When traveling to Italy, one almost always thinks of narrow alleyways, ivy growing up houses, and lots of little cafés and restaurants serving the best pasta you ever had – but Florence surpassed all these expectations by far.
Without a doubt, Florence is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Of course the charming little streets and the incredible food play into that, but Florence has so much more to offer: even though is is a large city, it seems compact and is thus easy to explore. All the sights worth seeing are within walking distance from each other, and wherever you walk, you will always come across something familiar. The center is, as mentioned, compact, but even outside the heart of the city you can find amiable little shops and cafés that sell cheaper food (but not less delicious), antique book stores, or pizza places.
If you dare to cross the Ponte Vecchio (believe it or not, many tourists don’t), you’ll stumble across the most beautiful neighborhood – more small alleyways of course, but as that side of the bridge is less touristic, you will actually run into students on their way to university, or – not kidding – handsome Italian men in suits on their Vespa (in 35°C weather) with a briefcase on their lap.
One thing that must not be forgotten and is more important than one might expect, is how friendly the Italians in Florence are. No matter who you talk to – the man selling you ice-cream, or an artist you met when you got lost – everyone is so welcoming and interested in talking to you, even if there are language barriers. There is no place like Florence.