In October I went traveling through Italy with B. I haven't been back to Italy since studying abroad in Florence at the University de Lorenzo de Medici in 2004. So as I am sure you can imagine returning brought back some nostalgic moments for me. Florence is full of design and architectural inspiration that I was anxious to absorb after a 10 year absence from the city.
After the 10 hours of traveling, I was too excited to let my lack of sleep get in the way of seeing Florence. Once we checked into the hotel I had things I needed to see. Our hotel was a perfect walking distance up to Piazzale Michelangelo, a natural first stop and a good way to stretch our legs. The view of Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo is one of the best; of course the perfect weather didn't hurt...
After watching the sun set and visiting the San Miniato al Monte we went to my favorite restaurant for dinner Aqua al 2. If you ever visit, I highly recommend the Pasta Sampler and the house wine. You don't have to travel all the way to Florence to try Aqua al 2 since they now have locations in Washington DC and San Diego.
After dinner on that first night we strolled around the old city center to soak in the night-time sights. The Piazza della Repubblica was one of my favorite sites back in 2004. There are always a lot of people, both locals and tourists, enjoying the square after dark. Unfortunately there was conference or something going on that required some ugly staging which obstructed some of the beauty of the piazza. Fortunately, the Duomo was immaculate and capped our stroll around Florence. What an amazing site!