Are you all enjoying this winter weather we’ve been givin? No? Odd I am loving it! Though tomorrow may be the coldest wedding I have ever photographed in my entire life but I am READY! But thats tomorrow, lets talk about today! Or shall I say a few weeks ago! Today I am sharing my 4th stop, Florence! I knew this beautiful city was going to be my FAVORITE! And it was! If you know me, I am not much a city person. I hate the traffic, the cluster of people everywhere. I need nature in my life. But, and thats a big but, when I do visit cities, they have to be full of charm and character, history and BEAUTIFUL architecture! One of my favorite parts of traveling is seeing architecture. Maybe a slight obsession. I love alley ways, quirky colors and buildings so old that I really cant even grasp the amount of history that they’ve witnessed.
Florence was all of that and some! I stayed at the Academy Hostel, which wasn’t the BEST hostel, but I rather enjoyed it and it was in the BEST location! One of the staples of Florence is the Florence Cathedral, or Duomo as its referred too. My hostel was RIGHT OUT SIDE OF IT! Pretty much, I had easy access to a lot of restaurants, shops and was within walking distance to pretty much everything I wanted to do/see in Florence. The weather for Florence this time of year is a bit wonky. Their winters consist of chilly temperatures with lots of rain. For the entire 4 days I had planned to be in Florence, I was only guaranteed one day of sunshine. SO, I made sure that one day of sunshine was left for all of the walking I had ahead of me. I wanted to go to the top of Duomo but unfortunately, with my leg, it was NOT a sane idea considering the amount of steps and the steepness of those steps. So instead, I took my self up another set of steps that were still a pain in the butt to climb, but much easier with equally epic views, Piazzale Michelangelo! Stunning views of all of Florence and the surrounding valley. I also walked to one of the most iconic bridges of all time, Ponte Vecchio! A bridge so beautiful, they say Hitler himself couldn’t find it in him to destroy it. How nice of him.
While wandering around exploring Florence, I stumbled upon a little tour shop for MyTours and was just trying to see what they had going on. Usually, when I am traveling with other people, I would rather opt for renting a car and exploring on our own time, but when I am traveling alone, signing up for a tour group is always a good option as I end up meeting other travelers in the group and make friends, maybe even get my photo taken! haha I snagged two tours with this company and I thoroughly enjoyed BOTH of them! First tour was to Cinque Terre! A DREAM of mine to see those beautiful Italian Riviera views and it did not disappoint! The cliffside architecture with the bright multicolored homes. Dream! We stopped in 3 of the 5 villages, plus one thats not technically apart of Cinque Terre but still just as beautiful. We stopped in Porto Venere, Manarola, Monterosso and Vernazza! I loved ALL of them except Monteross0. Monterosso is the village with the largest strip of beach. If you come to Cinque Terre for beach, this is likely where you go….. however. It was FILTHY. I have never seen SO much liter on one beach in my life. I know its off season, and I hope they clean their beaches for high season, but it really made me sad/mad to see so much liter in such a beautiful place. One thing I did learn about Italy, liter is….everywhere there. And lots of it!
Up next is the stunningly beautiful Tuscan region! Chianti region of Siena, San Gimignano and Monteriggioni!