In the previous post we had stayed in Volterra. After visiting Volterra we went with the car to Florence. From Volterra to Florence there are 80 km or an hour and a quarter on a highway that is a bit bumpy, but at least it is not paid.
Sunset in Florence
First of all I would like to tell you about the Youth Hostel in which we stayed. We made a reservation for a triple room with bathroom in the Hostel Plus Florence (75 euros). The hostel is about 5 minutes walk from the Florence train station and about 15 minutes from the Duomo. It has excellent facilities (pool, restaurant, bar, a terrace with stunning views, etc). The cons: the bunk beds are from Ikea, which means they are extremely loud. They do not rent towels, but they sell you a shower for 3 euros. I guess it's much more hygienic, but I didn't take it because I wasn't going to put it wet in my suitcase, so renting one for something less would have been appreciated.
Everyone enjoys the views at the viewpoint of Piazzale Michelangelo.
Views of Florence from the Mirador of Piazzale Michelangelo
The second: Florence is an impossible city to go by car. It is not only because of the fact that the streets are chaotic and narrow, but also because parking is prohibited throughout the city. And of course, the car parks are passed three villages (between 3 and 8 euros per hour). In addition, when arriving on Sunday many of the car parks were closed. The receptionist told us that people usually park on the street (because there are cars parked) and prefer to pay the fine (30 euros) than having the car all day in a garage, which is much more expensive. We decided to leave it on the street before the prices, until by chance I entered a parking lot near the hostel called Garage Nazionale (Via Nazionale, 15) where we could park the car from 9 pm to 12 noon for 24 euros and go to sleep peacefully (from 12h the hour they charged her at 3.75 euros).
Santa Maria Novella
I do not know if all the odyssey we lived with the car added to the accumulated fatigue made Florence an irritating city. This was my second time and I found it dirty, careless and chaotic. At night, the little we did was climb with the car to see a panoramic view of the city with the sunset from the viewpoint of Piazzale Michelangelo. From there you can have a spectacular panoramic view of the city, and sunset is the best time of day.
Officina Pharmaceutical Proffumo di Santa Maria Novella
In the morning we woke up soon as we had decided to visit Florence before 12, when the parking lot ended. At 9 we leave the hostel towards Santa Maria Novella, which is close to the hostel and the train station. I have to admit that the day before we saw her outside when Tomtom made us get in the middle of the square with the car (had a moment of madness and insisted on getting inside all the monuments of Florence).
Ponte Vecchio inside
Ponte Vecchio Florence
To visit Santa María Novella you have to pay, and we did it. It is a church that began to be built in 1279 and finished in 1357. It is worth noting the fresco "The Trinity" by Masaccio, a pioneer in terms of perspective. In about 15 minutes you have a good view of the church. Near it, leaving the church on the right is what they say is the oldest pharmacy in the world: the Officina Proffumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella (Via della Scala, 16). There are currently sold perfumes and natural soaps made as before and that are a bit expensive. To give you an idea, a bar of soap came out for about € 8.
Piazza della Signoria
When we left there we walked until we reached the Arno River to visit the Ponte Vecchio. We went along the parallel bridge (P.alle Grazie) to take a nice panoramic photo and in order to enter the bridge from the north side and towards the center. The Ponte Vecchio (vecchio = viejuno) is named because it is the oldest one that is preserved (1345) and is full of jewelry stores. It is said that the term bankruptcy comes because the jewelers who had their stop there (bank) when they had losses broke their stops and could not exercise. It is a very beautiful and picturesque bridge, although being the best known of Florence was full of people.