A month ago, my friends and I got up super early on a Saturday morning and took the first train out of Milano down to Florence. We got there by nine and then headed straight out to see the sights. We took a little walk through the city past the Duomo, the Palazzo Vecchio, the Pointe Vechico and then headed to the Old Leather School.  

Florence Duomo - Samantha McNeil Blog
Florence Duomo - Samantha McNeil Blog
Samantha McNeil Blog - Florence Arno River

After we picked up a few leather goods, we grabbed cappuccinos in the Piazza di Santa Croce and then headed to the oldest pharmacy in the world, the Officinal Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella. They got their claim to fame when they created their Aqua Della Regina perfume. It was created for Catherine de Medici's wedding to Henry II. I picked up their Casa Rossa perfume which smells heavenly. 

Samantha McNeil Blog - Santa Maria Novella Florence
Samantha McNeil Blog - Eataly Florence

After the perfumery, we headed over to lunch at Eataly (always delicious, plus each location has its own specialty pizzas) over by the Duomo. During lunch the sun had come out a bit more and the haze was gone so we could clearly see all of the colors in the exterior of the Duomo. 

Samantha McNeil Blog - Bell Tower Florence
Samantha McNeil Blog - Florence Duomo
Samantha McNeil Blog - Florence Duomo
Samantha McNeil Blog - Ceiling of the Florence Duomo

We were able to go into the cathedral with no wait. I was shocked at the size of it. The dome was massive and had a beautiful fresco painted onto it. 

Samantha McNeil Blog - Florence Duomo
Samantha McNeil Blog - Arno River Florence
Samantha McNeil Blog - View from the Piazzale Michelangelo

Just before sunset we headed up to the Palace of Michalengalo to take in the views. I was lucky enough to go to Florence 3 years ago and the most memorable part of that trip was watching the sunset over the city from the Palace of Michaelango, so I had to do it again, and it was just as I remembered.  

Samantha McNeil Blog - Sunset at Piazzale Michelangelo Florence

Once the sun set we headed to Gusta's for pizza. It was a tiny little pizzeria with a line out the door, so good and worth the wait. After dinner we grabbed gelato at Calleria, I got stracciatella and dark chocolate. It was the best gelato I've had to date.

Samantha McNeil Blog - Tuscan Sunset in Florence

After gelato we walked through the Piazza della Repubblica, which is beautiful. There is a carousel in the middle of the square and a beautiful arch leading into it. 

Samantha McNeil Blog - Birth of Venus at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence

The next morning we got up and grabbed some brunch and then headed over to the Uffizy gallery. I was so excited to see Bottichellis Primavera again, but of course it was under restoration just for the day we were there. It was still so incredible to see the Birth of Venus and The Wedding Feast again. 

Samantha McNeil Blog - Palazzo Vecchio Florence

After the Uffizy the girls went to see the David (I saw it on my previous trip) and I headed to to Gucci Museum. I loved learning the history of the brand and seeing some of Tom Fords designs in person.  

Samantha McNeil Blog - Gucci Museum, Tom Ford Collection
Samantha McNeil Blog - Gucci Museum, Tom Ford
Samantha McNeil Blog - Gucci Museum, Tom Ford

After the museum I grabbed a cappuccino at the Gucci cafe before heading out to do a little shopping before meeting one of my friends from High Point who is studying abroad in Florence. 

Samantha McNeil Blog - Gucci Museum Florence

After catching up it was time to head back to the train station and back to Milan. It was a quick little trip but I loved seeing Florence three years later. It was fun to see what I remembered and to see the things that I had missed the first time around. 

xx, Samantha