Let´s start with a question:
Who loves the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun” just as much as I do? 🙂
As mentioned in my post about my awesome days in Rome, it wasn´t my first time in Florence. I´ve visited the city a couple of years ago, but only for a few hours, so I thought why not coming back?
Siena – small, but amazing!
But first I stayed for one night in wonderful Siena. After Rome, which really blew me away, but of course also appears with the typical hectic big city flair, Siena is so relaxing. In the town center only limited traffic is allowed, so it actually feels like there are only pedestrians. The small streets are so adorable and really romantic. Like a scene in a movie, the Piazza del Campo is a place where people sit relaxed on the floor and enjoy their time. But at night the party seemed about to be going on. I´ve had been already in my room as I heard drums and loud chants shortly before midnight, almost as if a big group of people is just passing by. Of course I was quite curious, but honestly, I was too lazy to change in clothing which would have been appropriate in public. The next morning, I´ve met Steve from the US, who is in Siena to learn Italian. He told me that this little concert is on every (!) night.
Every year on July 2nd and August 16th a horse race, the Palio, takes place in Siena. One of the town´s highlights. Ten of the 17 different neighborhoods compete against each other, the seven who aren´t allowed to take part in a year, definitely are set for the following one. The race is held around the Piazza del Campo. The Contrada (the district), which has won this year’s July race wasn´t successful in 27 years; accordingly, the enthusiasm is great. And the Italians seem to know how to celebrate – every night. Respect!
I totally can recommend my accommodation in Siena, B & B I Terzi Di Siena. Very clean and spacious, the view from the balcony is unbeatable and you get to the Piazza del Campo within one minute.
The next day I went to Florence by train. My first thought upon arrival: Hot. It is so hot. Somehow I did it actually manage to get sunburned within ten minutes while walking to my accommodation. Is that even possible? Apparently it is. Although I was strolling around a bit in the afternoon; I saved my big explorer tour for the next day.
My first planned stop in the morning was Piazzale Michelangelo. Ffrom my first visit to Florence I had a blurred memory about stairs, lots of stairs. But that it actually would be so steep, I couldn´t remember. Wasn´t really fun in the heat, but I guess I´m probably no longer used to that kind of weather due to the missing summer in Germany. At the top I first had to take a proper break before I could even dare to take a picture with me in it or to have someone take one of me. I’m not a big selfie hero.
Well, what can I say? Of course, I´ve found out, that there would have been a much easier route to the top. Through my “planless” theory and practice, I got at least a little sport unit in as well, not bad, isn´t it? But let´s focus on the actual highlight of the Piazzale Michelangiolo: the many Asian tourists and their photo shootings. They are and remain the Kings and Queens of posing – I totally salute them. Ok, now, seriously, the view up there of Florence is simply stunning.
Without hesitating, this is definitely my favorite place in the whole city!
For the way back down I obviously preferred the easier way. I walked over the famous bridge Ponte Vecchio and honestly: Looks pretty, but didn´t excite me. In my opinion the other sights and monuments are far more impressive. Florence was generally quite busy and there is hardly a corner where you won´t meet tourists. In Siena it was much more relaxed and comfortable. But that´s not a at all. Places you certainly have to visit when you´re in Florence are the Palazzo Vecchio and Piazza della Signoria (with the giant turtle ;)).
But the most impressive building in the whole city is still the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore on Piazza Duomo. The many streets crossing offer everything you need. From small supermarkets and clothing stores to restaurants and gelaterias.
Remember: To get up to the Piazzale Michelangiolo, after walking over any of the bridges you follow the road which runs directly next to the river. From here you will see the path, which leads you to the stairs that will bring you up to the lookout! Learn from my mistakes 😉
Traveling in Italy
Finally, summed up, it was pretty easy to travel without a rental car. The cities are well connected and the transport is also quite cheap. The Bus (Flixbus) from Rome to Siena was about nine Euros, and the train from Siena to Florence similar. In the bus and also in the train there were plug-ins to charge the batteries of my laptop and mobile and the bus also provided Wifi. I will also hop on the Flixbus for my journey from Florence to Zurich. This will take me about nine hours in total and costs approx. 24 Euros, there´s no cheaper way to travel.
I had a great time in Italy. Rome has impressed me very much, Siena was super romantic and perfect for a break from the hectic city life, before I came to Florence, which was again pretty fast-paced and full of tourists.
But now I’m happy to be in Switzerland and enjoying the nature around me. But hey, I´m just a girl from the countryside.
Of course, I’ll get right back to you with the latest hoax 😉