Statue of David
I was surprised at how much there was to see and do while in Florence. We started by seeing Michelangelo’s famous Statue of David. It was surreal and even the kids loved it! As expected, my 6 year old boy didn’t hesitate to make it a tiny bit awkward! haha Boys will be boys. Anyway, there were lots of other amazing things to see in the museum. I definitely recommend doing this!
When leaving the museum, we walked around and came to a beautiful cathedral (known as ‘duomo’ in Italy). They had a beautiful Christmas tree and nativity set up for Christmas. The Christmas lights up and down the streets along with the street musician playing hymns on her violin made for an incredible night! The best part about it was that it was completely unplanned. We never had plans to go see this cathedral and would’ve missed out on the experience! It taught us a valuable lesson to ease up on the planning. Leave time for exploring and see where you end up!
Tower of Pisa
When you’re in Florence, make sure you plan a road trip to go see the Tower of Pisa and the Cinque Terre villages! We first went to Pisa. The tower was incredible!!! It was so fun to take fun pictures – the kids got more into it than I did! There are a bunch of grassy lawns, but you’re not supposed to walk on them, so you need to be a little creative when taking the pictures…which is why I jumped up onto a post! Brandon and my sister, Chauncey (our temporary travel nanny – can I get a WOOT!WOOT!) climbed up to the top of the tower! Me and my insane fear of heights were more than happy to stay at the bottom with the kids. My oldest son wanted to go, too, but you have to be 8 years old. He says he wants to come back when he’s older, so he can go up there with his Dad.
After Pisa, we headed toward the Cinque Terre region. Cinque Terre is made up of 5 small villages along the coastline. You’re unable to drive your car through Cinque Terre, but there is a train that leaves from La Spezia. There’s also a boat that can take you from the first village to the last, and vice versa. I would plan at least 2 days to see these cute villages. Each has their own unique charms and views. When you’re walking through the towns, make sure you look for hidden trails and stairways. More often than not, they lead to incredible views!
Friends in Florence
We spent our last day in Florence with an American family we met at church. They are a super sweet family who moved to Italy 6 years ago. The father was away for work, but we met up with the beautiful mother and her 6 children. We went ice skating in a local park and then she made us an amazing meal back at her house. It was a night to remember! My kids became friends with her kids right away and it was so nice to sit and talk (in English!) to such nice people. Her house was in an ancient building with so much character! She actually has a whole apartment upstairs that she rents out to visitors. She also brings visitors on private tours around the area. Her knowledge of the area was incredible! We would love to return someday and stay in her upstairs apartment! Can you imagine how much fun my kids would have?! If you’re ever planing a trip to Florence, start by visiting her website!
If you’re looking for a cute little Italian town filled with medieval brick buildings and cobblestone streets, Siena would be it! After we left Florence, we went and spent 3 days in Siena and all we did was walk around. It was lovely in every direction! Siena sits atop a hill and is surrounded by a large brick wall. If you stay inside those city walls, you’re practically in the heart of Siena. The town square (called Piazza del Campo) and the cathedral (Siena Duomo) are really fascinating!