I really don't even know where to begin with this post. There are so, so, so many words and thoughts going through my mind. Not to mention the PHOTOS. Oh, the photos. I took a ridiculous amount of photos.
Let me just start by saying this.
I LOVED IT.
I fell in love with Florence. I didn't want to come home and I thought Jimmy was going to have to carry me away kicking and screaming. Oh, how I loved it.
We had so many wonderful experiences and saw so many beautiful things.
I wanted to use this post to deposit and record my memories...but also as a resource for families traveling to Florence with small children.
I wasn't sure how the girls would do, but let me tell you. Florence is WONDERFUL for children.
We spent 4 1/2 days and 5 nights in Florence (we rented an apartment through Airbnb) and found that it was the perfect amount.
I did a fair amount of reading and research before we left. Most of it was from Rick Steves.
Here are some of our favorite things we did, saw, ate, and drank.
1. We toured the Uffizi (4 little girls making it all the way through was a major accomplishment!):
We did this nice and early (9 am) on our first day. Make reservations in advance.
We talked to the girls in advance about what they were going to see and how lucky they were to see it.
We told them our expectations and that there would be no misbehaving or whining. Oh, and we bribed with gelato. Of course.
Fun activity: Telling the girls to look for a baby in each painting. Not hard to do in Renaissance art and it kept them busy and on a mission.
2. We went to the Accademia. Seeing David brought me to tears. I still can't believe that something that magnificent came from a big hunk of marble.
I had no idea the sculpture was going to be so big. NO idea. I walked around the corner and I'm pretty sure my mouth dropped right open.And Sadie? Didn't even say a single inappropriate word. I totally thought she would.
3.We walked around and up to the top of the Duomo. We toured the inside/museum first and then went up.
I thought I was going to die. Jimmy? Carried both twins. Hmmph.
It was a serious workout. And people looked at us like we were nuts for doing it with four children. But it CAN be done. Be prepared. The stairways are narrow and twisting.
The view made it all worthwhile. A photo can not do this justice. The portions showing hell were terrifying. And the parts showing heaven were breathtaking and tear inducing.
Some photos of the outside (I think this is what I took the most photos of the entire trip!).
Tip: There is a Lindt store on the back side of the cathedral. They sell hot chocolate that is literally melted chocolate in a cup. You have to eat it with a spoon. Great reward for the little ones after making it through the Duomo adventure.
4. We admired the bronze doors on the Baptistery. Just gorgeous.
5. We spent lots of time in Piazza della Repubblica. The girls rode the merry go round and we listened to street musicians. Warning: The gypsies and street vendors are SUPER agressive and relentless here. Be prepared. :)
6. We hiked up to Piazzale Michelangelo and drank in the view.
Tip: There is a gelateria very close to the steps up to the Piazzale. This was a great diversion as we climbed the stairs.
7. We crossed the Ponte Vecchio. It was spine tingling to stand on the bridge and look out over Florence...while imagining it being destroyed around us while the bridge stood. What history that bridge has.
Tip: Rub the pig's nose for good luck.
Tip 2: There is some amazing street art around this area. Make sure to take the time to stop and appreciate it.
9. We spent lots of time admiring the statues (and the horses- lots of horse drawn carriages!) in Piazza della Signoria.
Perseus and Medusa definitely got the most interesting responses from the girls. HA!
10. We toured the Medici chapel and the neighboring open air market.
Tip: Have your kids try to spot the Medici Coat of Arms all over Florence. It is EVERYWHERE.
11. We ate. Oh did we eat. And drink. And we napped every day. Riposo for all!
Our favorite dinner was definitely at Zaza.
We had a delicious little restaurant down a few doors from the apartment we were staying in. We ate there twice and the girls waived at their friend every single time we walked by (10 times a day). The sweetest. Each time we ate there he would play tic tac toe with Harper.
We also had lunch at Yellow Bar one day and it was dellllicious. Highly recommend.
Yikes. Seriously long post. I am passionate about this place and so glad it's only 3 hours away. We are already planning to return MANY times over the next few years.
I actually took the most photos of 2 things. Christmas lights and store windows. I think I'll share those in another post.