Florence lured me in with the chance to meet a couple of travel friends, but what I found was so much more. The pizza, the gelato, the friends, the sheer beauty of the place. Oh and have I mentioned the gelato yet? It was clear my budget for Florence was going to be decided for me as the city took over.
I fell in love with Italy from that moment on and as I dwell over future travel plans I keep wanting to return there because it just felt right. Such a strange feeling given I wasn’t meant to have seen this part of Europe until some 12 months later.
As with all the beautiful cities I’ve been to so far, the best way to explore them is by foot which is great for anybodies budget. The streets just ooze “I’m an old old place” and while was easily lost in the maze of streets I didn’t care.
I was unlucky on my trip from Munich to Florence and had two trains to catch with very little change over time between them. As was my luck the first train ran very late and which forced into handing over an extra 10 Euro reservation fee. Had I know the train I had to catch for the last 2 hours to Florence was going to have its heater stuck on, there is no way I’d have ever paid.
I booked my hostel on the recommendation of one of my friends I was going to meet in Florence. It was just down the road from them and again not that far from my second friend I wanted to meet up with.
Overall the hostel was alright as long as you forget it had a 2am curfew and has a lockout from your rooms for cleaning between 10am and 2pm. With such amazing weather while I was there we had many nights out drinking so having to end the night so I could go to bed did slightly take away from all the fun. Especially when said friends started to joke about getting me home in time to be tucked in for the night.
Still there was free wifi, good showers, full kitchen with laundry facilities and as I was there during the World Cup a massive projector screen showing the games in the common room.
Florence turned into more of a relax with friends than an explore everything. I did however make time to stop in at the Boboli Gardens which is worth a visit if you can spare the 10 euro entry fee. I ended up spending all morning there just sitting around on the grass in the sun and taking in the view out over Florence.
The other attraction cost was going to the Accademia Gallery to see the David statue. A 1.5 hour wait and 10 euro later I was totally un-impressed. You are far better off checking out the replica at Palazzo della Signoria where you can take a photo and not be herded around inside the museum.
On the free side of things I stopped by the massive Duomo and climbed the endless amount of stairs to Piazzale Michelangelo and scored a great view at Florence from the opposite side of town to the Boboli Gardens.
I was also very lucky to catch a live band performance as my friend Annie’s boyfriends band were playing. The bonus of hanging out with locals as you travel.
Can you say PIZZA and GELATO.Oh dear lord did I enjoy both of these fine foods while in Florence. I’m pretty sure the poor woman at the gelato shop near me knew my name by the end of my stay but I didn’t care as it was so so good. I’d go back to Florence just for that as I’ve never had it better anywhere else in my life.
Pizza was the other big food for me. While I knew I’d be eating even more pizza in Naples I just couldn’t help it and hey I was in Italy it would be wrong not to get a good dose of it really… right? It wasn’t the cheapest but I’ve never had pizza’s so big and fresh before. Just ordering a margarita pizza left me full and my taste buds singing. Back home you would have had to order all the toppings in the world to make it worth your money.
I was socialising with some travel friends so beer was a big cost here, the rest went into my gelato addiction. It wasn’t cheap but I found that as my trip was winding down I knew I had money to play with so didn’t watch my budget as closely.
Total Cost for Florence
Everything about Florence is beautiful, in fact my first impressions of Italy were “how can I move here“. The five days wasn’t nearly long enough and I am going to use any excuse possible to get back there when I can. Some parts of the world just capture you and for me Italy is one of those spots.
A total cost of 308 Euro or $452.92 AUD (at an exchange rate of 0.68 Euro = 1 AUD) over the five days stayed just under budget with an average daily cost of $90.58 AUD a day.
As you can see from the day I only spent 31.5 Euro you can do cheap days by relaxing and just walking around. It really does come down to what you want to do while travelling. Some days its just nice to sit, relax and watch the people go past. You do this at home so why would you not do it in another country?
Had I travelled to Florence now (November 2014) the total cost for the 5 days would have been $440.24 AUD. If you are considering travelling there then I believe you may find it more expensive than I did due to general inflation of goods. Florence is a hot spot to visit all year round, but more so in the summer so maybe travel in the off season to experience this Italian gem.