I last came to Florence about 17 years ago as a teenager and adored it. Returning now but with my husband and our two young children, I wondered whether I might be disappointed.
I was surprised by what I remembered so clearly (the station) and by what I'd forgotten (the duomo). Because of forgetting about the enormity of the Duomo, I had the joy of a new visitor in turning around a corner and being blown away by it. It is simply spectacular architecture, hugely grand, beautiful and as many emphatics as I can think of. We arrived at early lunchtime and the children were getting hungry so we stopped in a restaurant on the piazza to have lunch. We had wanted to avoid such a central lunch as past experience has taught us central locations go hand in hand with bad food and high prices but this wasn't the case. Lunch really wasn't prohibitively expensive and it was such deliciously good Italian food. It was hot but they had jets that shot out cool water sprays over the tables which worked well at keeping us all cool (Thankfully my hair was frizzy anyway but I might not have been so keen if I'd freshly straightened my hair that day!). We didn't go into the duomo or campanile because the queues were too long and we assumed neither were particularly child-friendly but just wandering around Florence there's so much to enjoy and soak up that we didn't feel the need on this occasion to go inside. I do hope we'll come back one day without the children so that we could get to appreciate the finer side of Florence.
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