“Been there, done that.”  Why go again?

It’s actually very rewarding to revisit a city that boasts a long list of must-sees and -dos,  where your first visit was spent running around making sure you didn’t miss anything from the list.  It can be so hectic and stressful! But on the return visit, it can be more leisurely, more enjoyable and you have more time to smell and sip the cappuccinos.

Such was our time on a return visit in Florence. We didn’t  have to line-up and spend half a day to see the arts in Uffizi , elbow our way through the thick crowds in La Accademia to see the sculpture  of David, check out every grand palaces and landmark churches, etc.

We had no itinerary, no agenda. We just wandered aimlessly around the city and took delight in the familiar, something new and trivial. It was truly enjoyable to experience Florence at our leisure. Let us share with you some of the things we saw and did during our spontaneous  meanderings.

Sacristy of the Duomo, Florence, Italy

The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, more known as “The Duomo,”

Happy to finally drive into Florence and see some familiar structures after our travels from the Tuscan countryside.

Hotel Continentale, Florence, ItalyWe normally just drop our luggage in the room and run out to explore after checking in at our hotel.  Not this time. We felt no need to rush. It was a luxury to just relax and to enjoy  the view of Arno River and Ponte Vecchio (“Old Bridge”) from our hotel room window.

Street in Florence, ItalyRe-energized, we then started our aimless wandering of this city that is so ancient and so cosmopolitan at the same time.

Street Art in Florence, ItalyWe enjoyed stumbling into incredible street arts. No tickets, no line!

And we took pleasure in every delightful thing that caught our eyes.

Motobikes and zegway in Florence, Italy

Left: Typical mode of city transport.   Right: Fun mode of transport.

Tiny cars in Florence, Italy

Cute mode of city transport.

Upscale shops in Florence, ItalyWe had a great time window shopping and fantasizing for true blue Italian brands.

Food in Florence, ItalyWe let ourselves drool at delicious Italian grub that teased us everywhere we turned.

Ino, Deli and Wine Bar, Florence, ItalyIf there was one agenda we had, it was to find real good eats. We had enough time to look for well-recommended restaurants like this delightful lunch place, ‘INO (short for panino). Each order of its delicious panino (sandwich) came with a glass of wine. How civil!

Duomo, Florence, ItalyWe walked by the Il Duomo, the main church of Florence, and still swooned at its magnificence.

Cllimbing steps to the top of the Duomo, Florence (Firenze), ItalyWe thought we needed to work off  the calories from all the food indulgence we had in the countryside, so why not  climb the 463 steps to the top of Duomo?  Besides, we had  the time and…..

…who would  get tired of these spectacular views of Florence from the top?

View from top of Duomo, Florence, Italy

View of Florence from the top of Il Duomo.

View from top of Duomo, Florence, Italy.

View of Florence from the top of Il Duomo.

Plazza della Signora, Florence, Italy

Piazza Della Signora

Plazza dela Signora, Florence, ItalyWe enjoyed our stroll around historic Piazza della Signora and leisurely examined and admired  its many  amazing outdoor sculptures, instead of lining up to enter the landmark buildings that surround it.







Church of Santa Maria de Novella, Florence, ItalyWalking by the Santa Maria de Novella, one of the most important Gothic churches in Florence.

Carousel in Piazza Republica, Florence, ItalyWe had a pleasant time strolling around and people-watching from the cafes at Piazza della Repubblica, one of the main squares of Florence, during day and night.

Leather Market at day, cafe at night, Florence, ItalyThis open air building is a hectic leather market during the day. We walked by one night and was surprised to see that it transformed into a lovely bar/cafe in the evening.

La Terazza Rooftop Bar at Hotel Continentale, Florence, ItalyDuring the day, we enjoyed hanging out in the rooftop of our hotel and admire the beautiful view of Florence from there. During the night, the rooftop turns into a lively bar where we had fun hanging out with locals and visitors alike.

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, ItalyWe soaked in the tranquility, beauty and romance of Arno River and its iconic bridge, Ponte Vecchio, during our early morning walks.

Ponte Vecchio and Arno River, Florence, Italy

Ponte Vecchio’s painterly reflection on the water of Arno River.

Arno River, Florence, Italy

The beautiful buildings along Arno River.

Ponte Vecchio and Arno River, Florence, Italy

Arno River and Ponte Vecchio.

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, ItalyWe were fascinated by the different scenes on Ponte Vecchio at different times of the day. Left: The tranquil scene on the bridge early in the morning.  Right: The  hectic scene with throngs of  shoppers and passersby  by mid-morning.

Ponte Vecchio at night, Florence, ItalyWe certainly indulged in the romance of Arno and Ponte Vecchio at night.

Ponte Vecchio at night, Florence, Italy

Ponte Vecchio and its beautiful reflection on the water of Arno  later in the evening.

Dinner at Borga San Jacobo Restaurant along the Arno River, Florence, ItalyEnjoying a delicious and romantic  dinner along the Arno River with a lovely view of Ponte Vecchio.

Musicians on Ponte Vecchio, Florence, ItalyListening to the street musicians on Ponte Vecchio late at night.

On our third day, having enough of leisurely time in the city,  we thought, “Hey, let’s go to Chianti!”


Linking to Travel Photo Thursday , Travel Photo Discovery, Mosaic Monday, and Reflections En Route.

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About Marisol

Taking you on our journey one photo - and footstep - at a time.

65 responses to “Florence At Leisure

  1. Katie

    I would love to revisit Florence like you did, just to walk around and soak it in. It’s one of my favorite cities. The food!! Too bad my trip there was before my blogging days and I took zero food pictures.
    Katie recently posted..Ethical Travel GuideMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Katie, I really hope you get to revisit soon. I’m sure yo will enjoy it as much as we did. Oh yes, the food. I actually took a lot of food photos. Unfortunately, I lost them (long story).

  2. Molly S

    Beautiful photos! Florence looks lovely. I love just wandering around cities too – you see all kinds of things that you’d miss if you were ticking off the major sights!

    • Marisol

      Thanks Molly. It is a lovely city. True, it’s amazing the delightful things you discovery is you’re not running around the city like crazy.

  3. You brought back more happy memories. . .we also climbed to the top of the Duomo and the views were as spectacular as you showed them. Your hotel appeared to be in a perfect location – what a stunning view! And you’ve described our favorite way to travel — without agendas or itineraries!!
    Jackie Smith recently posted..Greece: Finding ourselves in “Pigi” HeavenMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Jackie, so glad we were able to brought you fond memories of the city. Yes, those view from the Duomo were truly spectacular that we didn’t mind climbing to see it again. There’s truly is something liberating in traveling without agendas or itineraries.
      Marisol recently posted..Florence At LeisureMy Profile

  4. The laid back, no itinerary kind of vacation is what eludes me so far. It must have been so energizing, so relaxing to take your time and sip that capuccino as slowly as you want to. Well done.
    Photo Cache recently posted..SkywatchingMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Maria, yes, its was energizing and liberating as well not to follow any itinerary. I hope you can have a laid back travel sometime soon.

  5. I LOVE that street art, it’s amazing how professional and real it looks, wow! And totes agree…while the first time visiting a new place is spent cramming in the “must-sees”, it’s the second time that it can really be enjoyed!;-)
    Jess @UsedYorkCity recently posted..Intermission: This Is Our YouthMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Jess, glad you totes agree:) Yes, those street arts were truly amazing.

  6. jan

    I really enjoyed strolling around Florence with you. Both you and I did posts on revisiting places and how relaxing it was. Isn’t it wonderful that both experiences could still be so polar different. :) Love the capturing of the moment in the last photo. Brava!
    jan recently posted..Short Breaks like a Wongaling Beach Mini-Break can be a life saverMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Jan, thanks. Glad you enjoyed. I agree, the experiences from the second visit is far different from the first.

  7. Marcia

    Beautiful photos, Marisol! You know, with so many places to visit, we sometimes don’t want to return to a place we’ve been but if I had to have a re-do, it’d be Florence. It’s such a beautiful city, a great place to relax and do some slow travel.
    Marcia recently posted..Costa Rica, Pura VidaMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Marcia, I know with too many destinations to visit we tend to think twice about revisiting a place. But there are places that are really worth a return visit such as Florence. I’m happy we did.

  8. Bama

    There are indeed places worth second, third or even fourth visit. Ubud in Bali was one of those places for me. Every time I come back there seemed to be another interesting alley and beautiful temple to explore. Beautiful pictures, Marisol! You seem to be living la dolce vita in Italy. :)
    Bama recently posted..Western Flores: Heading to the DragonsMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Bama, the return trip to Italy was indeed La Dolce Vita! From your posts, I can see why you would love to return to Ubud again and again. Keith and I hope to experience it for ourselves soon.

  9. You two are so beautiful, as is that city. Looks like an idyllic getaway! I was there with girlfriends in 2002 and it was all cheap pensiones, drinking boxed wine on trains and riding on motos with Italian boys… a little different to your experience but memorable nonetheless! I will never forget taking a picnic to the top of the Duomo and being scolded by the security guard!
    Sarah Somewhere recently posted..Consuming vs Creating: finding clarity at CostcoMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Oh sweet Sarah, thank you! Your trip sounded fun and memorable- ..especially the riding the motor part:)

    • Marisol

      Hi Rachel thank you, Glad we were able to transport you to this charming city.
      Marisol recently posted..Florence At LeisureMy Profile

  10. You’ve really captured the beauty of Florence in these photos, and I especially like the one of the tiny cars. I’ve been to Florence twice — once with a group tour with my parents and another with my hubby as a cruise ship excursion from Livorno. Hubby and I only had 6-8 hours and were literally flat out running from place to place but slowing down once we were actually at each church/museum/garden. We considered returning this summer with our kids when we were in Italy but decided to skip it. The previous time was so much fun, and I didn’t want to ruin the memory. (Travelling with the kids is anything but leisurely.) When we finally become empty nesters in another decade, I’d like to go back and just relax and explore like the two of you did this time.
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders} recently posted..Villa Borghese: Enjoy the Outdoors in RomeMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Michelle, thanks. I know those tiny cars are really adorable. It’s great that your last visit was a fun memory albeit hectic. I hope you go back in a more relaxing pace. I’m sure 10 years will come by quick:)

  11. Nice photos.

    On our first trip to Europe in 1999, we dropped off our rental car in Florence and then spent the afternoon on a quick tour of the city before boarding an overnight train to Paris.

    Two years later we came back for a three-night stay prior to spending a week in a vacation rental to the south in Tuscany.
    Dick Jordan recently posted..A Perfect Fall Day Along the Big Sur CoastMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Corinne, thanks! Oh no, what happened then? I hope you give Florence a second chance and find its endearing side.

      • Corinne

        I’m not sure why Florence wasn’t my favorite destination in Italy, but I’m sure I will go again. Thanks for linking up with Weekend Travel Inspiration. Hope to see you here again!
        Corinne recently posted..Singapore PostcardMy Profile

    • Kory

      I know, people in highschool used to look at me funny when I told them I was anxiously awaiting the next issue of M.E.A.T. (Originally it meant nothing, it was just supposed to look cool, like W.A.S.O. Then they decided it stood for “Metal Events Around Toronto”. As it became a national mag they changed it to mean &#28A0;Metal-2lternative”.)

  12. I agree that there is something so liberating about returning to a city you have already been to and done the standard tourist activities in. These days, I find my favorite thing to do in cities is just go for a wander and see what I stumble across, and of course, in a city like Florence, that’s a really rewarding activity! (Though, of course, you will also stumble across A LOT of tourists, which is part of why I found our most recent visit so frustrating… it was impossible to escape the crowds, no matter where we went!) For photographers, it’s hard to think of a more engaging and interesting city than Florence, which your photos clearly demonstrate!
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..A Tale of Two London MarketsMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Steph, this time in Florence was really a liberating experience. Thankfully, there weren’t much tourist crowd in the season. True, Florence is a photographer’s haven.

      • There also appears to be a gulf in the age of the target market. Like, clearly these games are not targetted at adults, whereas, say, Splinter Cell or Asi8;ssn&#a217ss Creed pretty clearly are. And as far as I know, there aren’t games targetted specifically at adult women. Because adult women don’t play games or something (which is hilariously not true, obviously.)

  13. noel

    Ah yes, I remember spending a whole morning just checking out the leather market and going shoe shopping and another day just hanging out a the Boboli gardens all day long and having a picnic with those magnificent views…so looking forward to going back to Italy to spend some time in Bologna and Emilia Romagna area on the east coast
    noel recently posted..A night walking tour in Vienna – Travel Photo MondaysMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Noel, I look forward to hear about your experience in Bologna and Emiglia Romagna!

    • Marisol

      Hi Rajesh, thanks! Glad you enjoyed the photos.

    • Marisol

      Hi Magali, thanks. The reflections in Arno are my favorite as well.

  14. My favorite way to travel is to just leisurely stroll around with no agenda and no list of must-sees to tick off! Sadly, I agree that it’s impossible to do that the first time you’re in a city, because you feel like you must! see! everything! The reason I want to return a 2nd time (and 3rd, and 4th!) is so I can just take my time and slowly explore.

    I haven’t been to Florence yet, and honestly I feel like it gets overshadowed by other Italian cities like Rome or Venice… but now your photos are causing seriously wanderlust for Florence! The view from the Duomo is sooo pretty! And I love the night shots too!
    Anna | slightly astray recently posted..Istanbul: an assault on the sensesMy Profile

    • Marisol

      HI Anna, glad that you can relate about the beauty of the 2nd, or 3rd and even 4th visit. Florence is truly wonderful. I hope you get to make it there soon. Glad you enjoyed the photos:) Thanks for the visit, my dear.

  15. It was so nice to visit Florence from the comfort of my office through your camera. Spectacular views and a glass of wine with a panini does sound very civil indeed!
    Thank you for linking to Mosaic Monday Marisol.

    • Marisol

      Hi Judith, I’m glad you enjoyed the visit. Thanks for hosting Mosaic Monday.

  16. Anda

    Your beautiful post and pictures brought back some old memories. Florence was the first city we visited outside the Iron Curtain when we emigrated from Romania. It was a revelation for us who never set foot outside the border before. We still have a picture with our 3-year old son on Ponte Vecchio … 25 years ago. I also was extremely impressed by the Ufizzi Gallery. What a great city!

    • Marisol

      Hi Anda, I’m pleased we were able to bring back some old memories. It must have been an incredible experience for your family to travel outside the border for the first time. Have you written a post about it. It sounds like it would make an interesting story.

  17. These beautiful photos and your aimless meanderings have got me so excited about our trip to Florence in a couple of months. We’ll only be there for a day and a half but overwhelmed with so much to do. We’re trying to narrow it down. :-) Thanks for that recommendation on Ino. Love the reflection shots and your views from the top.
    Mary {The World Is A Book} recently posted..Strolling through the Golden Pavilion KyotoMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Mary, I hope you really narrow it down really well. There are so many beautiful things to see and can be overwhelming on the first visit. But hey, it will only give you more reason to return.

  18. oh wonderful wonderful. I have so missed visiting your blog over the last few weeks, and you have served up a treat for us. Yes, there is something comforting about revisiting a city, revisiting favourite places, and discovering new ones you didn’t have time for first time around. Thank you for taking us to what looks like a beautiful and fascinating city. Happy travels, and thank you so much for visiting my blog and for your kind thoughts. I really appreciated them. thank you.

    • Marisol

      Hi Jill, I’m glad you found Florence wonderful. It truly is fascinating. I hope you’re doing well.

  19. Agness

    Did you find Florence as romantic as they say? Judging by your photos, you did! Absolutely amazing stay. Is Florence expensive at all? Love the food you tried, absolutely yummy!
    Agness recently posted..How To Overcome Your Fear Of Moving AbroadMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Agness, yes we certainly did. You can feel more of its romance if you visit in off-season. It’s cost like any typical Western Europen cities, but I’m sure bargains can be found.
      Marisol recently posted..Remembering Hong KongMy Profile

  20. Those are some really great impressions of Florence, Marisol! It’s wonderful to see that you had time to fully enjoy this vibrant city. Unfortunately we could only spend one afternoon there, but we loved it, even if we couldn’t believe that Florence and Siena one used to rivals and they seemed to be a world apart today. By the way, we saw the same street art painting and musicians on the bridge. We must have been there almost at the same time… 😉
    Dennis Kopp recently posted..Wadden Sea, a World Heritage made of MudMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Dennis, I hope you can return to Florence now that you have the convenience of having the campervan at your disposal. It truly is worth exploring more.
      Marisol recently posted..Remembering Hong KongMy Profile

  21. I love cities with vast old neighbourhoods.
    Firenze somehow slipped out of my list, but I’ve been three times to Italy, so I might pin it out on my 4th trip!
    Lovely photos, just lovely!
    I see, street art in Florence is REAL art!

    • Marisol

      I certainly hope that you make it to Florence on your 4th visit to Italy. Glad you enjoyed the photos.

  22. Mike

    Ya know, I mentioned early to have in-laws or to be adopted. Maybe you and Keith should adopt me! :) This is so beautiful and what a wonderful trip. I would love to climb up to the top of the II Duomo to get that view. Great reflection pics on Arno River too, Marisol :)
    Mike recently posted..A Friend Is Missed Around The WorldMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Mike, we’d love to.! :)
      It truly was a wonderful trip. It would be fun climing the Duomo with you next time and sharing the city’s great eats!
      Marisol recently posted..Remembering Hong KongMy Profile

  23. Freya

    I only visited Florence for one day while on a road trip through Italy. I loved the city and for sure would love to return for a bit longer to explore all. Your photos are breathtaking.
    Freya recently posted..10 Awesome Things to do in SantoriniMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Freya, thank you! You definitely have to return. Florence has so much to offer that one day is definitely not enough.

  24. Sophie

    Going back to cities and seeing the sights slower is almost more fun than the first trip. You actually see the people and the way of life rather than just the attractions. You’re right, no one could get tired of looking at the views of Florence.
    Sophie recently posted..Action, Adventure and Romance in the  Yorkshire DalesMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Sophie, it really much more fun and rewarding if yo get past the attractions and just focused on the people and their wayof life.

  25. We loved Florence, it was our favorite city in our visit to Italy. We were in a place that we could have the feeling of being in a regular day in the local neighborhood and then in a couple of minutes we are in the middle in the loveley historic area….

  26. Simpo. I

    Italy has great places to visit especiall this great city. Florence is a brilliantly sentimental Renaissance city, with hundreds of years of wonderful engineering every step of the way, never neglecting to motivate. One thing you can’t miss is the complex of structures in the Piazza del Duomo, including the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore with its wonderful arch offering far reaching perspectives of the city, the Campanile Bell Tower, and the Baptistry of St John with its broadly luxurious cut bronze entryways. Obviously there are numerous historical centers and exhibitions. You can’t leave without seeing Michelangelo’s David in the Galleria dell’Academia. The San Lorenzo and Little Piggy markets are incredible for shopping and you can unwind in one of Florence’s many parks. Tuscany appreciates an exceptionally hot atmosphere, so for a break from city touring why not go to the shoreline at Viareggio, which is open in less than one and a half hours via auto or prepare. The Crocodile Water Park in Arezzo offers heaps of fun with slides and whirlpools.

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