This last month, I finally got to take a trip which has been at the top of my bucket list for quite some time: Travelling Italy.
I first got to experience this wonderful country when I went to Rome for a few days with my boyfriend a couple of years ago. Even before that though, I’d always admired it from afar. I just feel like Italy has everything you could possibly want from a holiday destination! Beautiful scenery, warm people, stunning architecture, and most of all, the most delicious food in the world (in my opinion anyway. Sorry France.).
Having just finished my degree with a job lined up for September, I knew that this was probably my last opportunity to take the plunge. So my friend Lucy and I got planning away, and 3 weeks ago, we set off on our Italian adventure. First up? Florence.
After arriving after 10pm at our hotel, we decided to catch up on beauty sleep in order to wake up nice and refreshed for our first full day of sight seeing. Thankfully, true to Italian form, the weather was beautifully warm and sunny, and armed with my trusty guidebook, we set off to explore…
Starting at the centre of the city.. Il Duomo di Firenze. Full name; The Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore.
The central position and sheer size of this cathedral means you can catch a glimpse of it from nearly all the streets in old Florence.
It really is quite breathtaking to stand in front of. The outside is entirely made up of pastel coloured pink and green marble (sooo in right now), decked with magnificently intricate sculptures and paintings, and sitting alongside the bell tower which stretches up into the sky.
I honestly could just sit and look at it all day.
As much I would have loved to hang around, we had lots more to see! Plus, the crowds do start to get quite busy as lunchtime approaches.
We wandered through the streets of Florence – some wide and open, others narrow and winding, all equally beautiful – trying to stop ourselves from constantly repeating “ooh look at that!” or “oh my gosh, that’s amazing!”.
Strolling onwards, we soon reached the famous San Lorenzo Market, specially recommended to us by our Italian taxi driver the night before.
Here you can find all of the Florentine special goods, from leather and clothes in the outdoor stalls, to meats and cheeses in the indoor Market Centrale.
Warning!: If you are feeling hungry right now, I advise you not to read on…
We felt our stomachs beginning to growl as we were faced with all this deliciously fresh produce. It had everything!
Daily prepared ready-to-eat pasta and vegetable dishes to take away with you..
With particularly large rolls of parmigiano reggiano..
Special Italian biscuits known as Cantucci Biscotti. Twice baked crunchy cookies made with hazelnuts, perfect for dipping into a hot cappuccino!
More mushrooms than you could shake a stick at, including the Florentine special, and my personal favourite, Porcini Mushroom. Typically used in risottos!
Mounds and mounds of brightly coloured fresh fruit and vegetables.
Don’t you kind of just want to dive in head first and roll around in them?? No? Just me…
Now these strawberries are just begging for a dollop of cream.
And finally.. Two of my favourite things:
After all of this, our mouths were beginning to salivate, and it was necessary to get some food in our bellies.
We found a cute little restaurant round the corner from the market in order to satisfy our hunger.
I went for a classic bowl of penne with meat ragu. Not bolognese, which is traditionnally made with carrots and pancetta. I only found this out recently and felt like I’d been lied to! Apparently the Italian chefs get very upset about our “fake” UK version of bolognese.
Lucy, on the other hand, chose a dish of squid risotto. Both were simple, and don’t look all that, but trust me they were delicious!
Our appetite sated, we strolled down to the river to take in the views..
And caught our first glimpse of the famous Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge in Florence.
Well, I would say we had a successful first morning in Florence. I’ll have a new post up tomorrow if you fancy seeing what we got up to in the afternoon and evening!
I warn you, I’ll be having a lot of Italian themed posts coming up in the next few weeks, so I apologise in advance if you get thoroughly sick of them!
Thanks for reading! Joanna xxxxx