We arrived in Florence via train and after a series of somewhat confusing bus rides, finally made our way to our hostel, the Tasso Hostel in the Oltrarno quarter.
The hostel was within walking distance to everything we wanted to see in the city. It was also very clean, had a full bar and a stage where local musicians and actors sometimes performed and a wonderful outdoor patio with a nightly happy hour.
We opted to stay in a three person room to save on costs. Our mystery roommates (we ended up with two throughout our 5 night stay) could have gone either way but both ended up being lovely people who we became fast friends with, but more on them later. After becoming acquainted with the hostel, we wasted no time hitting the streets of Florence to do a little exploring!
I quickly got the impression that Florence is a city that always has a lot going on and thus quite fun to visit at all times. Several big events were taking place during our time there, the first of which was one of the tri-annual Calcio Fiorentino (historic football) matches. A team from each quartiere of the city is represented, each with their own specific colors/emblems etc.
Apparently the matches can become really violent with choking, punching and head butting all being allowed, but before the games, everyone takes to the streets for a very civilized parade.
We enjoyed the parade but opted out of the match and did a little evening sightseeing around the Duomo instead.
Our sightseeing was interrupted by yet another parade, this one seemingly with Hindu origins?
After parade number two our stomachs were rumbling and we decided to find a restaurant nearby. We opted for the Ristorante Caffe Giotto, a reasonably priced pizza/pasta restaurant just outside of the Duomo.