“We call it ‘dolce far niente’, the sweetness of doing nothing.
“And is it such a bad thing to live like this for just a little while? Just for a few months of one’s life, is it so awful to…nap in a garden, in a patch of sunlight, in the middle of the day, right next to your favorite fountain? And then to do it again the next day?” ~Elizabeth Gilbert*
Tips for Florence:
1. Be prepared to walk. Walk a lot. You might get a little lost in the heart of the city, but you can always find where you are based on the river.
2. Buy your museum tickets ahead of time, either at a tourist office when you get there, or online. And plan to go early in the morning – trust me, it’s worth it.
3. Remember that going into the cathedral of Il Duomo is free. Going to see the underground museum is not free, and pretty much everywhere else is also not free.
4. Stop at places when you pass them. You don’t know when they will be open again, you don’t know if they close early, you might not be able to find the place again. If that pretty café on the corner is open when you pass it, and you can smell pastries coming out of the oven, and there’s no line yet, go in.
Don’t wait to come back later. It will be closed indefinitely with a “Back Later” sign, and you will be sad.
5. Grazie mille for thank you very much. Cuesta? How much does it cost? Uno piccolo i cono. Frutti di Bosco. A small cone with Raspberry gelato.
6. Piazza di San Spirito for Aperitivo, for pasta, for gelato. Be sure to go to a restaurant that offers a buffet with Aperitivo.
7. Climb up to the top of the Piazzale Michelangelo. Sunset + music + the view = perfection.
8. Whenever possible, try to latch onto a tour group and listen in to the guide. Sometimes, reading all the explanations starts to make everything seem like one big painting, and it gets really overwhelming.
9. Book train tickets with Italo preferably, not Trenitalia. The Italo trains are nicer, roomier, with more seat space, and they tend to leave from the Santa Maria train station, which is the central one, and not the one that is far away and has only one café for food, and you have to take a taxi and stress because the taxi driver almost ran over pretty much everybody on the way there and nearly took out the corner of a house.