Posted by: Debra Kolkka | September 7, 2020

A short stay in Florence

Now that the temperature has cooled a little I plan to be out and about a bit more. A couple of friends and I went to Florence for a couple of days last week. The city would normally be crowded at this time of the year, but Covid 19 has kept most visitors away. As much as this makes walking around the city pleasant, I am very aware of the distress it causes many businesses…all the more reason to visit.

We arrived in the late afternoon and wandered down to the Arno where the golden light of sunset settled over the Ponte Vecchio.

After aperitivo we walked onto the almost empty bridge to admire the view.

We had an excellent meal in a trattoria in one of the quieter back streets.

Our first stop the next morning was at the gorgeous Caffe Gilli in the Piazza Republica, the subject of my previous post.

Then it was time to explore Florence.

Near the Mercato Centrale (see more Mercato Centrale ) I spotted the fountain with 7 faces and was happy to see it has been cleaned recently.

The tabarnacle above it is impressive.

This is what it used to look like. Seven heads are better than one

The Ponte Vecchio has a couple of tiny balconies on the outside.

I think I would like to here and watch the world go by from the balcony.

On the Oltrano, the other side of the Arno from the Duomo, a pack of wolves has gathered on the square in front of the Palazzo Pitti. The installation was created Liu Ruowang…100 iron castings, each weighing 280 kg. The wolf pack is an allegory of nature’s response to the ravages and predatory behaviour of man towards the environment. They will there until November 2nd.

The area between Palazzo Pitti and Santo Spirito is developing as an interesting area with new shops and a younger dynamic. We found some quirky graffiti.

There are also lots of antique shops and stunning buildings.

This one had its own bat as well as a beautiful facade.

Walking back across the river this scene presented itself in front of the Uffizzi Gallery.

The copy of David stands in front of the Palazzo Vecchio.

Neptune’s fountain beside it has been recently cleaned and Neptune is sparkling again.

Cosimo I de’Medici keeps watch over the Piazza Signoria, and has been since 1594.


A great place to stop for lunch or a cool drink is the terrace cafe at the top of the department store, Rinascente, on the edge of Piazza Republica. There are excellent views of the rooftops of Florence.


In nearby Borgo Santi Apostoli is this well stocked shop. If they don’t sell it perhaps you don’t need it.


Tucked away in a quiet spot near the Uffizzi is this sculpture on the side of a building. It is near the old Olive Tree of Peace, planted to commemorate the mafia bomb blast in 1993, which killed 5 people. See more here…A walking tour in Florence


Back at the Duomo I pointed out to my friend some of the little known aspects on the exterior, including the laughing ox, which coincidentally has been featured in this month’s Italy magazine. I discovered it in a book called Secret Florence, which is full of wonderful things to discover. See the post I wrote previously. Secret Florence

On our second evening we dined at the Cantinetta Antinori on the ground floor of the Palazzo Antinori in Via Tornabuoni. 27 generations of the family have lived in this palazzo and their vineyards have produced wine for centuries. The setting is lovely and the food and wine were excellent.

I always stay at Hotel Scoti in Via Tornabuoni. It is run by Doreen and her family and is a little home away from home. The communal rooms are covered in lovely frescoes and its central location makes for a great stay.

Hotel Scoti…


  1. Such an eerie feeling to see Florence so empty…

    • Yes, it is strange. There were still queues outside the Uffizzi, but nowhere else was busy. I wonder when things will return to normal.

  2. What a great visit you had!

    • It was! After some rain the weather was lovely and walking around the city was delightful.

      • 😊

  3. Thanks for the wonderful memories, Deb.

    • Florence is a beautiful city. I feel very lucky to be able to visit.

  4. You capture Florence and the Arno better than anyone and love the photos of your new favourite the Caffe Gilli . Glad you got to stay again at Hotel Scoti, we were disappointed not to spend time there with them this year but maybe next year.

    • Hotel Scoti is a great place to stay. I have been going there for years now. I still miss Caffe Giacosa, but Gilli is a great substitute..

  5. Wonderful insight to your Florence Deborah! So looking forward to travels there one day! X

    • I feel very lucky to be able to visit Florence often. I always discover something new each time I go and I like to revisit favourite spots.

  6. Your post on Florence is delightful (& sad at sametime) with less tourists. Is the city taking this time to have a cleanup? Brought back so many memories including a very long lunch we enjoyed at Cantinetta Antinori. We remember all the delights of Florence.

    • Florence is looking great. The city is clean and bright and ready to welcome visitors when they can return.

  7. Love…love…love Florence.

    • Me too, especially in glorious weather and without crowds.

      • Glad to hear it is starting to cool down a bit for you.

  8. Florence is one of my favorite cities in Italy! Thank you for sharing the more obscure gems to be discovered in this lovely cosmopolitan metropolis!

    • It is a favourite of mine too. There is much to discover in Florence which is why it needs multiple visits.

  9. Did you feel safe due to covid and did you have to wear a mask?

    • I felt safe without crowds. We wear masks everywhere except outside if there are no people nearby. Hands must be sanitised before entering most buildings and in many places your temperature is taken. Italy has been strict on these measures since lockdown.

      • Thanks for update. Must have been strange walking around a half empty Florence. Love the history and the Medici series. Yes, I read about the laughing ox just yesterday in a Italia magazine. Thanks for the lovely photos. Travel safe. Isobel

  10. I love Florence so much! ❤️

    • Me too. It is a beautiful city.

  11. Thank you a lovely memory. The second time I visited Florence I went to rooftop restaurant at Rinascente I was thrilled to see a flag throwing ceremony in the piazza. How lucky.

    • I love flag throwing! I have seen it in many places and it is thrilling to watch.

  12. Thanks for the great post! It makes me think of the days I spent in Florence in September 2008. A lovely time of year to be there. Your photos are great! I really like to imagine hanging out on that leafy balcony on the Ponte Vecchio. 🙂

    • The weather was perfect for our visit and it was great to be able to wander without crowds. I usually only go in the off season, which gets shorter each year.

  13. Beloved Firenze, I miss you so much. What a virtual trip you have shared, thank you so much, Debra.

    • Let’s hope this rotten virus is over soon.

  14. This post Debra bought back wonderful memories. Hotel Scoti was a great stay; simply beautiful and the friendly and helpful Doreen was the perfect hostess. How fortunate for your friends too, to have the perfect guide. You’ve managed COVID 19 very well Deb. Stay safe. Doug and Christine

    • It was great to have a couple of days in beautiful Florence. I feel very lucky.

  15. Thank you, Debra! Love Firenze so much and dearly hope to return one day.

    • I hope you can visit again soon. Florence needs you.

  16. Firenze looking good through your eyes, just so many places to revisit and visit building up during Covid restrictions for we Taswegians.

    • Let’s hope travel can resume soon.

  17. very cool

    • Florence is that.

  18. Oh Florence! One day I will visit you 🙂 Thanks for sharing such wonderful pictures!

    • I hope you get to Florence soon.

  19. I am not a writer. And starting now I want to be, you did a remarkable job in the telling of your visit to Italy.
    Thank you.

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