We hopped on a train in Pisa and continued our Italian escapade. It was the last day of the year and our next stop is the jewel of Tuscany, Florence, Firenze as it called locally. Arriving in Station Firenze before noon, our day in Florence started by searching for our accommodation, Ostello Archi Rossi. After some document checks, we were allowed to get to our rooms and settle. We immediately prepped up and wandered through the city’s narrow, cobbled alleys lined with quaint shops and trattorias.
Piazza del Duomo di Firenze
Our walk continued until we reached Piazza del Duomo di Firenze. It is a captivating square where you can marvel at the stunning Florence Cathedral, known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, with its remarkable Renaissance architecture. The awe-inspiring grandeur of the cathedral left me spellbound. Its intricate marble façade told stories of centuries past, and I couldn’t help but stand in admiration, surrounded by the hum of tourists and locals alike. Nearby are the Giotto’s Campanile and the Baptistery of St. John that showcases exquisite bronze doors.
Piazza Della Signoria
Leaving the Duomo behind, we meandered through the charming streets, eventually finding ourselves in Piazza Della Signoria. Here, tourists can admire the remarkable sculptures, including the replica of Michelangelo’s David and the imposing statue of Neptune, while taking in the lively atmosphere of the square. The Palazzo Vecchio, an impressive medieval palace, dominates the square and offers tours for those interested in exploring its rich history and magnificent chambers.
With the goal to ascend the steps to Piazzale Michelangelo, we walked towards Arno River passing by the Uffizi Gallery. We weren’t able to explore the galleries but there are art pieces and installations available for the public on the entire stretch of the thoroughfare. Housed within a historic Renaissance palace, the gallery is a treasure trove of masterpieces, showcasing the works of iconic artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli, and Raphael. Everyone can immerse themselves in the evolution of art history as you explore the meticulously curated galleries showcasing treasures from the Italian Renaissance and beyond.
With the day unfolding, we continued the long walk and climbed up the hill to Piazzale Michelangelo, eager to see a bird’s-eye view of the city. As the sun dipped below the horizon, the city bathed in a warm, golden glow. We joined the horde of travelers and locals, silently captivated by the breathtaking vista that stretched before us. We tried to look for a perfect spot, dissecting the massive number of people on the viewpoint that day to witness the last sunset of 2019. The silhouettes of Florence’s iconic landmarks are etched against the vibrant, multi-hued sky, making it a truly unforgettable moment to remember.
We went back to our hostel to freshen up and prepare to join the New Year’s Eve celebration at Piazza del Duomo di Firenze. But before that, we found ourselves at a random restaurant savoring freshly cooked Spaghetti alle vongole and Gnocchi partnered with red wine to start up the night.
New Year’s Party at Piazza del Duomo di Firenze
Before the clock struck midnight, we returned to Piazza del Duomo di Firenze to welcome the new year. The square had transformed into a lively gathering, filled with laughter and joy. Choirs were singing upbeat music that encourages dancing and merriment. Fireworks lit up the night sky, painting it with vibrant colors. I usually spend new year celebrations at home and the experience was indeed fun and memorable.
We went back to our hostel to cap the night and I realized how Florence, even on a short stay, has filled my heart with memories and a deep appreciation for the timeless magic of this city. The city is a living masterpiece that continues to enchant with its charming alleys to world-class art, mesmerizing sunsets at Piazzale Michelangelo, and the unforgettable New Year’s celebration at the Duomo di Firenze. The visit to this Tuscan gem had left an indelible mark, reminding me that the most meaningful adventures are those that awaken the heart and soul.