There are direct flights from Sofia to Bologna with WizzAir, Friday evening and back on Sunday evening. This is as of 2016/2017, in the hope it doesn't change. I've used this connection several times now. I explored Bologna, the region Emilia-Romagna, Venice and more, albeit shortly. I really enjoy these weekends - not only are the fares low if you choose right, there's just so much to see in Italy. Every town has some fantastic church and a wide main square, throwing you back hundreds of years to times of artistic and architectural mastery. Italy has endless sights to see. More than for a lifetime. Florence is one of such cities you can just walk around in forever. First, it's easy to get there from Bologna. There are frequent trains - the intercity trains take just under 40 minutes. Admitted, tickets are expensive, but you should be able to fork over some more money in Italy than in other places. It pays off, short travel times make your trip much better and this makes it not even that much - still cheaper than renting a car. The trains are safe, clean and fast. Just make sure to stamp your ticket correctly if you buy a ticket valid for a period - validate it for this day and time. Also, if you do buy a ticket with a date on it, make sure to check the date before you pay your ticket. I bought one for the day I was traveling on yet got it with the date a week after - a very unpleasant encounter with the conducter on board. I managed to squeeze in visits to the towns Prato and Arezzo in this weekend, of which you may see pictures below the Florence album. A year later, in 2018, I visited Pisa. It's about an hour by train away from Florence and makes for an easy day trip! But, there's enough to see in Pisa to stick around. And away from the Leaning Tower, Pisa is quite affordable if you keep your eyes out.
As I arrived in Florence, I walked along Arno river towards the center. Directly it dawned upon me that I was indeed in one of the most beautiful cities on earth - a masterpiece of historical jewels all together at walking distance. Even though I had only one night to spend, I was going to use it as best as I could. I went into many of the churches, along the big squares, and walked up to Piazzale Michelangelo for the best view of the city. I didn't go into any museum as the weather was good. I walked up to the Forte di Belvedere, the Belvedere fortress that's at relative walking distance from the Michelangelo Square. The views from this fortress are so stunning I miss the words to describe it. To be able to see this in my lifetime - I felt so honored. There's the city view on the one side and on the other side - a view of Tuscany as you'd expect it. The rolling hills, small churches and mansions with gardens and olive trees. Yes, the sunny weather helped, but this must be one of the best views I've seen.
Walk to the Duomo at night - you can see it in pictures but standing in front of it you can't help but drop your jaw at the size of it. You can capture it in a picture - you can only comprehend its size and beauty if you really see it. Coming from far away, you see the dome from across the city. Then you get closer and in some streets, you get a full view of it. Outstanding beauty. The whole center of Florence is just packed with buildings you can look at for an hour, one by one. I really enjoyed my visit. There is so much to do that I'll have to come back. I should learn more about the city's history and who designed these buildings. Florence is tempting to come back for more, forever! On Sunday, I got back to Bologna and spent some time walking around the parks before getting my flight back from Sofia. I suggest anyone to make this weekend getaway, with the perfect public transport, this is easily feasible.