You may have noticed that earlier this week, I updated my sidebar with links to some of our travel adventures. We’ve done so much exploring this past year that it’s become a recurring topic. So I thought it would be fun to make Travel an official Design Mom column that features daydream destinations, useful tips or products, and reports on our own trips.

Which reminds me, I’ve been wanting to share photos from our trip to Florence for ages. You may remember, Ben Blair was speaking at a conference there, so we turned it into a romantic getaway sans kids. Here’s a little writeup of our 10 favorite things in Florence + lots of photos, in case you’d like to see. (And please let me know if you have any ideas about the travel column. I love your feedback!)

First, the Duomo Cathedral. I loved catching a glimpse of it as we explored the narrow streets.


Until we were close up, I had no idea it was surfaced with colored tiles! I just assumed it was built from the same materials as the cathedrals in France and other northern European countries. But of course, building materials change from region to region. Somehow, it just surprised me!

The main thing I remember is just how massive the building is. Massive I tell you!

We criss-crossed the city by foot lots of times during our explorations and every time we’d get a good shot of the cathedral, my heart rate would sour. It really is stunning.

Second, the open air markets. The weather was chillier than we were expecting, so one of the first things we did was stop to pick up cozy scarves. And though there were tons of scarf options, the big deal was all the leather goods. Bags, belts and bracelets everywhere, in fantastic colors.

Third, the Pharmacy of Santa Maria Novella. They say it’s 600 years old — the oldest one in Europe!) It was highly recommended by many of you, and we really enjoyed it.

In fact, our scarves, and a little something from the pharmacy were the only souvenirs we brought home. I have several lovely images from the pharmacy, so I’ll share them in another post and show you what we bought!

Fourth, walking, walking, walking. Florence is a great city for strolling and getting a bit lost. There are interesting side streets and grand architecture in every direction.



Throughout the city, we would spot little alcoves in the buildings with statues. It seems to be a favorite Florentine architectural detail.

It’s also fun to arrive at the river and see all the bridges. What a kick it is to cross them and get amazing views of the city. This one is covered in buildings and shops.

Fifth, The David. This image is of a bronze replica that overlooks the city. We weren’t allowed to take photos of the real thing. But oh my goodness! Standing in front of the original marble David I remember thinking: I need to call every person I know and tell them to drop everything and get on a plane right this minute to come and see this sculpture. Have you ever seen the David? Did you feel the same way?

Sixth, taking in the views from Piazzale Michelangelo. It’s a square over-looking the city, and the bronze statue of David, pictured earlier, is there as well.

We arrived at dusk and the light was misty and beautiful. We could have stared at those views for hours. Can you see some of the bridges?

Seventh, climbing up even further to the church above the Piazzale Michelangelo. I can’t remember the church’s name. If you know, remind me and I’ll add it in.



Definitely worth the climb.

Eighth, the Bargello Museum. It’s an excellent sculpture museum and we enjoyed the collection, but my favorite part was the stone plaques attached to the courtyard walls. I wonder what they’re for?

The image of the lion at the very top of this post is also from the same museum.

One funny thing. We misjudged our time and had to skip the Uffizi. Since we had pre-bought tickets, we stopped long enough to find two people waiting in line, and gave the tickets to them. And I snapped this photo on the way out.

Ninth, seeing the city at night. Especially this view from a bridge.

Tenth (and last but not least), we loved the food! Pasta, pizza and at least 10 different stops for gelato, and we were only there for 2 days. : ) By the way, you may have noticed I don’t appear in any of the photos. Usually I man the bigger camera and Ben Blair uses his iPhone (he’s really good!), and that way, we both end up showing up in at least a few shots. But we seem to have lost a whole bunch of his phone images — including me eating lots of gelato. Darn!

I hope you’ve enjoyed the little tour. Have you ever been to Florence? What favorites would you add to our list?

P.S. — Who handles the camera at your house?