A Tale of Two Cities: Florence and Venice

After Rome, Florence and Venice are arguably Italy’s most popular tourist destinations.

After Naples, the two cities were my next targets.

One is the hub of art, architecture and culture—the cradle of the Italian Renaissance.


The other is the romantic deteriorating city of sparkling aquamarine canals, gondolas and Carnevale.

Romantic Venice

Florence is harmonious. Colored marble facades and terra-cotta roofs dominate.

The Duomo, Florence

Venice is eclectic. Styles and colors run together pell-mell.

Eclectic Venice

Florence glows at dusk.

Florence aglow

Venice smolders.

Venice smoldering

Florence is opulent grandeur. Palaces. Bridges. Masterworks.

Palazzo Vecchio

Venice is damp and disintegrating. Slimy seaweed. Rotting water-logged wood. Musty bookstores.

Musty books

Florence is stomach-turning tripe. You take a bite before throwing it mercifully into the trash can.

Trippa alla Fiorentina

Venice is inky black cuttlefish pasta. It tastes like the sea, but less salty and more earthy.

Cuttlefish pasta

Florence is three separate trips to Gelateria Carraia. White chocolate pistachio. Lemon cookie. Ricotta pear.

Gelateria Carraia

Venice is sipping limoncello canal-side to escape the flood of tourists.

Limoncello canal-side

In Florence you stare, mesmerized, at lifelike statues.


In Venice you stand still as a statue with soggy bread in your hands, tempting pigeons.


Florence is grounded, solid. The hint of movement frozen in stone.

Venice is untethered, fluid. The moored boats straining to join the current.

Stability and order are friendly comforts. Freedom is vertigo-inducing but not unwelcome; I’ve found it’s refreshing to be unbound.


Click here for more photos from Florence and Venice.



  1. Jamie · · Reply

    I love this! A tale of two cities…. The contrasts are striking, and the photos amazing.

    1. Thanks, dearest! (Also now integrating “A Tale of Two Cities” into the post title.)

  2. Sally · · Reply

    Love the pigeon pic, for obvious reasons.

    1. Thought of you during the entire process!

  3. carlitos · · Reply

    Amazing pics!!! remind me when I was there!!

    1. Thanks, Carlitos! Glad you liked the post!

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