Our hotel turned out to be an hour and a half from Florence. I really think “outside Florence” is a bit of a misrepresentation. The Tuscan countryside is lovely though. I had heard so many good things, all true.
I liked Florence a lot despite the crowds. We mostly managed to beat them as the cruse ships began to arrive about midday. One advantage that rail travel has is that I realised that our coach was parked quite a long way from the city so we lost a good 40 mins or so just walking backwards and forwards.
We started off in Piazza Signores where the is a statue of David and fabulous views of the city.
Ponte Vecchio is an odd and unique bridge. There are jewellery shops all along the bridge but the main industry here is leather. There are plenty of belts and bags but for every quality bag there is an African selling cheap copies.
From Florence, it is about an hours drive to Pisa and again the countryside is lovely. Most of us opted for the bus from coach park into the city. Pisa wasn’t at all what I expected. I hadn’t realised there are several magnificent buildings around the leaning tower as well a museum. Most people reckon half a day is enough and that’s probably true but an hour wasn’t long enough.