Florence was one of the main reasons I wanted to visit Tuscany. I'd watched the film A Room with a View when I was in my teens, and it made a huge impression on me. I had a vision in my head of a beautiful city with domes, bridges, and roofs of terracotta tiles, and it didn't disappoint.
My first view of Florence was as the plane came in to land at the airport. I was lucky enough to be sitting on the side that had an amazing view of the Arno and the Duomo. The following day the tour group spent most of the day in Florence. We had a guided tour, starting at the Duomo, passing the Piazza della Republica, into the Piazza della Signoria, where we saw lots of interesting statues, and then inside the Uffizi Gallery.
It was amazing to see all the famous works of art, and there were some great views from the windows, but it was a bit exhausting as there was so much to see and some rooms were very crowded.
After that we headed to the Piazza di Santa Croce, which was to be our meeting point later. After seeing a demonstration of some of the goods on offer at a gold shop, I headed off to explore on my own.
I headed to the Arno, walked along a bit, passing the Galileo Museum which I noted for a future visit, and crossed over. Unfortunately there wasn't enough time for me to go to the Boboli Gardens and do it justice, so that's also definitely on my list for next time. I crossed back over the river at the Ponte Vecchio, then headed back towards the Piazza di Santa Croce, having a look at some of the shops.
There was some time left before we were due to meet, so I went around Santa Croce Basilica. This was a real highlight for me, as I found it fascinating to see the tombs and memorials of so many famous people: Michelangelo, Galileo, Dante, Machiavelli, Rossini, Fermi and Marconi among many others. I had to go round quickly, so I'd love to go back and look in more depth. There was also a lovely cloister area which was amazingly peaceful despite being so close to the hustle and bustle of the Piazza.
Florence is an amazing city, which appealed to both my arty and scientific sides, and, as you can probably tell, I've already started a list of places to visit next time I go!