Views of the Duomo from Fort Belvedere.
Well, we got up REALLY early to get on a 6:30AM train to head to Florence. We got to Florence around 9ish, checked into our hostel and then headed out to explore.
Florence is this quaint medieval town. First stop, The Duomo! It's free to enter the Duomo so we walked around outside first taking it in. It's white and green which is a very different look from any of the other churches we saw in Italy (outside of Florence that is - it's a very popular look in Florence!) The inside isn't really all that much to look at, what you're really there for is to climb to the top of the Duomo. So we waited in line and then started climbing those steps. When you get to the cupola you can look at the Dome, which is painted. Prior to heading to Italy I had read Brunelleschi's Dome by Ross King which describes in detail how historians think Brunelleschi made the Dome, to this day it is still a mystery how it stays up! So it was pretty neat to see it in real life. Then we finished climbing to the top and had beautiful views of Tuscany.
After that we headed over to the Boboli Gardens, our plan was to eat our sandwiches in the garden, but we couldn't find the entrance at first so we ended up just eating them on the street - oh well! We eventually found the Gardens and spent the afternoon exploring the Boboli and Barberini Gardens at Fort Belvedere. We decided to take advantage of being outside most of the day since the forecast was calling for rain for the next two days we were there.
The reason I titled this post hiking was because between the stairs to the top of the Duomo and the hills we climbed in and around the Gardens, we were talking about how we spent the day "urban hiking" our legs were so tired!
On our way back to the hostel to get ready for dinner we spent some time on the Ponte Vecchio Bridge looking out at the Arno and just taking in all the shops.
Then we had a nice dinner and bought a bottle of wine and headed back to the hostel for a chill night of wine and 500 rummi!