A Glimpse of Firenze and Siena

Sampling at a market in Florence

A weekend in Florence (Firenze) for travelers means shopping at the leather market, standing starstruck admiring the details of the Duomo, trying not to stare too much at Michelangelo’s David, & exploring Ponte Vecchio in the afternoon. I did all of this, minus seeing the David. I know, I know. But I’ll be back.

ponte vecchio


I had the best gelato in Siena, even though this photo was taken in Florence. When traveling in Florence & Rome, you need to get away from the tourist attractions in order to 1. Get an authentic Italian meal, 2. Not get ripped off & feel like an idiot. A general rule should be: if the menu includes hot dogs, hamburgers, or a Greek salad–run away fast and find a place with the menu in Italian. That’s what’s going to reassure you that your meal isn’t on the same quality as a frozen hot pocket. I highly recommend trying La Martinica on Via del Sole. Get the house specialty of spinach & ricotta stuffed ravioli in a lemon cream sauce. Trust me, it’s still my favorite pasta dish I’ve tried, & that’s saying a lot for the amount of pasta I eat.

Laundry out to dry at a local home in Siena

Siena is a small & charming authentic city in the Tuscany region that reminded me of Perugia. The locals would greet one another kindly and I hardly ever heard English– unlike my visit to Rome and Florence. The friendliness of people really depends on which region you’re in. The most interesting part of Siena is their contrades. The city is divided into 17 districts & they compete against each other twice a year during a horse race that occurs in the center of city called Di Palio. The Sienese take it very seriously since it’s rooted in medieval history & it’s a time that gives sentimental value to their culture. My class on Contemporary Italian culture had the opportunity to see a behind-the-scenes look at the “Eagle”contrada which was especially unique.

The Duomo di Siena
The Duomo di Siena
The silk flag of the winning district
“I guess I should say ‘ciao!’ since I just took his photo…”

Exciting new travels coming up in the next week or so, feeling beyond blessed for the opportunities. Shout out to my family and friends who have been incredibly supportive and thoughtful –you’re always on my heart.