Firenze – Steak & Shopping! :D (Part I)

florence is amazingly beautiful!! (: even though it was raining cats and dogs when i was there (such a pity!) but it’s beauty totally shined through anyway. and i would love to go back and spend more time there! it was kinda rushed in terms of seeing the ‘attractions’, not that there were many if you aren’t into all the museums and art galleries etc, but it’s just a really nice place to walk around and chill in (: i spent the most part of 3 out of 4 days in florence shopping though :p so we didn’t really have the chance to chill much. haha :p but OMG i am so satisfied with my buys!!!!! ^^ hehe. after 4 months of holding back, i finally went on a mad shopping spree :D *woots!*
okay, enough introduction, let me get on with my post! (:
What to do in Florence

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the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore is the most famous Duomo in Florence, and it’s gorgeous! ^^ we first saw it on our first night there and were wowed by it. (haha by this time, we’d seen enough of the Duomo in Milan to be fascinated by that one :p). it was totally lit up at night! and in the daytime, in the sunlight, it’s equally beautiful (:
you can climb up to the top of the Duomo to get gorgeous views of florence, but we chose not to and instead went to…
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the top of Michelangelo Hill!!! this is a MUST MUST MUST VISIT when you’re in florence. it’s a little distance from the city centre, but it’s really not that far. everywhere in florence is quite walkable (: and omg the view is AMAZING. it is not to be missed!!! this is like just one of the possibly 30 photos i took of this place. i totally just went 360 degrees around this place and kept snapping photos because the view was sooooo pretty! i had such a hard time choosing which photo to post here. it’s so pretty :’) and i would think that the climbing wasn’t too bad this time! believe me, i’ve had TONNES of climbing experiences in europe haha. everywhere seems to be uphill here. but this was totally worth it :D
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there was this statue of David at the top of the hill as well! there is a place where you can go to see the original David, but really, there are statues of this EVERYWHERE in florence. i didn’t think it’s worth paying to see this.
all the attractions in this post are free btw!! (: save money haha (and spend it in rome :p)
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Ponte Vecchio means ‘old bridge’ in italian and it’s the main bridge in Florence! (: it’s super crowded with roadside stalls and lots of tourists, but it’s really scenic and so it’s nice to spend some time there!
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if you’re interest in art galleries/museums, you can go to Pitti Palace (pictured) and Uffizi Gallery. i didn’t go to either, because of the lack of time. but it would be quite nice to pick one of those to visit! (: and the exterior of Pitti Palace is perfect for chilling as you can see from the hoards of people there ^^
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now for SHOPPING!!!!! :D :D :D :D haha my entire aim of being in florence hehe ^^ okay, this place isn’t really for ‘shopping’. but it’s the San Lorenzo Central Market, and you know i love markets ^^ i don’t know why either haha. i absolutely loathe wet markets in singapore, but the food markets/weekend open markets here and all just make me super happy!! (: maybe it’s because of the kind of food they sell here – totally makes me salivate :p
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welcome to the San Lorenzo Leather Market!!! when you come to florence, you’ve got to shop here!! there is a really wide range of leather goods here, from keychains, to wallets, bags, belts, gloves…etc. lots and lots of stalls, so do take your time to browse through and shop (: there are some stalls that seems more legitimate than others, but the leather goods are all pretty affordable and worth the money.
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EVEN MORE WORTH IT though, was THE MALL. omg *swooooooooooooooooons*. don’t judge okay :p i don’t usually buy branded stuff (it’s my first time), but i really went quite crazy here haha. disclaimer: i said that San Lorenzo was good for leather goods, but the quality you get at The Mall is really really definitely better. and considering that the goods are branded, they are SUPER reasonably priced here!
how to get to The Mall: i had the most epic experience trying to find my way here, catching the bus right LITERALLY at the last minute before it drove off, so i’m gonna tell you how exactly to get there so you don’t have to go through the same crazy experience as me. it’s not in Florence itself, but rather in some outskirts in Tuscany! :O so by public transport, you take a bus there. the address of the place to take the bus is Via Santa Caterina da Siena 17, Florence, but i don’t know why by GPS, it didn’t lead me to the exact location. what’s most important is to look out for a BUS DEPOT, which is near to the Florence SMN train station. it is a SITA bus with the words ‘The Mall’ written on it, impossible to miss. check here for the bus schedule. one-way costs €5 (expensive!!!!) and you can get tickets on the bus. the ride is about 50min.
i would say that you should allocate AT LEAST 3-4hours at The Mall? if you want to shop leisurely (: the queues at Prada are really slow, i think i queued for more than half an hour even though the queue didn’t look that long, but so make sure you have enough time!! and you can even process your tax refunds on the spot at The Mall (if you’re leaving the EU within 21 days), which is really convenient! (:

Where to stay in Florence

as i mentioned in my post on Rome, we super loved our accommodation in these two cities! ^^

definitely one of our best accommodations ever was our airbnb in Florence!! the room was absolutely HUGE. and so was the bed! so much space to roll around in our sleep hehe. the first night i just concussed the moment my head hit the pillow. it was so comfy ^^ Roberto, our host, made breakfast for us every morning!!!! super nice of him :)) simple breakfast, but very wholesome :) it’s really rare that you get breakfast in an airbnb, and we really appreciated it. Roberto was a friendly host and he let us have free use of the kitchen to cook our meals and also the washing machine :) there’s wifi! and the location was pretty good too (:

we paid €50 per night for the accommodation and you can see the listing here: https://www.airbnb.com.sg/rooms/131143 (:

okay, enjoy florence and HAVE FUN SHOPPING!!!! :D and i gotta go back to mugging x.x
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