It is afternoon and the remnant light of day is starting to creep up and up further across the stunning marble façades of Florence’s most iconic churches and historic buildings.
We have been walking through the cobbled streets of Florence for a couple of hours now. With no destination or purpose in mind aside from enjoying this must-visit city of Italy, we meander down laneways and criss-cross some of the best shopping streets in Florence, passing the must-see sights of the Duomo, Orsanmichele and Santa Trinita.
We’ve been dazzled by wonderful window displays in some of the Florence shops, and awed by the wares in the antique stores that display impressive ornate furniture in their large windows.
Our chatter has barely ceased, often concerning the most common discussion topics amongst Florentine locals – the best places for coffee in Florence, our favourite restaurants and conversations about past and upcoming meals. We’ve talked about wine, art and even dared to venture into a discussion about Italy’s colourful politics.
And then, we turn a corner and there it is before us – the Arno River, silencing us with its majesty.
By now, there is barely a trace of light left of the day as we stand on the river bank, watching the water roll on by. As darkness continues creeping in, the houses, stores and restaurants that face onto the river begin turning on their lights, which reflect on the water like twinkling stars, or an aquatic gathering of fireflies.
Looking on the map of Florence, the historical city centre is shaped like a half-circle, the flat base of which is formed by the River Arno.
This is the Tuscany region’s largest river, crossing over some of the most stunning Tuscan landscapes. Beginning in the Apennines, it twists and turns it way through Arezzo, Florence, Empoli and Pisa before blending into the Tyrrhenian Sea.
It is some 241 kilometres or 150 miles long in total. Many a historic Tuscan village town borders the river’s edge, or at least one of its many little offshoots.
Along these banks, thousands of painters have sat to try to capture the beauty of the Arno River and its banks, fishermen have sat expectantly by its side.
And now, here we are too, gazing into the ever-darkening waters of Florence and Tuscany’s beloved waterway. Reflecting on the reflections and lost in our own thoughts, we pass what seems like an eternity and yet is surely just a flash in the long and rich history of this river that passes under and past some of Florence iconic hubs of history, from the Ponte Vecchio and its Vasari Corridor overhead. Vasari Corridor, the Uffizi Gallery and the Galileo Museum.
The Arno River – crossing not only Tuscany’s landscape, but its long and lively history as well.
You too can experience the highlights and must-sees of Florence, enjoying fabulous stories that bring the past to life on one of our expertly-guided Florence city walking tours – The Original Florence Walk. Our Florence walking tour is run by the only Florence tour company recommended by just about every major travel guide, and featured on a BBC World, History and Discovery channel documentary with Michael Palin. Hear how Florence’s 2000 years of tumultuous history changed the world forever. Hear about astounding events that shocked the Florentines. Discover why Florence became one of the greatest art centres the world has ever seen. Find out who was buried alive near the Duomo and learn why Michelangelo never forgave Leonardo da Vinci.
And as if it were ever possible to forget, Florence is also the home of one of the world’s greatest collections of artwork, housed in the must-visit museum in Florence’s Uffizi Gallery. There is also what is considered to be the greatest artwork ever created with no small feat (and not small feet for that matter, either!) – Michelangelo’s David currently residing the Accademia museum.
You can also experience the Uffizi Gallery and Vasari Corridor with a wonderful tour guide on our skip-the-line guided tour of the Uffizi Gallery with our expert guide, followed by an exclusive-entry guided tour of the Vasari Corridor.
Artviva Walking Tours has a super-discounted Grand Tour Italy discounted tour package including small-group tours in Rome, Venice guided tours, and small-group tours in Florence.
To explore other areas of Italy, can check out our Artviva Walking Tours website to read more about the tours we have to offer in Florence, Rome, Venice, Cinque Terre, Umbria, Naples, Pompeii and more.