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Too many postcards from 4 days in Florence back in August? Not at all!
The millennial version of these postcards can be found in my Instagram Stories (includes a painting of Keanu Reeves).
Florence, or Firenze in Italian, just oozes with history at every corner. The heart of the Renaissance era is still remarkably preserved, and I had a great time photographing my time away.
I have to admit that I laughed upon seeing this sculpture of Perseus with the Head of Medusa, because of the meme!
I stayed at Hostel Archi Rossi, just a convenient 5-minute walk from the central Firenze Santa Maria Novella station. It is also a 10-minute walk from Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, also known as the Duomo (I chose to walk past it at least once a day because it really is a sight to behold) and the Galleria dell’Accademia, where the statue of David by Michelangelo resides.
Having dropped by the gallery at about an hour before closing, there wasn’t any queue at the ticket counter.
The Uffizi Gallery is an absolute must-visit if you’re in Florence. As it’s one of the most popular attractions in the city, “skip the line” e-tickets are available but it comes with a markup and online booking fee. I did consider buying the cheaper “get stuck in line” e-ticket, but when I saw how long the e-ticket redemption queue was, I decided check the the offline ticket counter (located at another entrance) just for comparison’s sake. Guess what? There wasn’t any queue to purchase your ticket directly! Managed to be second in line when I got there at about 11am.
Once in, I realised that I’ve severely underestimated the sheer size of the gallery. Having belonged to the ruling Medici family since the 16th century, the building is home to countless (really, I lost count) pieces of artwork. From painted ceilings to statues and paintings taking almost every available inch, the Uffizi Gallery is a feast for the senses.
It was humbling to see Boticelli’s La Primavera in person. My mom has had a small copy of the painting at home, and I’ve grown up seeing it almost everyday. La Primavera in its full glory is stunning. I would’ve lingered a lot longer if it wasn’t one of the first paintings you’ll come across in the gallery.
Other favourites include works of Leonardo da Vinci (his sketches puts all of ours to shame) and Caravaggio, especially the ones with candlelit settings.
Most of the paintings and statues heavily featured biblical and Greek mythology themes, and it was surreal to see just how beautiful the compositions and colour choices are, from facial expressions, poses, the flow and drape of fabrics to the setting, then putting them all together into one painting or sculpture.
These pieces of art are truly out of this world.
Onto the food in Florence! After 3 hours in the gallery, hunger set in but it took me another hour to quickly browse through the rest of the artwork before exiting. Lo and behold, the first thing I see upon exiting the gallery was the street filled people eating sandwiches from Osteria All’antico Vinaio, which are located one row behind. Plural, yes.
There are 3 locations for you to order from, all just 10 steps from each other!
The lines are long, and you’ll have to wait until your turn to yell out your order to the staff.
As for pizzas, the hostel highly recommended Trattoria Nerone (2-minute walk), and they were true to their word.
I had THE. BEST. PIZZA. EVER!
Paired with a glass of Chianti wine, Trattoria Nerone’s Napoli pizza was bursting with flavour and the thin, crispy crust just sealed the deal.
The elderly waiter did not speak English, and non conosco l’italiano but he made sure that I enjoyed my meal by recommending his favourite pizzas.
Another favourite spot is Tamerò Pasta Bar, thanks to their generous lunch sets.
One of them includes a pasta dish with both tomato and pesto sauces! It always takes me a while to pick a sauce for pasta because I love them all, but to have two in one dish? Take my money!
For an unconventional Italian meal, Miya Noodle Bar is actually pretty good.
My hostel roommate, a young girl from Singapore, was craving for something from home, and their ramen did manage to fill the void in our Asian tummies.
Give it a try if you’re in Florence.
Also, gelato lifehack: you can mix flavours. Absolute favourites are hazelnut chocolate, hazelnut, and chocolate, in that order.
Another highlight of my trip was stumbling upon the workshop of a master violin maker, Jamie Lazzara! We had a brief chat about her work and clients, of which I’m unfortunately clueless. Her violins are commissioned by some of the world’s best violinists, and she has a 3-year waiting list for each of her handcrafted violin.
A letter from former POTUS Barack Obama sits proudly by her window, in which he thanks her for the violin she gifted his daughters.
Ending my post with a couple of pics from Alessia‘s wedding, the main reason I flew to Europe!
She’s the only bride I know who does her own and everyone else’s makeup.