After a week in Rome enjoying near-perfect weather, the Tuscan climate is proving more unpredictable which can be a blessing at times too, especially when walking several miles each day. 

Florence is very much a city that you could enjoy over a weekend and feel contented you had accomplished your sightseeing target. If you haven’t been here, I would add it to your short European city-break list. Admittedly, it’s best known for its art scene as it’s regarded as the home of the Renaissance period but don’t be put off by that, enjoyment can be fulfilled in other ways. I’ve been here twice and still cannot justify paying 40 euros to see a some art museums along with Michelangelo’s ‘David’. Does that make me a philistine?

Below are some main attractions including, Florence Cathedral, and the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella. The views of the River Arno are pretty lovely too.



Forgetting for a moment the ancient ruins of Rome, we found Firenze as enjoyable (if not more) to roam the streets. It’s not a capital city, it’s a smaller city, it’s a cleaner city and when you combine those, well, it just makes for a very enjoyable daytime wander. I didn’t capture this with images so you’ll just have to take my word for it 😊 For sure you’ll find and enjoy open space Piazza’s, coffee shops, designer shops, and steak houses in their droves. I’ll come back to the steak in a short while after a few more images of the above.




Did you know the premier local dish here in Florence is not pizza or pasta but instead, steak? Perhaps that’s a by-product of being within the countryside region; access to lots of unfortunate cows 🙁

Bistecca alla fiorentina. Go on, give a pronoutation attempt.

Well, technically, we didn’t have the above. The bistecca is basically a large T-Bone, but it was sadly too costly for us. Still, we couldn’t come here and not try the steak in general, especially following Claudia’s recommendation. I can confirm our “basic” 450-gram piece was supremely tasty thanks to its special seasoning. Vivie was back in Brazil heaven for a moment.



The panoramic view from Piazzale Michelangelo did not disappoint, neither did it last time. I knew I was on to a winner by taking Viv here as it’s one of the best views in Florence.



The famed Ponte Vecchio bridge did disappoint, as it did last time, but only in the sense that you find yourself on this ancient bridge, and yet it is filled with ‘designer’ jewellery and super-high-end watches. Just seems so bizarre. Still, the views of it are decent enough, just don’t expect to be wowed once you’re actually upon it.

Here’s the view of it and here’s also the view from it.



We ended up staying in Florence for a couple of nights before heading up to Pisa where we are now, although we won’t be here for long. I’ve been here a couple of times before so this was very much for Vivian to see the leaning tower which she now has. Yay. There’s actually not that much to do in Pisa as it’s quite small although it does share the same river as Florence, the Arno, which I found momentarily interesting.

So in the same complex as the leaning tower of Pisa is the Pisa Cathedral. I’ve never been able to visit the inside before as there’s always been a cost but today we got lucky as it was free entry. Might be due to Covid, I’m not sure but either way, I’m thrilled when I can return to somewhere and see something I had not previously and without charge. #chuffed.

Here’s a picture or two showing the full complex consisting of the Cathedral, the tower, and the Baptistry.


Here are a couple more pictures to absolutely not do the inside of the Cathedral justice. Admittedly it was an astonishing basilica. We were further blown away to discover it was completed in 1092. That’s nearly 1000 years ago! Just where has the time gone 🙂




As for the leaning tower, here it is:



Oh, if you were wondering if the sloping tower was designed this way, it wasn’t. It was retrospectively corrected to prevent (hopefully) it from leaning any further!

Oh, and which of the two structures came first? The Cathedral or the Tower? Chicken or the egg?


And your guess is…?


And your answer is…





The Cathedral.

The Tower (that once upon a time did not lean!) followed within the 100 years that followed.

One response

  1. Hi you two,
    Nice to see that you are getting closer to coming home.
    That Bistecca is making me hungry as you know I love steaks.
    Did you go in and climb up to the top of the stairs in the Duomo in Florence? I did!
    I have been a few times to Firenze with my mother but that was only to visit relations.
    Pisa I agree with you there is not much to see there.
    Take care xxxx

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