After finishing our time in Rome, we hopped on a train to Florence...or Firenze, as they call it. SO incredibly thankful to have a Eurorail pass, which allows us to take the train from anywhere to anywhere in Europe. It's pretty much the greatest thing ever. Can't imagine being in Europe without it. Anyway, we arrived in Florence and met up with our sweet friend, Claire Aufhammer. Claire was my roommate sophomore and she decided to study abroad in Scotland this year. She had just finished her exams and decided that meeting up with us in Italy would be the best way to kick off her summer. And she was right. Because we had a blast! But what else is new; I always have a blast with Claire. I am so beyond blessed to know her. She is one of the most intelligent, compassionate, and genuine people I know. That girl is going to change the world. And I'm so honored to call her friend. So after our reunion with her, which may have involved some squealing and jumping, we began our Florentine adventure!
The city welcomed us with this beauty of a sunset, taken at Ponte Vecchio Bridge. Wow.
Breakfast was provided every morning at our adorable little Bed and Breakfast, which was owned by a sweet little Italian couple, who lived at the Bed and Breakfast. Also, sidenote: this breakfast area was the only place I could get phone reception, and so I spent quite some time making phone calls while sitting in their laundry room (which is on the other side of that door, behind this table), as their family enjoyed a large and loud Italian meal together at this table. I loved it. I felt like I was staying with a real Italian family...which I guess I was.
We spent most of the day shopping. (We're girls; what do you expect?) And many of these shops were located here, on Ponte Vecchio Bridge.
All that shopping makes a girl hungry, so we stopped at a restaurant that Claire had been to the previous year with her family. The owner, Francesco, was extremely welcoming and actually gifted us with some wine and a tour of his wine cellar in the basement of his restaurant, which apparently was over 1000 years old and built on top of Roman ruins. It was incredible!
We then hiked up to the top of the Piazzalle Michaelangelo, which was quite the trek. But WELL worth the view!
And one does not simply go to Florence without seeing the Duomo. Nor does one simply go to a blog about Florence without seeing the Duomo....so here it is:
Florence was actually hosting a gelato festival while we were there. I know, I know, it was a dream come true. However, THIS masterpiece came from a gelato shop on one of the street corners. You may be surprised to know that I actually ordered the smallest cone and was given THIS. Yes, it's bigger than my head and yes, wafers had to be inserted into the ice cream for support, so that the ice cream didn't topple off of the cone.
....and yes, I ate the entire thing. No problem.
And, if that delectable treat doesn't make you fall in love with Florence, I don't know what will.