From the moment that we started budgeting for our European holiday, I have constantly mentioned how important it is that we save for the Leather Market in Florence. Eventually Boyfriend just laughed at me because he felt like all he heard me say all the time was: leather market, leather market, leather market. Then he saw the Leather Market and he understood what I’d BEEN saying all along! (TL)
I’m not saying that I understood why for 18 months one couldn’t even treat themselves to a Kit-Kat because every cent had to be “saved for the leather market”. However I must admit that I was impressed when I eventually saw it. (AM)
But before we get to the leather market, we have to touch on Florence and the beauty of this little city that is the capital of the Italian region of Tuscany. If you’ve ever wanted to say ‘I’m basking in the Tuscan Sun’ then Florence is the place to do it from. Just not in Summer. We headed into Florence on a day where the temperatures reached 41 degrees celcius! Even so, it didn’t stop us from soaking up as much as we possibly could! (TL)
First activity in Florence was drive up to Michelangelo Square. Now this is definitely the place to get those long range views of the city. From here you can also see the Michelangelo statue. Unfortunately it’s a fong-kong one because you obviously can’t just leave one of the most famous statues of all out chilling out in a park. (AM)
Then we headed into the city and our walking tour started with a lovely history lesson on Florence and then we moved on to the Cathedral of Saint Mary, the main church of Florence. You can’t begin to understand the beauty of this cathedral! Construction started in 1296 and was concluded in 1436.
The cathedral complex which is located in Piazza del Duomo, includes the Baptistery and Giotto’s Campanile. These three buildings are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. (TL).
The cathedral is not your average church. Construction of the building started in the 13th century and it took 2 centuries for it to be completed. One of the key features of the church is the massive dome which forms a large part of the exterior and although the initial architect had the vision, technology in construction had not advanced far enough to actually realise his plan and over many years many architects unsuccessfully attempted to come up with solutions and it was only in the 15th century did Filippo Brunelleschi come up with a design and plan which was able to be implemented and the church was finally considered finished. (AM)
There of course was so much more to see, but I’m dying to tell you about the leather market! By the time we arrived in Florence EVERYONE knew how important the leather market was to me and our tour leader directed me to the market immediately. I’m not much of a shopper when I travel because I prefer to spend money on experiences. But this leather market isn’t just normal shopping. I don’t think you can comprehend the quality of leather and value for money that you get here! (TL)
In case you hadn’t already gathered, Girlfriend was rather keen on this whole leather market vibe. Whilst I do love my leather bags, I’m quite happy with the ones I do have and so wasn’t really expecting to get anything out of the visit. So when I left with a new leather backpack and leather jacket, it was a bit of a surprise for all involved. (AM)
Just a few more images of the lovely Tuscan Capital
We stayed over in Montecatini this evening and what a treat! This little town is small, but if ever I’m asked where to go to see ‘real Italy’, I’d suggest Montecatini. It’s quite untouched by tourism and the shops close for the owners to head home to have dinner. The shops then open again after 22:00 in the evening for more business. I thoroughly enjoyed our short stay here!
No visit to Italy would be complete without a visit to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. This was my second time seeing this tower and again it just solidified the fact that I was indeed overseas and seeing things many will only ever get to see in pictures! I think seeing this tower in real life just made me realize again how fortunate I am to have so many of my dreams come true. (TL)