The year 2014 convinced hundreds of thousands of people to dump buckets of ice water on their heads. It broke the internet with a photo of Kim Kardashian’s behind, that we simply cannot unsee. Most importantly, it captured a cryptic elevator attack by Solange on Jay Z – the mysterious circumstances of which will haunt us well into 2015.
Although 2014 really left us hanging on that last one, it wasn’t all bad. In fact, we may just call 2014 Florence for Free’s best year to date. While Meg and I were busy learning every lyric to Taylor Swift’s 1989 album, we somehow managed, with our followers’ relentless support and encouragement, to come up roses and even add a few notches to our belt (Florentine leather belt of course). In gratitude to our readers, our supporters, and the year 2014, we would like to share 14 FFF highlights from our year.
1. Fan Favorites!
In 2014, you all got your local produce, artisan ware, antique-hunting-selves on and read Florence’s Best Markets by Neighborhood more than any other post. After all that local culture you indulged with our two most pop-culturey walks: The Jersery Shore in Florence and Dan Brown’s Inferno, securing their spots in second and third place. #nojudgement
2. Italy Magazine: Best Travel Blog!
In February an incredible outpouring of support from our readers landed us the honor of Italy Magazine’s Best Travel Blog. That was just really nice of you guys.
3. Travel Tips!
This year we realized that not everyone is as crazy as us, obsessing over one city, and might just need to know the basics of Florence. In 2014 we compiled tips for the first-time traveler, such as: Florence for Starters, tips to acting like a local, a guide to Florence in a day, how to maximize your time in Florence, and a manual to managing the enigma that is Trenitalia.
4. We celebrated the seasons!
Here at Florence for Free we love holidays, seasons and really any reason to celebrate, and celebrate we did. We celebrated Spring in our favorite gardens and trails and we didn’t let the summer heat hold us back. We went for it at the holidays, taking you on a lover’s walk of Florence for Valentine’s Day and to our favorite local events Easter week. We went full “Dateline” investigating the Monster of Florence this past Halloween, and broke down some of the more quirky Christmas traditions this holiday season. Most noteworthy, we traded in turkey and potatoes for amatriciana and carciofi, as we celebrated Friendsgiving in Rome.
5. @TayeDiggs followed us on Twitter!
We had a blissful 20 minutes of unbridled excitement about this one before we realized that Taye also follows 245,000 other accounts, including a youth soccer camp and a volunteer firefighter department. Taye admits he is a bit “social media slow,” mindlessly following thousands of accounts. But hey, we’re just glad to be among the many thousand. #stillexcited #callusifyouevergotoflorence
6. New neighborhoods!
In 2014 we proved that we will never tire of taking our readers to our favorite neighborhoods in Florence. This year we explored the often overlooked neighborhood of San Marco, more often seen as a traffic hub than a place to appreciate the culture and history of Florence. We were delighted to stroll the streets of quiet San Niccolò in the Oltrarno. History, shopping, and legends abounded in Dante’s stomping grounds around Via del Corso. Finally, we ventured out for fresh air to the nearby San Domenico to get a view of Florence through the olive groves.
7. We got really into pop culture (no surprise)
This summer the World Cup happened, and in case you needed some coaching, we taught you how to hold your own with the craziest of gli Azzuri fans! We also couldn’t help but cover the most ridiculous thing to happen in Florence since Lorenzo de’ Medici insisted that everyone in Florence meet his pet giraffe. Of course I am referring to the (un)holy union of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian at the Forte Belvedere in May. Just think you guys, your special place is Kimye’s too.
8. We modernized!
With spotty WiFi and a general lack of heating and cooling systems, it’s easy to gripe about Florence as a city stuck in the past. However, this year, Florence made some serious strides in modernizing the city (ahem, have you seen the updated Mercato Centrale?), and we wanted in! This year we featured the lesser known, modern marvels of Florence such as: San Giovanni dell’ Autostrada, Il Museo Novecento, and we explored the contemporary twists on the historic Le Murate.
9. Internet Friends!
In 2014, through a bit of internet mingling, we connected with some fantastic people who know how to inspire a serious case of wanderlust. We met Scott, Emily and little Carter, of TwelveCountries.com, who are traveling the world for one year, moving to a new country each month. Scott and Emily connected up with us during their month in Florence. Helping the cutest family in the world see our favorite city in the world, let’s just say it was more than a treat. Now Scott, Emily and toddling Carter are helping us see the rest of the world as we follow their blog avidly from country to country.
We also chit chatted with the hilarious Ashley and Carolyn of TheLazyTravelers.com, some of our original blog role models! Connecting with TheCulturist.com was also very exciting for Meg and I as we have long admired their advocacy of cultural and social awareness.
10. November trip to Italy!
“Wait, you don’t live in Italy?!” Nope, we just used to, and miss it all the time and go back as often as we can. This year, we had our glorious reunion with Italy in November. Sparse crowds, unseasonable sunshine, and lots of friends had us planning our next trip before we even left.
11. Live it Local!
While in Florence we partnered with Francesca, Federico and Anne, of Palazzo Belfiore, to co-host Live it Local! – an evening showcasing the best of local, artisan Florence. The event was pretty much everything we love about Florence all in one place, with all of our favorite Florentines. Click here for the deets.
12. We met our blogging clique!
As we have said time and again, Meg and I are ever grateful for the blogging clique we were so lucky to land as baby bloggers, a couple of years back. This group of writing women share our passion for Florence, and we couldn’t have been happier to finally have met many of them in person for the first time while in Italy this past November.
13. We went #CrazyforPazzi!
Meg and I don’t like giving our money away – as the name of this blog implies. But this year, the universe played a little trick on us. This past fall, Santa Croce raised money for the renovation of the Pazzi Chapel – a seminal work of Renaissance architecture, potentially designed by Brunelleschi himself. We finally found a cause that loosened our penny-pinching pocketbooks – saving Florentine art!
14. WE MOVED!
Yep, we finally left our cozy WordPress nest and ventured out to our own little corner of the internet. Florenceforfree.co is our new address. Please come visit us often and feel free stay awhile! If we fell off of your reader radar in the move (we’re sorry!) please make sure to link up to the new address. Likewise, if you are a WordPress user who follows us, we will continue to pop up on your reader, however, if you would like to continue to receive email notifications as well, please resubscribe at Florenceforfree.co.
So, while we may be leaving 2014 with no clear indication of what really caused the bicker between Beyonce’s sister and spouse, we do close this chapter with a feeling of accomplishment and gratefulness to you, our FFF supporters. With a new address, new friends, and new travel tips to share, 2015 can’t come soon enough.
Ciao 2014! Buon Anno Tutti! May 2015 bring you much happiness, ideally in Florence and for free!