Thursday, June 20

Florence I: exploration

Early one morning we fly to Pisa airport and then an ungainly square train rattles us eastwards to Florence. We feel sticky, hot, crumpled from our 4am start. A tiring navigation of Florence’s narrow streets and cobbled walkways awaits us, but by lunchtime we have crossed the Arno, dodged at least twenty scooters, climbed four flights of stairs and are lying in blissful collapse in our apartment for the week. 

We discovered the apartment through Airbnb (a super service for reasonably priced, lovely accommodation in all kinds of countries). It is wonderful, the sun in residence most of the day. The walls are white, the ceiling high, and the floor old oak. In the morning we are woken by the singing of Italian bin men, in the evening I watch a man in the apartment across the street prepare fresh pasta for a late supper. I never tire of the view of rooftops, of seeing the sun fall across them as night falls. We’re located south of the river Arno, a few minutes’ walk away from the crowds of tourists and tack, in the streets of Florence where the locals live, where there are lots of supermercatos and you can hear local children playing noisily in the elementary schools at lunchtime. 

Ponte Vecchio would be lovely without the crowds, street sellers and tack that cheap travel and tourism have brought. It is a good spot from which to survey the river though; that wide expanse that cuts cleanly (though with murky waters) through the buildings of Florence. We cross the bridge every day and learn that there’s a fine art to walking over it quickly.

Wandering the streets of Florence becomes a favourite pastime of mine. I love looking up to see shadowed, shuttered buildings rise up either side of me in brown, orange and white. There is so much to look at that we don't feel the need to visit every single museum and gallery. We walk past interesting signs, old typography, hidden rooftop gardens and cafes. There are little dark shops full of curious objects. I see boxes of flowers at every window ledge, pushbikes and scooters at every junction. There are good pizza places and not-so-good pizza places. Secret bakeries, statues old and new and so many lovely old cars. I miss the trees and green spaces of London like crazy, but for now I am content to explore the cobbles and corners of Florence.


  1. Beautiful pictures, even if they made me insanely jealous when posting them on Instagram! x

  2. what is your instagram name? i love the fiat 500 from behind! and the sitting room!

  3. Beautiful words and gorgeous photos Kate, you make me long to return to Florence. I think it has to be one of my favourite places in the world!