Florence and Modena

When Visited

  • Oct 2014

On the way from Padova to Florence

  • We planned to spend most of the day driving to Florence by stopping at a few locations along the way. One turned out to be one of the unexpected favorite activities of our entire trip.  We visited a balsamic vinegar factory (really more like a wine vineyard) in Modena – known world-wide for their balsamic vinegar.  The vinegar was so good, they even served it to us over Italian ice cream before we left.  Sounds terrible but it was delicious.  We bought some to bring back home with us.
  • We also stopped at the Lambourgini factory in Sant’Agata Bolgonese. That was not a highlight.  They wanted 20 Euro just to walk through their Lambourghini museum – we passed on that.


  • A beautiful city and, of course, home to a number of the most famous museums in the world. The only downside to our stay was the VRBO we stayed in.  It was our least favorite of the trip.  Its location was great – easy walking distance into the city from just south over the Arno river – near Pont Vechhio, which is one of the oldest, medieval covered bridges in all of Italy.
  • Highlights of our stay here included …
    • Galleria Dell’ Academia. This is the home to Michelangelo’s David.
    • Galleria Degli Uffizi – aka the Uffizi Gallery.   A wonderful museum filled with many separate rooms dedicated to various masters, like Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Botticelli and Titian – to name just a few.
    • Seeing the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. This is the huge, central cathedral in Florence – visible from just about anywhere.  The main Duomo (huge dome built by Brunelleschi) is spectacular.  It apparently was the model from which Michelangelo designed the dome at St Peter’s in Rome.
      • We had read the inside of the Basilica was not nearly as spectacular as the outside so we didn’t bother to take a tour inside. Ghiberti’s bronze Baptistry Doors  –  The Gates of Paradiseare located at the main entrance of the Baptistry – which is right across from  the main entrance to the Basilica.  The Baptisty was surrounded by scaffolding when we were there but we got some  nice pictures of those spectacular doors.
      • Another common activity is to go up to the top of the Duomo for, what I imagine are wonderful views of the city. I chose not to, although there is an elevator that takes you almost all the way to the top.  I did later walk the steps up to the top of St Peter’s dome in Rome.  That was amazing.  More about that later.
    • The Piazza Michelangelo. It’s like a park with a great view of Florence, and of the Duomo, from just across the Arno to the south, very near to where our VRBO was located.  Either walk, drive or take a bus up to the top and you will be rewarded with some of the best views and pictures in all of Florence.
    • Taking a walk at night through the main city centre is recommended. That goes for any city or town in Italy.  Usually, each city has its own main basilica, and they are often beautifully lit at night.
    • A tip. We purchased tickets online for the Uffizi Gallery and the Galleria Dell’Academi ahead of our visit. That will really allow you to skip the long lines that usually form to purchase tickets for those who don’t get tickets until they arrive.
    • If you get a chance, and haven’t already read it, read Dan Brown’s Inferno before visiting Florence. The intrepid Professor Langdon is once again the hero, as he was in both the Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons.  But this novel takes place primarily in Florence.


Pictures from Florence and Modena


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