I recently came back from a week-long trip to Florence (si chiama Firenze in italiano). It confirmed for me that, of all the places I've visited in Italy, Firenze is the winner.
There's something incredibly old, incredibly secretive and incredibly seductive about this city. It does not have the ancient nobility of Rome nor the waterlogged mysteries of Venice. It does not have the airy lightness of being that you would find in Capri (or the exclusivity).
What Firenze does have is a network of streets that feel like they are leading you to a dark dead end *shiver*. Or possibly to a mugging **bigger shiver**. In the summer it is sticky, hot, and smells of every mistake you think you've made over a lifetime. In the spring it is more subdued, still cool at night, fewer tourists circling the Duomo like moths to a towering flame.
Firenze has courtyards and piazzas that feel like they have been created solely for aperitivos and happy hour; for talk of the day and danger. Piazzas that exist sort of like a confessional.
It has Aperol Spritz, Negroni, American Spaglioni- all of which taste infinitely better in some shadowy alley bar, sipped while people-watching Florentines and their symphonic style of conversing... rather than in the shadow of the Coliseum, hoping you can keep from shoving someone's selfie stick somewhere the sun don't shine.
What it has is an identity separate from the rest of Italy... the Medici stronghold, the seat of Toscana, this place where fantasy, fact, and fiction intersect.
Oh. And the David.