Category Archives: Florence

Getting To Florence, Italy

April 2016

After 3 days in Venice, we leave for Florence by train from Santa Lucia train station in Venice into Santa Maria Novella train station, Florence. The journey is 2 hours & 5 minutes and the ride was comfortable and smooth. Like we previously experienced, our destination Florence was not listed on the departure information board as Florence is in between the final destination of the train’s journey. To find out which platform the train will be, look for the train number and departure time on your ticket. Cross reference this data with the departure information and we see that train 9427 leaving at 12:25 is heading to Napoli. That’s the train we want to get on.

Santa Lucia train station, Venice

Departure information board at Santa Lucia train station Venice.

Trenitalia ticket

Trenitalia on-line ticket. Train no. 9427 departing 12:25, 2nd class, Coach 6, Seats 7D & 8D.

Venice Santa Lucia train station

Regional & Inter-City trains at Santa Lucia, Venice.

Santa Maria Novella train station, Florence

Arrived at Santa Maria Novella train station, Florence.

Santa Maria Novella train station, Florence

You can buy bus tickets from the Tabacchi (tobacco) shop. Cost €1.20 each.

Santa Maria Novella train station, Florence

Santa Maria Novella train station from the outside.

Santa Maria Novella basilica, Florence

Right across the train station is Santa Maria Novella basilica. That’s how the train station got its name probably.

Hotel Montreal Florence

Hotel Montreal, Florence

April 2016

We arrived by train at Florence from Venice at 2:30 p.m. Naturally the first thing is to check-in to our accommodation at Hotel Montreal located at Via della Scala, 43. Like we always do, we’ll try to find a hotel nearby the station so that we do not have to take a bus or taxi or have to drag our bags a long way. Hotel Montreal is just a 3 minutes walk from Santa Maria Novella train station but being close, it’s not cheap either. On the other hand, it’s also on the same row with a halal eatery so the convenience sort of ‘compensate’ the higher room price. Another factor is the bus terminal to Florence airport is just next to the SM Novella train station.

We were allotted room 106 with en suite bathroom and is quite spacious. The free wi-fi was however not stable and weak so much so the reception area offers better signal strength. The location of this hotel is strategic as Florence isn’t big thus making it an ideal base. Most attractions are within walking distance. Be aware if you drive, the hotel is located on a ZTL street zone and parking is not available nearby.

Hotel Montreal Florence

Entrance of Hotel Montreal.

Hotel Montreal Florence

Location map of Hotel Montreal. Very close to SM Novella train station.

Hotel Montreal Florence

King size bed.

Hotel Montreal Florence

LCD Tv on the wall. Window overlooking another room.

Hotel Montreal Florence

Spacious room. High ceiling.

Hotel Montreal Florence


Hotel Montreal Florence

Modern amenities.

Florence walkabout.

Florence Walkabout

April 2016

After checking into Hotel Montreal and thereafter having a late lunch, we started our walkabout of Florence at 5:00 pm. First on our list is the Lorenzo street market … not to buy leather but just to have a look-see as we’ve read negative reviews about purchasing leather there.

From our hotel, we headed back towards SM Novella train station and crossed over the round-about to the Zoppini Store. In-front of this store is where you can catch the dedicated black colored bus to Barberino outlet about 35 km away. We then walked along Nazionale Street heading to the San Lorenzo street market.

Florence walkabout. Barberina outlet bus.

You can catch the bus to Barberino outlet diagonally opposite the SM Novella train station at the Zoppini Store. It’s the black bus you want to get onto.

Florence walkabout.

Bus route and timetable along the street.

Florence walkabout.

A ‘Smart’ car with see-through doors. Cinderella would love this.

Florence walkabout.

Scooters are what Italy are famous for.

Florence walkabout.

A make shift round-about ?

At the San Lorenzo street market, we noticed one particular design of handbag which looks very nice being sold by multiple vendors … so can this be an Italian handmade product as claimed? We didn’t bother to ask.

Florence walkabout. San Lorenzo Market

The San Lorenzo street market.

Florence walkabout. San Lorenzo Market.

Selling leather, clothing and souvenirs. But be wary, there’s a whole lot of low quality imported leather here.

Florence walkabout. San Lorenzo street market

You can also find pottery & ceramic at San Lorenzo street market.

We continued walking until the end of the street market and reached Basilica di San Lorenzo. From here the dome of the Cathedral Santa Maria del fiore can be partially seen. Onwards, we walked to the cathedral, then passed a street with many branded stores and unexpectedly reached Hard Rock cafe & its Rock Shop. We continued walking until we reached Piazza della Signoria. Here you can dwell at the statue of David.

We headed back to our hotel from here as twilight was approaching. Most of Florence’s major attractions are of walking distance and easy to locate.

Florence walkabout. Basilica di San Lorenzo.

Basilica di San Lorenzo. The dome of the cathedral Santa Maria can be partially seen.

Florence walkabout. Cathedral santa maria del fiore.

Cathedral Santa Maria del fiore with its famous red dome.

Florence walkabout. Battistero di san giovanni.

Battistero di san giovanni across the Cathedral.

Florence walkabout.

The dome of Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, the bell tower & baptistery of San Giovanni all in one.

Florence walkabout.

Many branded shops in Florence.

Florence walkabout

Prada among the branded shops.

Florence walkabout. Hard Rock cafe.

Hard Rock cafe & Rock Shop in Florence.

Florence walkabout. Piazza della Signoria.

Piazza della Signoria. A piece of ‘David’ at the far end.