Renaissance Florence

Florence

The nice thing about going on holiday together with my parents-in-law was that hubby and I could have our twosome day out especially to a busy city like Florence which would have been miserable to our little girl who has no interest yet in history.

A very busy city which was a far departure from the tranquil countryside that we’ve gotten so used to, we opted to take it easy as the sweltering heat of 40°C was not that pleasant for a very thorough sightseeing. Our exploration of the city started with an unplanned side trip to a market where I found an accessible toilet. We lingered a bit at the market as I was fascinated by the many things that can be found there. It was a pretty interesting exploration as the Italian just like the Spanish and Philippine markets also sell stuffs which can be very offensive to the Dutch sensibility – cow’s stomach lining (oftentimes used for dishes like callos), tongue (lengua stofado), intestine (“dinuguan” or bloody Mary), etc. There were also nice stuffs like those huge Italian cheeses, sausages, wines, pasta, dried mushrooms, and much more.

Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance has always fascinated me since high school when I had my world history subject. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever thought that one day I would be here. I would have loved to go inside the Duomo, visit the museums and really take my time to explore the city but the sweltering heat was just too much. Florence would be perfect for a pure city trip another time.

On the drive to Florence, I already told the hubby that I wanted to eat the famous “bistecca ala Florentina” which is a T-bone steak and is known to be the best in the country. Good choice but it was a huge piece of about half a kilo which he and I eventually shared. The resto where we had lunch was just in front of the Piazza de la Signorina so there was a bit of “highway robbery” for unsuspecting tourists like us.

At the very start, hubby was served a huge glass of about half a liter beer and looking at the other diners, I cannot help but wonder why every one was getting huge servings of drinks. Even children were getting big colas of half liters. Later it turned out that the beer cost almost €10, cappuccino at €5.80, etc….Well, a simple lunch for 2 can easily cost €100 if one is not conscious of the prices and why the servings are on the big/max side. Anyway, dessert was perfect – chocolate cake with layers of dark chocolates in between that melt in the mouth.

By the time that we were done with lunch, the sky has already darkened and there was the threatening downpour. We decided to just have a bit of a walk towards the Arno river which is a special feature of Florence. I’ve been charmed by the postcards and pictures I’ve seen of Florence with its enchanting bridges. Too bad that we could not linger a bit longer as we had to be back for the pizza party at Diacceroni at 5pm. It must be so enchanting to see Florence at sunset and at night time when the city basked in the evening lights. Another time, another season…then I’ll also explore the Duomo, the museums, the Medici villas and gardens.

Time to head back to the garage where we parked the car. Car parking was quite pricey at €5 an hour. It was valet parking so we have to leave the key with the garage owner. Again, something new and uncommon for us.

I loved the drive back to Pelagaccio. Who won’t be charmed by the beckoning sunflower fields?

Dried mushrooms — just soak it in cold water for 20 minutes and then it is a perfect meat replacement for pasta dishes

Dried sausages or “salamis”

Italian cheeses

Italian wines and spirits

Beef tripes used for stew dishes like “callos”

Leather bags everywhere

Busy open market scene

One of the many stalls for Italian souvenirs

Italian artworks

Medici Chapel

The Duomo behind me

The Duomo

The Mr. and me with the Duomo and Baptistry of St. John behind

A stall selling postcards and other souvenirs outside the Duomo

The Duomo which showcases intricate Gothic style was begun in 1296 and completed structurally in 1436. Amazing to see how it has stood the test of time to this day.

Horse-drawn carriages at the Piazza del Duomo

Piazza della Signorina and Palazzo Vecchio

Piazza della Signorina and Palazzo Vecchio

A replica of Michaelangelo’s David

Every tourist wants to touch this beast but I did not feel like queuing for it.

bruschetta al pomodoro — after having this in Florence, it became our staple at Pelagaccio.
Easy to make: For the bread, just slice leftover bread to about 2 cm. of thickness, sprinkle it generously with extra virgin olive oil then fry in a flat-bellied pan until brown and crispy. For the toppings, chop the tomatoes coarsely then season it with salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil and finely chopped parsley.

Bistecca a la Florentina

Chef’s salad consisting of tomatoes, mozarella, ham and olives. Pretty bland actually. I prefer the caprese salad.

The cappuccino that can almost break the bank at Eur 5.80

Melts in the mount chocolate cake

Intricate interior of a building at the Piazza

Terrace restaurants in Florence

Arno river running through Florence

Me with Ponte Vecchio (old bridge) behind. This bridge was built in 1345 and was Florence’s first bridge across the Arno River and is the only surviving bridge from medieval days.

Love locks

`The Mr. and Arno River

Me and the Arno River

Curious of what are housed on the covered Ponte Vecchio, it is lined with shops selling gold and silver jewelry.

The Mr. and me at Ponte Vecchio

Florence

Roadside scenery on the way back to our agriturismo – sunflower fields and quaint Italian farm houses

About Malou
I'm a mom to a five-year old little girl with interest in cooking, baking, traveling and photography. Castles and palaces are special favorites so when weather permits for a good walk on weekends, me, hubby and little girl are always out for a bit of adventure.

76 Responses to Renaissance Florence

  1. RichardB1001 says:

    Very nice picture and interesting and informative commentary.

  2. Another great one Malu !

  3. stop it – want to go now!

  4. viveka says:

    Stunning photos again, but you always deliver – Florence has been on my bucket list for a couple of years, more money then time are missing to do everything. Madrid and Florence has been up there for a god while. Now after seeing this it feels even more urgent, but Amsterdam and tulips first and I love handbags. Reason good enough. Bought a handbag in Rome at “Via Vento” – still have it and love it.

  5. I love Florence my wife and I fell in love there. We continually go back feeling embraced by the city we love.

  6. newsferret says:

    I miss the variety of salami and the mushrooms.

  7. Lovely verbal tour and beautiful pictures…thank you!

  8. Wonderful pictures and commentary, we love Firenze! Next time you should go in the off season. November is a perfect time of the year. See my posting about Our Italian Thanksgiving at:

    http://theliteratechef.com/2011/05/12/our-italian-thanksgiving/

  9. RDoug says:

    Thanks for the memories of Firenze. I absolutely LOVE that place. Wonderful shots, as always.

  10. Michael Zoll says:

    Eine sehr schöne und teils kulinarische Bebilderung!

    Liebe Grüße aus Berlin,

    Michael

  11. Lotus Mama says:

    Loved Florence when I was there several years back. One of my favorite places! Thanks for sharing your time there!

  12. John says:

    Always wonderful photography. Some of the food is also offensive to the American sensibility! The Duomo is in fantastic condition, hope I look that good at 600 years old… hehe. Thank you so much for a peek into your holiday and the beautiful cities in Europe which this Yank will likely never see. :)

  13. aedpad says:

    Great pics and thanks for showing Florence. My daughter is going to Florence this summer and will spend 5 weeks there so she was keenly interested in seeing your pics!

  14. twisterfish says:

    The food… the landscapes… the purses! Hoping to make it there in the next few years.

  15. Your photos, as usual, are lovely and now I think when I go to Italy, I want to wander the countryside and little towns rather than hang out in the cities even with all their fabulous history.

  16. Great market photos. Stopping at the local market is one of my favorite things to do while travelling.

  17. Love Florence…looks like a divine holiday!

  18. sillyliss says:

    I love looking at these. I have never been to Europe and I am not sure if I will ever get there. I feel like I really got a good peek at Florence through your camera lens. So many fascinating pictures. The love locks, the medieval bridge, the foods. Thank you for sharing this!

  19. avian101 says:

    Seems like you had a grand vacation in Florence, Malou. Also you have great pictures and interesting descriptions. Thank you for sharing! :)

  20. cross(stitch)yourheart says:

    Sounds like a wonderful trip. I’ve always loved Florence. And all that food looks delicious!

  21. jelillie says:

    What beautiful pictures. I especially liked the pictures of the Arno and the Duomo!

  22. Florence is so lovely. We have a lot of the same pictures. When my daughter studied there, she had a wonderful apartment at the end of the Ponte Vecchio, right across the Boboli Gardens. And that was a beautiful place to stroll through. A the top of the gardens you had a perfect view of the entire city.

  23. vairarenbeth says:

    A lot of the “grab and go” shops offer pizzas, calzones and pannini that are reasonable and really delicious.

    Love the pictures! Florence is one of my favorites…

  24. GBgifts says:

    so glad to see you and your family enjoy the traveling. I always love the pictures of yours about flowers and nature. and you have some very good, impressive angle, on towns and buildings. I really enjoy your pictures. Thank you!

  25. Always wanted to go to Florence, but never have had the opportunity. Your post makes me want to visit the city more than ever

  26. One of my favorite cities. Thanks for bringing back wonderful memories.

  27. Florence is so beautiful and I have very happy memories of a visit there years ago. It looks like you had an amazing dya, but the rip off restaurants leave a bad taste in your mouth. Such a shame.

  28. I love Florence, and really enjoyed looking at your photos.

  29. Sammie says:

    I just went to MIlano and for a second I thought that the Duomo was the one in Milan that I visited! haha.. Beautiful pictures!! Would love to make a trip there in the future!! :)

  30. Absolutely amazing!!!!!!
    Beautiful!

    (except… that wasn’t a baby pig with the salamis was it?nonono.)

    People eat horrible stuff like that in England too: I remember stomach lining (with vinegar); also some eat sheep brains ….. no, let’s stick with that delicious chocolate gateau.
    Love locks!!!
    Did you?

  31. dorannrule says:

    What a beautiful city that is! I was there once and was awed by all the art and history. Your pictures definitely do it justice!

  32. edebock says:

    Fabulous architecture, gorgeous bags and chocolate cake that makes my mouth water! Wonderful!

  33. sucheta says:

    I just like your photos..excellent.

  34. As always, lush and gorgeous photos Malou! :-D

  35. marina says:

    Great shots. I took several of the same views [the padlocks, ponte vecchio, santa maria del fiore, etc]. Here is one: http://nprimopiano.wordpress.com/2011/01/02/ponte-vecchio-florence/

  36. putneyfarm says:

    Looks like heaven. I like the love locks…bistecca looks pretty good, too…

  37. janinevasta says:

    Impossible not to love Florence. No matter how many times you go. No matter the tourists…. It’s my perfect city. Looks like you saw it from every angle Malou!

  38. Brigitte says:

    Yummy, beautiful, yummy. :).

  39. LA Edwards says:

    Brought back so many memories to when I was there with my hubbie. Thanks for sharing!

  40. pierrmorgan says:

    So beauutiful! My last visit was in 1968. Beautiful photos, Malou…just like being there again. Gracia tante!

  41. What a wonderful trip! Thanks for sharing. And I like how you told your husband what your eating goals were :-)

  42. Janie Bill says:

    Fabulous photos. I love how your journey, i.e., travel time, was such a great part of your trip.

  43. Jean says:

    Great photos. I’m sure memorable. Unfortunately when I was in Florence for 1 day (it was a group tour for 8 countries…), I had an allergic reaction to mosquito bite. So time wasted finding a pharmacy and getting our tour guide to interpret. But I did see the David, missed out on the galleries, etc.

  44. Awww you two looked like you had soo much fun! Very cute pictures :) Those building pictures are so beautiful they look fake! HAHA!

  45. this looks fantastic!!! i love it! we just got to budapest two days ago, our first time in Europe, and we really can’t believe how amazing it is! the buildings, the feel and the history all combine to make something so magical and this reminds me of that!

  46. This is so fun and comprehensive.Thanks.

  47. redeyefamily says:

    I totally agree that traveling with the in-laws can be a great way to have a mini-vacation with the hubby.

  48. kentiki says:

    If I had to go to only one place in Italy, it would be Florience. It has always fascinated me, too. Thanks for bringing a “real” view of it to me.

  49. Shousie says:

    the photos are pretty and the food looks good!

  50. Barbara Backer-Gray says:

    Love the photos. Such a variety. It really gives an impression of everything you saw.

  51. Magnificent ~ I can’t get enough! Thank you ~Deborah

  52. Thank you for following my blog, loved your blog as my sister lived in Holland for 6 years I understand many of the issues you are talking about. Loved the photos too.

  53. Jane says:

    I love the sunflower fields! You look great! Looks like a fun time!

  54. EllaDee says:

    Thank you for the virtual tour – excellent narrative & photos. So many good things to browse & eat. The “love locks” are intriguing. I’ve never seen it before.

  55. Thanks – you brought back some wonderful memories!

  56. clinock says:

    Thank you for sharing your great photos of Firenze, one of my favorite cities. I used to visit Italy often, taking schoolkids on art history tours and also on my own to study art. I hope you get a chance to go again and spend more time, there are ways to see Italy beyond the expensive ‘tourist’ treadmill…Thank you for your visits to art rat cafe…

  57. chrisstov says:

    Great first picture of the bridge and river. I was also impressed by all that red wine in the baskets. Thank you for giving us all such lovely pictures of Florence.

  58. Thanks for the insider’s tour of Florence. I didn’t even have to purchase a ticket to travel along with you. Really appreciate all the tips on the markets and pricing, wonderful photos.

  59. Lovely pictures. What memories they bring back. Florence is one of my favourite cities. I’m curious to know what your daughter thought of it.

  60. Layta says:

    I absolutely loved the “love locks” pic. Thank you for sharing all about your visit. i really wish to go to Italy some day!

  61. debbrunson says:

    These are all so beautiful! The food pics especially take me back to lingering in a Florence Market ALL day long :) So glad you were able to visit, even if it was short.

  62. Dave says:

    What a wonderful trip. But 40 C??? Ouch!

  63. Looks like a very beautiful place. Great pictures!

  64. Great photos! I loved Florence. Such history and art and architecture. There’s so much culture there. I had one of the best pasta meals ever there!

  65. If that David was on public display here in America, some conservative Republican would put clothes on it.

  66. orples says:

    I am so impressed by your well though out posts. Italy has become a bucket-list place to go, for me. It is breathtaking! :)

  67. Years since we’ve been and your post brought back the wonderful memories!
    Thank you ;)

  68. What a wonderful post! I really enjoyed your photo blogging with your commentary.

  69. Great pictures. Florence is wonderful and full of treasures. Isn’ t it wonderful to be able to live some dreams true. I’ve visited it many times and spent to weeks there studying the language and art history.

  70. Amy says:

    Great story of your trip to Florence! The Duomo is so majestic, the bridge is beautiful, and the food… Love to see the city all over again!

  71. coincidence…we were in florence at the same time as you ( may 25 – 28 -) ! wonderful photos. it is one of my favorite cities. we stayed just south of florence near impruneta – beautiful part of the world!

  72. My parents honeymooned here, I interrailed here, lived here for 6 months, my husband proposed here and our first child was conceived here!!!!! My favourite place in the whole world!!!!!!!

    Love your post…sorry about the price tags you endured…you need to venture away from the central places to get good deals! The best Bistecca can be found at Trattoria Mario – by San Lorenzo square (should you ever return)…

    Great post…

  73. DG MARYOGA says:

    Magnificent post and photo series in every sense Malou !!! Great architectural and art images of this beautiful and charming city.It’s really nice that you even included the love locks !
    Stay well
    Doda

  74. Melissa says:

    Oh how I wish I could have had the chance to see the Duomo! And Florence too! These are lovely pictures. I’m currently blogging about my trip to Venice this past summer and your decadent dessert photos have prompted me to dedicate a good, full post to all the goodies we saw on our trip :) Wishing I could be traveling right now….

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