A Day in Fiesole

The other day we went to Fiesole.  We were actually on a bus to go to San Domenico (a few bus stops before Fiesole) when we met an American couple who said they were going to Fiesole for the antique market.  Antique market??  I batted my eyes at Scott and we decided to take the bus to the end of the line to Fiesole.  We arrived around 9:00am and there were two booths in this “antique market” so we decided to explore the area.  We didn’t realize that we had a lot of walking ahead of us.

Twelve Countries Family Travel Blog | Family Day in Feisole

We walked up and down hill after hill with some stairs in between.  It was a hot day, but when we finally made it to a high stop with a a clearing the view made it all worth it.

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We did end up finding a park for Carter to run around and play at which was a nice break for us all.  We played at the shaded slide and had some snacks before we continued hiking.  This boy loves his slides!

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We continued to walk up and down the city until we had made it back to the main square.  From there we hiked the steepest hill yet and made it to a spot where we could see some ancient Roman architectural ruins.

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We had a beautiful time as a family in Fiesole being up in the hills. and on the way home we did end up making a stop in San Domenico to have some pizza.

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Family Travel Tips

  • Getting There: The 7 bus from San Marco takes you all the way up to Fiesole, the last stop for the line.  Make sure to sit on the right side of the bus so you can get great views of the hills as you climb!
  • Larger Families:  This is a small city and the highlights of it can be walked within an hour.  There is a nice park with play areas, swings, benches and tables, and open grass areas about halfway through this walking tour with Florence for Free.  It is a lot of walking up and down with several staircases so a stroller would be difficult, and young kids might get bored or tired if there’s not some incentive for finishing with a smile (gelato!).
  • What Not to Miss:  The view.  Any time that there is a break in the trees and houses, stop and take in the view!  It is an incredible vantage point to see the city.  If we could do it all again though, we would probably skip the walk around the city and go straight to the monastery on the hill.  The view just below the monastery is amazing, and once at the monastery, you can see the ancient Roman ruins.
  • What to Bring: Water and snacks are always a must for us when we’re out all day, especially when we’re hiking.
  • Cost: €0.  Fiesole is just a short bus ride away from San Marco, or if you’re feeling up to it, you can walk!  But, I’d take the bus if I were you.

Checking Out David

The Galleria dell’Accademia was the smallest museum I think I’ve ever been in. Elizabeth and I were walking through just chatting with each other and we went through an entire section twice before we realized it. There were definitely some really cool things to see in the museum, lots of statues, but the main thing everyone goes to see is David. And rightfully so.

We arrived at 7:30 am (45 minutes before it opened) and I felt silly for being there so early! We were the 5th people in line and some of the only people on the street.  Though, within about 5 minutes the line started growing and another 15 minutes later there had to have been close to 100 people in line. Needless to say, I wasn’t feeling silly for being there so early any more. At 8:15am the doors opened and we were through security with a ticket in hand in a mere 5 mins! I asked Elizabeth if we should go straight to David first and then mosey around the rest of the museum when there were more crowds, but before she could answer we had turned the corner and found ourselves staring at him from about 50 yards away.  The museum was almost empty as we crossed the long hall.

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David is huge and masculine in all his glory. There is so much detail in him it’s incredible. It was amazing to see his ribs, the veins in his neck, the detail of his toenails, and of course his chiseled abs (quite literally). Elizabeth and I slowly circled him for about 10 minutes in complete awe of how freakishly attractive he was. We even went back to see him a few more times before we left (mostly because we couldn’t find the exit and had to keep retracing our steps, added to the fact that he’s the largest most obvious piece in the museum).

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Even though I had to pay €11 to be in his presence, it was very worth it to experience in person one of the greatest pieces of art in all of history.

Family Travel Tips

  • Getting there: The road to get to the Galleria dell’Accademia is in the southeast corner of San Marco square.  Several bus lines make a stop there.
  • Larger Families: The Galleria dell’Accademia is a museum, but it wasn’t the quietest museum I’ve ever been in, so any age children are welcome.  Scott was sick the morning I went, so he lovingly offered to babysit Carter so I could go myself and I do appreciate not being rushed in studying David.
  • What Not To Miss: Pretty self-explanatory.  Don’t miss David.  It’s pretty hard to miss him though since he is the center of the museum and by far the biggest thing there.
  • What To Bring: Camera!  You are able to take pictures inside the Galleria, you just aren’t allowed to use flash photography.
  • Total Cost: €11.  The normal price is €6.50 unless there is a special exhibit going on, then it’s €11.  Be sure to check the website for hours and updated prices.  According to this article, All non-EU minors under 18 get in for free.

My Heart Belongs to the Duomo

There’s this cathedral in Florence, Italy and it’s caught my eye.  It’s so unique in it’s architecture and design to other buildings here.  You can see this building peaking its dome out between the narrow streets and it’s overwhelming when you break through the tall buildings into the open piazza.

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Formally known as The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, but commonly called Duomo di Firenzi, this building has my heart.  I get giddy when I see its dome from my kitchen window.  My mouth drops in awe as I watch the sun set over it.  I gasp every time I enter its piazza and try to take in all its beauty.

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Am I a little obsessed?  Maybe.  But the Duomo deserves it.

 

San Miniato Al Monte

Each day that we go out to explore Florence, Scott and I take turns planning the itinerary. On this particular day, Scott insisted on not discussing the plans with me, but told me that I wouldn’t be disappointed (Honestly, it would be hard to be disappointed in Florence!). We went to a different bus stop than our usual one to get into the city, so I was getting more and more curious.

After curving through some hills deep in trees, the bus pulled into a large parking area with a beautiful view of the city. I was commenting on how beautiful the view was and how different it was being in the hills versus the city and Scott tells me, “Oh this isn’t it. Let’s keep going.” And off we went continuing up the hill. We came to a huge staircase with these large semicircular recesses or niches.

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Once we started up the stairs we could see this beautiful building on the hill. We climbed several tall stairs and were in awe of not only the church, but also the view!

The inside and outside of the church were gorgeous. The garden surrounding the church and monastery was all a cemetery. We came early so there was no one else there and it was very peaceful. Carter loved walking around, climbing stairs, and playing in the rocks.

We found out about this church from Florence for Free and we used their article to learn about the history and significance of it all.

 

Family Travel Tips

  • Getting there: This trip just takes a simple bus ride.  You could walk, but again, it’s all uphill so I highly recommend the bus since it’s cheap (or free, if you have an extended-stay pass).
  • Larger Families: Even with 3 or more kids this trip is still completely doable, albeit probably shorter (due to attention spans). Your only costs would be the bus tickets to get there, and unless you have a lot of younger children who have trouble walking up stairs or staying quiet (while in the extremely echo-y cathedral), this shouldn’t be a problem. There is no ramp or lift access, so plan accordingly.
  • What Not To Miss Don’t miss the courtyard, or the cemetery which starts to the left and wraps around the back of the entire cathedral – it’s got some of the most stunning gravestones and tombs we’ve ever seen. If you’re taking the bus from the east you’ll likely be dropped off near the parking lot of the Piazzale Michelangelo, which is another famous Florence landmark for its panoramic view of the city. You’ll do better to just head up to San Miniato, which has just as wonderful (if not better) views and a much smaller crowd.
  • What To Bring: There’s not a lot of benches, but there are a lot of places to sit on the wall overlooking the city. Bringing a lunch here wouldn’t be inappropriate, but don’t expect to get a full picnic spread on – there’s not much grass to lounge in. When walking around the cemetery, be aware there’s tons of mosquitoes eager to have YOU for lunch, so plan accordingly.
  • Total Cost: 0. Shouldn’t cost you any more than a bus ticket, and for us it was free since we already had the monthly bus pass. If you’re dying to make it more expensive, the monks have a nice little shop with handmade items that might make for fun coffee table stories when you get back home.

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We’re not even a week into Florence

We’re not even a week into being in Florence, Italy and I feel like we’ve seen so much!  But on the other hand, there is still more to see.  We’ve come up with the perfect schedule for exploring and working, the weather has been beautiful every day, and we’ve found the perfect blog to help with our excursions!  The past few days here in Florence have been pretty much perfect.

It’s captivating to walk through the narrow streets between the tall buildings just to have it open up to a piazza full of people, fancy stores, and the most beautiful buildings I’ve ever seen.  They’re huge and intricate and full of history!  I wasn’t too interested in Humanities back in college, but I really wish I paid more attention.  Luckily, I get to experience it firsthand and learn about it all over again.

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I’m in love with Florence, and I’m going to be very sad when we have to leave.