Have you missed the first part of our Tuscany travel guide?
Our trip continued to Florence and here is the rest of the guide ...
After Pisa and some refreshment we jumped back on the train and continued to Florence. Trip took us something close to an hour which we spent with chit-chatting and adjusting our photos from previous days.
Train station in Florence looks like a small airport, with many trains from all over Italy coming to stop here. From here it is mostly straight on the main road for you to reach the biggest landmark of Florence the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. If you did not see that, then you simply cannot say you were in Florence. We felt like tiny little humans, when standing under this massive, white structure. Silently stood there and admired the beauty, while tourists were trying to catch the best shot and not get crazy from standing in a long queue to get inside. Even though it would be nice to see the city from the top, or to see the inside in general, we rather kept the money for something else. Plus we did not have an hour to spear.
Wondering around we got us lost, but from our experience, that is the best you can do, cause thanks to that we found Mercato Centrale. Something, that looks like a train arrival station is filled with food markets at the bottom and food courts on the top. If you are craving some fresh fruits, fish or even truffles, then this place is for you. Locals come here in big numbers to do their grocery shopping. When it is lunch time, then you might not be able to catch a spot on the first floor, but definitely pay it a visit. The amount of flavors and scents in the air is just mouth-watering and doubt you will leave with an empty stomach.
Back on the road we headed towards the river for one and only Ponte Vecchio, which was filled with goldsmiths and jewelers. But even before, it was a bridge with butchery stores. It is of course nice to walk on it and be some what part of the history, but if you want to have a good shot of the bridge, then go left along the wall, there you get a beautiful view of the entire bridge.
Another nice view is from a distance from another bridge called Ponte Santa Trinita, which we took later, when we were coming back from that side of the river.
Here you can see the rests of Florence walls, Roman gate and beautiful Boboli gardens with a fortress, where you can have one of the best views on Florence.
We felt the pressure of having only half a day in Florence and we definitely have to come back again. I would suggest you to have at least two full days, to be able to walk through one and then other side of the river.
That day happened to be Sunday, most of the stores and restaurants were closed in Livorno (where we were staying) and so we took a walk through the old town, which is nicknamed little Venice, for it´s canals. Stopped by an old fortress for some view of the docks and continued along the coastline, once reached Terrazza Mascagni. Something, that looks like never finished square. Was a perfect place for a chilled walk as well as views of the sea. Close by you may also visit the Livorno Aquarium.
Before lunch time we headed towards La Spezia for another two nights, and on the way we stopped in Viareggio. Another coastal town, but this time with a proper beach, suitable for summer holiday stay. Actually kilometers of beaches with beach clubs, restaurants and bars. This town is well known for it´s yacht industry - makes the most expensive ones in the world and host a massive five day carnival. We stopped there right when the carnival was starting, yet the entrance was 20 eur and there for we decided to rather observe from the distance.
We chose La Spezia for the easy reach of Cinque Terre, as there is a direct train. So no need to worry about car, because the parking here would be a nightmare actually. The towns have parking lots somewhere above the town it self in the cliff terraces and so for a tourist it is easier and more comfortable to take the train.
So yes Cinque Terre is a coastline with five picturesque towns. Be prepared for a lot of walking, up hill and staircase.
First from La Spezia is Riomaggiore, which is probably the most photographed of them all, due to a super red house right by the sea, which we actually followed and tried to get as high as possible to get the view. Stairs are truly something here, hard to find a flat piece of road.
was the second town on our itinerary and as we got of the train we though we will just turn around and leave again as it was just concrete, hill and that it. BUT you have to walk through a tunnel to get to the town it self. Here we were already hungry and so we went to look for Trattoria dal Billy, which was suggested to us, but guess what?! It was under an enormous reconstruction (like a lot of places). Eventually we found (probably the only open restaurant in the entire town) Bar Enrica. Very nice staff, tasty food and big glass of Aperol Spritz .. heaven! Manarola has a nice view point of the port, where there is a terrace like restaurant Nessun Dorma. But we just continued up for another stunning shot and made our way down, where we walked around a store with local products called Burasca and could not help, but buy two wines from the Cinque Terre vineyards.
third town in the row and the worst staircase like an entrance to the town from the train. I won´t be exaggerating if i say that it was a ten minutes of staircase walk. This town is solely on top of a cliff, pretty small and when we were there literally everything was closed, so we again reached a viewpoint, sat there for couple of minutes and went back to the train station to continue to ...
this town, we visited twice actually, we still had sometime at the end of the day, and Vernazza had a nice spot by the ocean to watch the sunset with ice-cream.
Here we got one of the best ice-creams and in the same store cannoli as well. Further down the road is La Bottega del Fritto with amazing seafood take away. Fish and chips style. Go down to the port to relax on the stones and listen to the sea or go to get lost in the lovely little streets. You can find even an old castle/fortess, all the way on the top.
is the last one and the only with proper beach. Actually three of them. The town it self is not that picturesque and is also pretty small so we took just a walk a bit more in to the town and then we returned to Vernazza for another ice-cream (guilty).
- Travel video from our trip -
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