Walking into Florence from the train station is as simple as crossing one street. Florence is a walking city, there are no cars driving anywhere in sight. Every other turn is a new piazza with something artsy or at least some great food to offer. The home of the birth of the renaissance felt like a second home to me. A 2 day visit turned into 4 and by the 3rd day I knew my way around so easily, I even acted as an impromptu travel guide for two couples who thought I was local. The atmosphere was light and airy and everyone was smiling seemingly carefree. The locals seemed genuinely friendly and offered suggestions or assistance without a rude remark or gesture even though my Italian was atrocious.
The hostel I stayed at, the Eurostudent, was not the best place in town but the location was unbeatable and the staff was great. It was steps away from the Uffizi and very close to the Duomo, although Florence is so small that any hotel/hostel will probably be fine as you will never be more than a 10-15 minute walk from your destination. The staff offered many suggestions on what to do during the day which was great as I didn’t have any plans. They also hosted an evening out every night to local bars and clubs one of which was the Fish Bar which they own also but was pretty awesome. There is a pub across the way and a lovely restaurant right downstairs.
Every day was the same, get up, go out and explore. I never really had to look for anything as I would just run into it as I walked. Usually getting into any of the main attractions was a breeze, save the Uffizi which always had a line winding around the building. I tried to visit 3 times before finally finding a group that was scalping a ticket to go in with, as any other way seemed impossible. The amount of art scattered around the city in and out of museums is staggering. It feels like you’re walking around a big museum the whole time really, with wine being served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. My kind of museum.
The most interesting thing I found in Florence was Galileo’s finger. Yes, THAT Galileo. He apparently left his middle finger behind for all to see. Maybe it was a last hidden message to the world? I randomly came upon the Museo di Storia della Scienza, after my first failed attempt at the Uffizi. While roaming through all the telescopes and instruments of Galileo and Newton, I came across the finger. Weird find, but I thought it was pretty cool.
There is art for everyone, whether you are into architecture, sculptures, paintings or murals and if you need a workout, you can climb the Duomo and get a closer look at the amazing mural in the dome and the grand view outside.