Lifestyle Travel

Italian Tour: Florence Edition

I really can’t believe that I have not shared about Florence yet. *Shoutout to Anna Simpson for making me finish this!* Florence was NO DOUBT my favorite place we visited. Maybe because it was pretty Americanized? Not sure. But, there was a school nearby, a lot of people spoke English and everything was absolutely beautiful! If I could have, I would have stayed in this city for years. It was THAT great. Anyway, read along to see what we did, where we ate and the beautiful views we got to see.

We left from Venice Monday morning and arrived in Florence midday. We knew the Airbnb was about 1 mile away and we had planned on getting a taxi. Well, jokes on us. Apparently, taxi drivers go on strike all the time in Europe (Who knew? Not us!) and they weren’t driving that day. Okay, cool. So, we had to walk a mile with all our luggage on these cobblestone roads with just a slight idea of where we were going. Basically, DON’T count on taxis in these Italian countries because they decide when they want to work. But, Hannah and I had a good attitude and the walk really wasn’t that bad! This is another reason that people say to pack LIGHT when going to Europe.

We get to our CUTE Airbnb, hauled our luggage up the stairs and walked into the best smelling place ever haha (weird thing to say, but seriously, Hannah was obsessed with the smell of this little flat!). This was right in the heart of Florence. It was clean, a good size, two bathrooms, fast wifi, all the works. DEFINITELY, recommend staying here if you’re in Florence!

Now, I am just going to share some pics, then listed below are things to see, do, buy, eat, etc. written out in an organized way! We got soooo many recommendations for things in Florence, so this is a long post.

There are a lot of things going on below. My reco is to download offline maps (on google maps or download Maps.Me) and drop pins on the places you want to visit. Beware, offline maps will drain your battery so have a backup haha.

TO SEE:

  • Best views of the city
    • Excelsior Westin – walk in, go up the elevator all the way to the top. It’s insanely beautiful.
    • Michelangelo – the hike up there is no joke haha so you CAN take a taxi up, but we chose to walk. When we got up there, we snapped some pics, bought a cheap bottle of wine, popped it open and drank it while the sun went down.
    • Fiesoli – we didn’t make it here but the photos are amazing, so let me live vicariously through you. Everyone recommends taking the bus to this around cocktail hour.
  • Lookalike statues of David all over the city – you really can’t miss them
  • The famous Razorback!!!!! Lol okay maybe that isn’t the official name but Fayetteville has one and so does Florence, so we’re basically the same….right?
  • As many churches as possible. The architecture is insanely beautiful and worth going inside.
  • Ponte Vecchio – this would be a beautiful place to see early one morning when the city is still sleeping. 50125 Firenze FI, Italy

TO DO:

  • Uffizi Gallery – Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
  • Duomo – climb the nearly 500 stairs to the top if you dare! Piazza del Duomo, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
  • Boboli Gardens – we just wandered around aimlessly here for a while taking cool pics and laughing at dumb things haha but a lot of people will get takeaway pizza or panini, grab a bottle of wine and picnic for a little bit.
  • Mercato Centrale – go here and buy high quality leather goods. We each got a beautiful leather jacket from Mossimo’s Leather (Borgo La Noce 13/R) where the people were SO nice. Then I got a messenger bag (for my laptop that I have carried every single day since Florence) and Hannah got a duffle from another store called A.D. Firenze. Make sure and try to bargain the price with them, they will almost always come down a little!
  • Explore Cascine Park on the banks of the Arno (west Florence). It’s a great escape from the city.
  • If we had had time, we really wanted to take a Vespa Tour of Tuscany and all the small surrounding areas.
  • Also if you have time, try to do a cooking class somewhere in the city. Everyone says they are amazing and worth every penny!
  • Make sure to go to aperitivos (Italian happy hours). They have them everywhere and you get free food when you buy a drink.
  • My best advice for Florence is just to walk all over the city, day and night, cover as much as you can and you won’t regret it. Get lost and happen upon beautiful churches and cool scenes.

BARS:

  • Kikuya Pub – English pub right by S. Croce with a really strong beer called the Dragoon. You have to try it! (Via de’ Benci, 43/r)
  • Lion’s Fountain – Irish pub and awesome bar for young people (Borgo degli Albizi 34/R)
  • Red Garter – another great bar by Santa Croce. They do beer pong tournaments on certain nights and karoake. Honestly felt like we were back in the states here (Via de’ Benci, 33)
  • Flo Night Club – this was closed when we were there in February because it’s outdoors, but if you’re there when it’s open, it’s apparently not to be missed!

TO EAT:

  • La Giostra – get ready to have the BEST meal of your life. The pear ravioli was recommended and while it sounds weird and gross, it’s a MUST. Make reservations, though. Which you can do online really easily.
  • Yellow Bar – we had pizza here our first day and it was really good! They also have an amazing piano player on Monday nights, I believe. Via del Proconsolo, 39r, Florence, 50122
  • Trattoria Za-Za’s – located in Piazza del Mercato Centrale (great location). If you’re into cooking, their cook book is apparently amazing! Piazza del Mercato Centrale, 26/r, Firenze
  • Gusta Pizza – near the Biboli gardens. And if you request the pizza in a specific shape (like a heart) they will make it happen!

TO BUY:

  • Leather – Florence is known for their high-quality hand made leather goods. Worth the splurge for sure.
  • Ceramics – there is a place that was recommended, but we didn’t have time, and it was right outside of Siena (you’d need a cab). Apparently, there were handmade beautiful ceramic pieces here for next to nothing. You should call in advance if you are planning on going. Ceramiche Bibi is the name of the company. The artist’s name is Sabina Pagliai. Located at: Strada della Tressa, 1  –  53100 Siena- Italy.
  • Shop for food in the open markets and try to speak italian with the vendors
  • Shop around San Lorenzo market – such a cool area

More reco from people that we didn’t get to experience but I want to keep it all in one place and share it with you!

  • Great ice cream places: vivoli and another place called perque no near the American Express office
  • *Trattoria Sostanza-Troia s.a.s. (I would try and make a dinner reservation here) “This place is amazing but only takes cash. Try the Chicken dish..loads of butter but it’s unbelievable…also try the egg dish with the carcioffi/artichoke…really really good…..if they have the meringue desert with the tiny strawberries that is also really good….I wouldn’t miss out on this restaurant! It’s very authentic..may be hard to get into but worth waiting….They take reservations so I’d suggest doing that.  Address: Via del porcellana, 25 r Telephone 055212691”
  • Garga–  a great restaurant on a side street not too far from the Arno and the chef is a character. Innovative cuisine and very good. Address: Via del Moro, 48/r
  • *Buca Lapi  Via del Trebbio, 1r, Florence, 50123 Italy
    UNBELIEVABLE STEAK!!!! I’d suggest going here for dinner but having a glass of wine before at Cantinenta Antinori
  • Il Pizzaiuolo–“the best pizza place in the city hands down!” (street number 70). (Via de’ Macci 113/r, Firenze)
  • Ristorante Buca Mario–“a little pricey, but worth it”. In the heart of Florence, a few blocks west of Piazza della Repubblica. (Piazza degli Ottaviani, 16-red, Firenze)
  • Mr. Pizza–best take-away pizza place by far, and also near my apartment. Near the bar district (Santa Croce) and open until 4 or 5 am. (via Peitrapiana 82/r)
  • Teatro del Sale–dinner and show, runs you around 35 euro. Great opportunity to try a few native Florentine dishes (Via dei Macci, 111/r)

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