If you haven’t caught up with the first instalment of my Italy travel diary post, you can find the Rome run down right here – now it’s time to talk about what we got up to for the last two days of our trip.
We’d pre-booked our train from Rome to Florence, which was a good idea seen as it was completely full. The journey lasted about an hour and a half, and the views of the Italian countryside were incredible: I’d do the journey again just for that reason alone.
We were staying in another Air BnB in Florence which was about a five-minute walk from the centre. After getting off the train, we walked the 20 minutes to the apartment through the centre of the city. We were both amazed at how different Florence was to Rome, although some of the architecture was similar.
The Air BnB we were staying in was on a quiet road in a residential district, and the owner lived upstairs so it was really easy to get in touch. He showed us the best way to get around, and all of the sites to see. We quickly changed and went out for a mooch.
The buildings in the city reminded us both of Barcelona’s gothic quarter and were much more dark and striking than Rome. We walked to the Duomo in the middle of the city, which was a dark green colour, and was breathtaking.
The thing I noticed most about Florence is the array of designer shops they had on offer – you could tell that people definitely fled to the city for this reason. We wandered about for around 3 hours and crossed the Ponte Vecchio to the other side before heading back to get changed for dinner.
We thought it would be nice to watch the sunset on the riverbank, so after a couple of glasses of wine in the apartment, we headed out to do this. We went to another bar before going for dinner in a restaurant that overlooked the main square.
The next day we woke up quite early to take in the views at Piazza Di Michelangelo. The walk up to the top of the hill took us about 30 minutes, but it was worth it. We took our time strolling back through the city before getting lunch and heading for the train to Pisa.
I didn’t know much about Pisa, apart from its famous landmark. Our lovely Air BnB host picked us up from the train station and showed us around the apartment we were staying in, which was bigger than my first flat! He showed us the best route into the city, and what else there was to see.
Our first port of call was the Leaning Tower. The best thing about seeing it in real life was the amount of tourists trying to get the perfect snap. We wandered around the city walls and visited the Piazza Dei Cavalieri at golden hour. We saw the building that Galileo studied in, and wandered down the banks of the Arno river.
Although the pizza and pasta were out of this world in Italy, we were carbed out and decided to try and find an alternative meal for our last one. We settled on a restaurant down a little side street and had one of the best meals of the whole trip. I went all out and got a steak with Italian beans and roast veg and potatoes – it was honestly one of the best steaks I have ever had in my life!
Of all the cities, Pisa was definitely the quietest, but even for a Sunday night, the streets were still full of performers, locals and tourists, which gave it a good buzz. The walk home was very peaceful, even though we passed through the student district.
If I’m honest, I wouldn’t rush back to Florence or Pisa: Although they were both beautiful in their own way, I felt as though a day in each was enough and we saw all the sites that we wanted to. I would, however, use the cities as a base to discover more of Tuscany, but overall I was slightly underwhelmed, especially with how highly regarded they both are.
That said, the trip was one of the best ever and Italy still holds the title of my favourite country in the world – I just can’t wait to explore more of it in the coming years.