Wake up and open the shutters. The apartment we’ve rented has beautiful high ceilings and faintly bonkers full-wall prints of artworks which somehow look great. We have tea for breakfast as we’re still trying to recover from yesterday’s food tour (although lusting after more coccoli, which we suspect will become a normal state of being over the next few days).
At the Pitti palace. It’s almost devoid of other visitors, and we have the Palatine Gallery to ourselves before the first tour groups begin to arrive. The layout is eccentric and has apparently been kept true to the way in which the Medici liked to display their art works. That is, plastered over every inch of free wall space. Fantastic. This is a good place to see works by Botticelli and Titian, although our hearts were stolen by the particularly badass Judith with the head of Holofernes by Cristofano Allori.
One thing we’ve learnt about Florence is that it really pays to get up early to avoid the crowds, especially since we love to take our time and linger among the artworks.
When we can art no more, we head to the cafe for a nice sit down and a cappuccino. The outdoor terrace – tucked away in the downstairs courtyard – is beautiful, but the January cold forces us inside.
A quick shufty around the costume gallery, where we are intrigued to see some original medieval clothes. We’ve become slightly obsessed with the Medicis since arriving in Florence, although it’s difficult not to. Every place you visit is seemingly full of Medici anecdotes, and plastered with reminders of the family who built much of Florence. And now we’re looking at Cosimo’s trousers.
It’s a beautiful day so we stroll through the Boboli gardens, taking in the views of the city. It feels great to be in a quiet green space after the noise of the city.
Leave the Boboli gardens via the Via del Forte di San Giorgio. We walk down the steep Via di Belvedere, where a small olive grove hugs the outside of the old city walls. We don’t meet a soul on the way down. It seems that we really have stepped outside of the city limits. From there it’s a steep climb up Via del Monte alle Croci and then the beautiful steps to Piazzale Michelangelo. There’s a viewpoint over the city, with great views over the Duomo, the river and Santa Croce. We walk away from the crowds up the the impressive, candlelit basilica of the Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte (which also houses the wonderful Farmacia Monastica) before walking back down into the city.
Lunch at Il Pizzaiuolo, a small pizza place in Santa Croce that’s come highly recommended. It doesn’t disappoint. Afterwards, we go to Nencioni, a local pasticcheria that we discovered on yesterday’s food tour, where we order chocolate pudding and the extravagant ‘fedora’.
After a quick nap, we head out for a walk. The Loggia dei Lanza is open every evening, and it’s great to see it without the crowds.
After all the pizza and cake we decide that we don’t really need much dinner and duck into a bar near the apartment for a drink. Mistake! The aperitivo is irresistible and we quickly become obsessed with their savoury coccoli. A few drinks (and many coccoli) later, we head home to bed.