallery to visit as we didn’t want to bore the children too much. We decided on the Galleria dell’Accademia instead of The Uffizi mainly because it had the Statue of David and we thought whilst in Florence… In reality the rest of the gallery, whilst impressive, was quite dull. I’m not really big on art so it was probably a bit wasted on me though I was interested in reading about and seeing the results of restoration works. They don’t allow you to take photos of David sadly but he is big, if probably not quite anatomically correct. Much bigger than I had imagined. A top tip is to definitely reserve tickets in advance as you practically walk straight through the door – you pay a little extra for this but worth it as the queue stretched round the corner and down the road.

One night we took a trip out (in a limo, an actual limo, my husband was mortified, I on the otherhand enjoyed my celebrity status – everyone was staring and having photos taken…) to Piazzale Michelangelo, a pretty impressive vantage point from where you can look down over Florence and enjoy the pretty stunning sunset. There’s also a replica of David here. The area is only slightly ruined by the street traders. 

One of our favourite people watching spots was Pizza della Repubblica where there is a fabulous carousel that the children enjoyed going on. It was only €1 each so it was a nice thing to in the evening. 

Other things we enjoyed was attempting to get a photo with The Piglet in Piazza del Mercato Nuovo. Alledegely you put a coin in his mouth and have to rub his snout or something for good luck. Getting into Eton would be easier than getting a tourist-free photo of this little baby!  We liked sitting at Loggia dei Lanzi and admiring the great sculptures in this outdoor musuem and took many walks over the Ponte Vecchio, which, from afar is a great sight to behold but up close it’s nothing special, especially as it’s full of overpriced jewellery shops.  We also visited the Mercato Centrale but this was one area of Florence that most people were on holiday so this was quite disappointing as I was hoping to see lots of yummy food!

Places we ate in Florence….

As you can imagine, there are lots of amazing places to eat in Florence. In another lifetime I’d want to be sampling the top notch cuisine of Tuscany, in this one? I was happy to eat good, reasonably priced food at the end of a hot, tiring day with two young children!

La BussolaI had booked La Bussola before we left England and it was only on the off-chance that it happened to be a couple of doors down from our hotel. This was a great find and I’d definitely return if I were to go back to Florence. I had the best pizza of my life here all using Tuscan ingredients – pear, honey, walnut and pecorino. It was seriously amazing!

Festival del Gelato – This is probably far from being the best place for gelato in Florence but my children loved it in here, taken in by the disco style interior/exterior and I have to say, it had a pretty awesome range of flavours. I had a strawberry cheesecake gelato which was delicious. Until I lost it to my son.

Perche No! – I’d read lots about Perche No! so decided to hunt it down. The gelato was good but you know, I didn’t really get the fuss. It was no better than anywhere else I’d tried.

Queen Victoria – Couldn’t really get much more English sounding could you, but this place offered something we’d struggled to find in Parma and Bologna – food to go! This place did great toasted sandwiches filled with cheeses, ham etc as well as tasty pizzas. They had an eat-in section and didn’t charge extra for this but we mainly took away a bite to eat when the children needed some hotel downtime. 

The gelato shot
Next up is the final leg of our trip – a brief stop in Pisa.

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