Duomo Florence

The Best of Florence with Walks of Italy

The smaller and cuter version of me used to be a bit of a history and art buff, always eager to visit museums and learn as much as I could, devotedly listening to my nan’s history lessons whenever we explored anywhere new. Now, when I explore somewhere new, I prefer getting to know the place I’m in by trying the local food and meeting people, sitting and watching the city come to life and getting lost off the beaten track. Museums don’t interest me as much and there’s a limit to the amount of history, facts and figures my brain can take before my eyes start to droop with boredom.

But our trip to Florence threw us headfirst into a city bursting with a rich history, some of the world’s greatest art, more churches and cathedrals than we could possibly visit in 2 days, and all at the centre of the Italian Renaissance. Even though simply eating our way around Florence would have sufficed for the whole trip (seriously, the food is amazing), I didn’t want to leave without learning more about this beautiful city.

The Fountain of Neptune in Florence

So when Walks of Italy offered to show us around the Tuscan capital during our trip, the eager to learn little girl inside of me couldn’t resist.

Our sunny morning started just around the corner from our hotel where we met our guide, Ismael, and the rest of our small group. We were each given a headset which meant we would be able to hear Ismael from wherever we were despite all the noisy crowds in the centre of touristy Florence. It was especially handy for me as it meant I could wander off taking photos without missing out on hearing all the important info and asking Mr Ayla to relay it all for me later.

It’s never too early for a bit of nudity so our first stop was the Accademia. We jumped the queue and went straight in to see some of Michelangelo’s sculptures, the most important being David, one half of David and Goliath and one of the most famous statues in the world.

David in the Accademia Florence

I have to admit that all 14 foot of David is quite an impressive sight to look up at. He also has some pretty perfect bum cheeks despite some other parts of him being, shall we say, slightly out of proportion.

Michelangelo's David Florence

Michelangelo's David Florence

After learning all about David, from his creation in the early 1500’s to more recently when people have tried to destroy parts of him, we left the Accademia and headed to an artist’s workshop.  At this point we started to think it was going to be one of those typical tours where we’re pressured into buying something in a shop, but we simply had a chance to see some of the artist’s work and ask any questions before we saw some more of the city.

Artist workshop in Florence

Ismael showing us some works of art in the making

Unfortunately, as it was around the Easter weekend, the Duomo was closed on the day of our tour which meant we couldn’t see inside. Ismael (and Walks of Italy) had no advance notice of this but Ismael made up for it by showing us some other sights around the city and it didn’t seem like we’d missed out on anything at all.

Not being able to see the Duomo just gives me an excuse (like I really need one) to visit Florence again!

Duomo in Florence

Florence’s Duomo

The rest of the morning was spent wandering down Florence’s narrow cobblestone roads, visiting old cathedrals, watching replica artwork being created, rubbing a bronze pig’s nose for good luck, spotting street art, and hanging out in Piazza della Signoria with its weird and wonderful sculptures.

Piazza della Signoria Florence

Piazza della Signoria

I was actually surprised at how enraptured I became listening to Ismael tell us all about the city’s history and I was rather pleased with myself when I was able to answer a couple of his questions (I always did like being the teacher’s pet). To stop our heads from getting too overloaded with information, we were treated to plenty of quirky and funny stories too.  Ismael knew his audience and he kept us interested for the entire morning.

Baptistry doors in Florence

The golden Baptistery Doors and Gates of Paradise

Porcellino pig in Florence

Rubbing the boar’s nose for good luck

Our final stop was the Ponte Vecchio, where we walked along the bridge and looked out across the Arno River.

With a few last anecdotes and some recommendations on where to get a good bite to eat nearby (of utmost importance when in Italy), we ended the tour with a lot more knowledge of this beautiful city than we had gained when wandering around ourselves the day before.

Arno River Florence

Have you been to Florence?  What was your favourite thing about the city?  Let me know in the comments below or find me at:

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Lots of thanks to Walks of Italy who hosted our Best of Florence tour.  We loved exploring and learning about this beautiful Italian city!

22 thoughts on “The Best of Florence with Walks of Italy

  1. The Vagabond Baker says:

    Oh Italy, I really do need to go back and actually see some of this spectacular country rather than just the tiny corner of it I have seen!
    That walk sounds really interesting, massively historic places can be rather overwhelming if you try to see it all by yourself, I think a guide can make it so much easier to understand.
    Very nice cheeks indeed!

    • Ayla says:

      Every time we go to Italy we just fall in love with it more and more. Yes, exactly – we had no clue what we were really looking at when we wandered around by ourselves so having a guide was great. We got plenty of interesting information but not enough to boggle our minds! xx

      • Ayla says:

        Haha I do try to google some things beforehand and be Alex’s guide but I’m afraid my standards just did not match to our Walks of Italy guide!

  2. Lucy Dodsworth (@lucydodsworth) says:

    Sounds like a great tour – I did a Walks of Italy trip around Pompeii and it was fascinating, really brought the place to life hearing the stories about the people who lived there. Florence is definitely one to visit soon, I’ve got no clue about art history so a guide would be a good plan!

    • Ayla says:

      I can imagine their tour of Pompeii would be brilliant – so much fascinating history to learn about the place. It’s easy to walk around Florence and do it all yourself but we got so much more out of the city by having a guide. I’d definitely recommend it!

  3. Upasna | Life On My Plate says:

    Wow, looks like you packed in quite a bit on the walk! I took one with ‘Walks of New York’ last year, and they’re really very good! I think this is the same company so I’m sure your walk must have been great! Florence looks absolutely fascinating 🙂

    • Ayla says:

      It was only a morning walk but we saw loads! Yes, they do quite a few walks around the world so good to hear the walks in other places are interesting too! Florence is just beautiful 🙂

  4. Nita says:

    Amazing city indeed! I really loved Florence and also thoroughly enjoyed my tour with Walks of Italy. They are the best; so informative and actually lots of fun! Florence is so beautiful, isn’t it? Glad you had a great time there 🙂 Lovely post and photos!

    • Ayla says:

      I was worried it would be too informative for me but it was actually really interesting and the fun facts helped too! Thanks Nita – it’s such a lovely city 🙂

  5. Laura says:

    I was in Florence on Easter Monday and I agree, definitely need to go back. I loved wandering around the old streets and marvelling at all the statues; I love a place where you can really feel the history. Fantastic shots!

  6. Packing my Suitcase says:

    Ohh it seems to me your walking tour was pretty cool!
    I have been to Florence before, but I don’t remember much apart from the naked statues hahaha 😀 but I want to go back there sometime and explore the city longer.
    Love your pictures by the way 😀

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