After watching the Formula 1 in Graz, I'd booked myself a seat on a SIXTEEN HOUR bus ride to Florence. The things you do to save money. So I was up at 4.30am on a Monday morning and at the bus station to jump on the 5am Flixbus to Italy.
After enjoying probably a little too much between Coatia/Germany/Austria, I was feeling pretty run down and had caught an annoying head cold, so by the time I got to Florence in evening I literally just checked into my hostel and went straight to bed!
Twelve hours sleep later, I was feeling mostly refreshed and went up to the kitchen to see what the 'included breakfast' was all about. I don't normally go for the breakfast that hostels offer because it's usually just bread and cereals which is of no use to me being gluten free. But since this one was at no extra cost I thought I'd check it out at least.
Walking into the room, this little Italian lady with short, snow white hair greets me "Buongiorno!" and actions me to take a seat at one of the tables already set. This is new, table service at a hostel? Awesome. She comes back over to my table with a little basket of fresh toast (to which I have to decline) and asks if I'd like a coffee. Yes a proper Italian coffee, none of that instant stuff here! So of course, for my first coffee in Italy, I ordered an espresso :)
Then off I went to check out the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore and Piazzale Michelangelo!
I think Florence was probably the first place I'd been that felt properly busy. There were so many tourists! (Me included) I couldn't believe it, just like a sea of people, everywhere... For those who know me, you know I'm not the biggest fan of crowds, so I'll do whatever I can to avoid the hustle and bustle.
Avoiding the usual route up to the Piazzale Michelangelo, I ended up walking out of the main city area and up around through a quieter part of town.
I also found the Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte, which wasn't originally on my list to see, but I'm glad I did!
A quick picnic! lunch stop, and then onto the Piazzale Michelangelo and back down into the city!
One of the biggest challenges while in Italy was finding gluten free food while out and about, usually I'd just go to a supermarket and buy some supplies, but it's nice to go out for dinner sometimes! So I Googled it and actually found a place called Mister Pizza that had a huge selection of gluten free pizza! Yum.
I really enjoyed Florence, a gorgeous little city with friendly people, good food and really nice vibe.