© 2018 by Two Shades of Travel. Los Angeles, Ca 

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5 Days in Italy: Day 1 - Florence

After spending the majority of our 90/180 days allowed the Schengen Area in Greece, we had to choose very carefully where we wanted to spend our last five days. It was a difficult decision but we decided on Italy! Everything we read, said to spend more than one day in each city but we decided as our first time going to Italy, we would use it as an introductory course if you will and spend a day each in Florence, Rome, Naples, and Venice. Seeing a little bit seemed better than seeing nothing and we believe we made the right decision. The hardest part was planning for just a day in each city. Deciding what to see now and what to save for next time was a bittersweet process but we came up with a very easy four-day itinerary for seeing four Italian cities in four days. Let's dive right in with Florence!

Oh, Florence you beautiful and perfect city. The architecture, the food, the music, it was all so wonderful! I could've walked around that city for days but unfortunately, we only had one. We stayed at the lovely Hotel Il Poeta Dante and after checking in and changing clothes, we immediately headed out to see the city! We arrived in the early afternoon so our time was limited making where we stayed a crucial part of planning. Luckily, we chose well and were able to walk around to see everything without worrying about figuring out public transportation. This hotel is located in a great area and the hospitality is five stars. We would definitely stay there again.

Museo Galileo {open 9:30am - 6:00pm every day}

Our first stop was the Museo Galileo and we were eager to get inside! Luckily, we were a quick 15-minute walk from the hotel and there was no line to get inside. It was not very busy inside either and we were able to walk around undisturbed, without numerous people looking at one item. It was mind-blowing to see the early math tools, old maps, telescopes and yes Galileo's finger. The multistory museum is fascinating whether you are into science or not. Because it wasn't that busy and as far as museums go it isn't too big, you can get around it in about one to two hours. We had to go through quicker than we would have liked because we had limited time and we wanted to make it to our next stop before it closed. Even with us going faster than usual, the beauty of it being a smaller exhibit means you can still see everything and not have to skip full rooms like you would at a larger museum. Speaking of other museums, after seeing mostly art museums it was refreshing and interesting to see one dedicated to science and math. I never knew I would enjoy it as much as I did. I can't wait to return and really get lost in it all!

Galleria dell'Accademia di Firenze {open 8:15am - 6:50pm, closed on Tuesdays}

After tearing ourselves away from the Galileo Museum we walked over to the Galleria dell'Accademia di Firenze where Michelangelo's David statue was waiting on us! This museum had a bit of a wait outside and was a bit more crowded inside as well. There were numerous tour guides outside selling tickets for VIP tours but we opted to just wait in the line because it was short and moving quick enough for us. Once we got in, we decided to walk around and save the David statue for last. We enjoyed looking at the larger than life paintings and seeing the fascinating exhibit on the musical instruments! Finally, it was time to see the David statue and what an overwhelming feeling that was! It was almost unfathomable to be standing in front of this work of art. The amount of time and work that went into this massive sculpture is something I don't know that I will ever comprehend. I do know, that I felt so blessed and yet so small, to be standing there staring at this masterpiece.

Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella {open 9:00am - 8:00pm every day}

Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella is one of the oldest pharmacies in the world and is the oldest pharmacy in Italy. It is still in operation and even has a tea room. It doesn't look like much from the outside but it is extravagant and ornate on the inside. It feels like walking into the inside of a genie lamp and I loved every single thing about it. Every room is elegant and lovely. The smells are intoxicating and it feels as though you have stepped back in time as you admire the antique items they have displayed in glass cases around the rooms. Be sure to head to the tea room, where you can try one of their many, many tea options. I'm still dreaming of having my bridal shower there so fingers crossed everyone! Most of the items I looked at cost a pretty penny but it's free to walk around and see the items all around the shop. Honestly, the entire experience is like no other.

La Grotta Di Leo (Open Mon-Sat 10:00am - 1:00am, Sun 10:00am - 12:00am)

We had our first taste of classic Italian cuisine by getting pizza from La Grotta Di Leo! It was cooked in a wood fire oven and the people working there made us feel like family. The pizza was delectable and had flavors that went together so perfectly. Everything was fresh and I could've eaten there every day trying every single pizza they had available. That would be a dream come true! After we ate we walked around, took pictures and took some time to just enjoy the city without rushing to a destination. It was finally starting to sink in that we were in Italy! We walked across and explored the little shops that run along the Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge in Florence. We watched the sunset as we walked around and then stopped for gelato at Gelateria Santa Trinita recommended by my mom. Eating our amazing gelato on the Ponte Santa Trinita whilst people watching, made the night so much sweeter! We ended the night by walking around the city and doing some window shopping. We even had time to go by the famous bronze boar and rub his nose for good luck before heading back to our hotel.

There is so much to see and do in Florence it's hard to come to terms with not seeing it all but it does fuel the fire to return sooner rather than later. The whole time we were in Italy we put more importance on enjoying our time and seeing what we could, rather than running around and rushing through as much as we could. Walking around makes all the difference because just seeing the architecture and statues and how beautiful the city itself is, is an adventure all on its own. I hope this helps take some of the stress out of visiting for the first time or even give you ideas of what to visit for a return trip! If you have any questions feel free to reach out through our e-mail! We love giving suggestions and advice and can also help you put together your own itinerary! Enjoy your trip! Peace.Love.Travel