Florence – Italian Perfection and Charm

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As soon as we arrived in Florence, we knew there was something unique about this city. Everything clicked – it was love at first sight. Florence had everything we had dreamed of Italy, from its gorgeous alleys and squares to the best gelato we had tasted in all of the country and very friendly people.

Florence the perfect Italian city

I know that’s a big claim, but what else can you say when there’s really nothing you wish was different?

There was so much to love about Florence that it was hard to take it all in for just two days…

Florence – Italian Perfection and Charm
Florence – Italian Perfection and Charm

Florence – Italian Perfection and Charm The Views

From cathedrals and palaces to squares and statues, the city is overflowing with masterpieces in the styles of the Renaissance, Gothic, and Neo-Classical periods – be prepared to have a sore neck after a day out from your head constantly twisting from side to side!

One of my favorites was Ponte Vecchio, a bridge unlike anything I’ve ever seen before; shops are built along both sides of the medieval stone bridge, many with an extension so that the shops hang over the river.

These types of bridges were once quite common, but today very few are left.

While the bridge is pretty to look at, don’t buy anything from the jewelry shops as they’re quite over-priced.

Ponte Vecchio
Ponte Vecchio

For the best view overlooking Florence and the Tuscan hills, head up to Piazzale Michelangelo.

You can easily walk up the hill and steps leading up to the viewpoint.

Florence Atmosphere

Florence is a captivating city, with narrow winding medieval alleys that somehow always seem to lead to the Duomo, the most iconic building in Florence.

Florence Duomo
Florence Duomo

In fact the streets are so narrow that the citizens have adapted to the size by driving tiny cars in order to get around.

Even the trucks are miniature sized!

And of course there are also more vespas and scooters than you could possibly count.

We actually tried counting the parked scooters on a street but gave up!

Our favorite thing to do in Florence was sitting down on the outside seating of a cafe on one of the many beautiful little Piazzas (squares).

Order a cappuccino and take in the atmosphere.

Florence Food
Florence Food

Florence Food

Italians pride themselves on their fresh, delicious food, and Florence is no exception.

Every meal we had was pure perfection, from the Italian ice cream to the vegetarian lasagna.

Best of all – unlike some other cities in Italy, you don’t have to seek out the good places to get good food.

The local coffee shop around the corner would serve cheap Focaccias that in any other country would be labeled “gourmet”, and the tiny Trattorias on the side streets served cappuccinos good enough for even the pickiest of coffee fanatics – which we were well on our way to become..!

Simply put, Italians know food, and in Florence you get real Italian food for honest prices, and you won’t find any frozen veggies on your pizza or other tourist tricks!

We’ll post an article in a few weeks on how to find the perfect Italian Gelato, but for those visiting Florence, I’ll give you a hint:

Le Parigine (Via Dei Servi 41).

We happened to stumble upon this gem and haven’t had a better Gelato since!

What To Do In Florence
What To Do In Florence

What To Do In Florence

Florence is known as one of the most beautiful cities in Italy, but a visit without any planning could end up being a nightmare.

If you don’t know what to do in Florence, chances are your experience in the city won’t be very memorable.

But a little bit of planning before hand and researching what to do in Florence will change everything.

Here are some suggestions of what to do in Florence.

Wine Tasting

Tuscany is famous for its vineyards and delicious wine, and while it’s certainly worth visiting Chianti or other of the famous wine regions, if you don’t have much time you can try the wine tasting experience in Florence at Piazza del Vino!

You get to try 4 local Tuscan wines paired with some light hors d’oeuvres.

Indulge in Gelato

It would almost be a crime to visit Italy and not have some Italian gelato… no matter what season you’re going!

Legend has it that ice cream was actually invented in Italy thousands of years ago.

Today there are gelaterias around every corner of Florence.

One of the very best places is Grom.

It’s a gelateria from Torino.

It has opened up many shops in just a few years both across Italy as well as in Manhattan, Paris and Tokyo.

The reason why they’re so good and so popular is because they offer high-quality ice cream made with natural ingredients.

They make their chocolate ice cream with cocoa beans from Columbia and Venezuela.

Their pistachio ice cream with pistachios from Sicily or Syria and so on.

The fruit gelato they offer changes according to the season.

Every month you’ll find a new flavor of the month.

You won’t be short of options when it comes to accommodation.

However, you might find that it’s more difficult than it seems.

Many of the places book up early, and some are extremely expensive depending on when you go.

Make sure you get a nice place to stay for a reasonable price.

It should be easier for your to find the perfect accommodation for your trip.

Uffizi Gallery

While you are learning about some of the famous people from Florence, be sure to go to the Uffizi Gallery.

It’s one of the must-visits in Florence and one of the oldest and most famous museums on earth.

With over 1,5 million visitors a year, Uffizi Gallery is Italy’s second most visited museum after the Vatican Museums in Rome, and it can be a real pain if you don’t plan ahead.

Being the birthplace of the Renaissance, much of the best art from that period can be found in this museum.

If you go during the high season, the lines to get in can be hours long.

Some good advice is to pre-book tickets (although reservations cost another €4).

Palaces and Piazzas

Florence is almost like an open-air museum.

There is so much beautiful architecture and monuments that you don’t really need to visit a museum.

Many of the palaces, squares and monuments are masterpieces of their own.

Some of the top places to visit are Andrea di Cambio and Brunelleschi.

Hopefully this will help you decide what to do in Florence, and keep in mind to leave a little bit of your itinerary free for spontaneity!

Tuscany: Fantastic Wine is Only the Beginning. Top Things to Do in Tuscany

There are incredible things to do in Tuscany.

Tuscany is a region of central Italy which many people know for its wine.

Many types of wine!

These include Chianti, Morellino di Scansano, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.

Yet there is more to Tuscany than just incredible wine.

Tourists also come to the Tuscany region for its beautiful landscapes and rich history.

Things to Do in Tuscany gorgeous scenery
Gorgeous Tuscany region

Tuscany is the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and has had a substantial and lasting influence on art, architecture, music and high culture.

The capital city of Florence is home to some of the most amazing historical landmarks as well as quintessential gothic architecture and the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo.

Top unique things to do in Tuscany

While the wine and cuisine is an experience in itself,  there are a few more “not to miss” experiences while in Tuscany.

Thermal Baths

Beneath the region of Tuscany are some of the world’s most impressive natural hot springs – and the locals have been taking advantage of them for centuries.

In addition, you can find open air natural hot spring baths all over the region.

Terme di Saturnia is one of the more well known areas for natural hot springs.

Tuscany Road Trip on a Vespa

Remember, getting off of the beaten path in Tuscany can be just as rewarding as visiting the major cities like Florence and Pisa.

Truly, it’s an incredible experience.

The region contains some of the most stunning Italian landscapes.

Things to Do in Tuscany road trip
You can enjoy beautiful smaller towns all along the rolling countryside.

There’s the cliff-top village of Pitigliano and the ancient town of Volterra.

Be sure to build in time in your itinerary to take in the view – and the wine.

Museo dell’Opera del Duomo

It’s hard not to mention at least one of the museums when talking about Tuscany.

The Musea dell’Opera del Duomo is one of many museums located in bustling Florence – and one not to miss!

It contains most of the art that was originally created for the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore – the cathedral of Florence and includes some of the most important sculptures in the world:

Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise

Donatello and Luca della Robbia’s Cantorie

Michelangelo’s Florence Pietà

Donatello’s Mary Magdalen

Andrea Pisano’s reliefs for the Belltower

Where there are so many interesting things to do in Tuscany, whatever you choose, you will have a memorable adventure.

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24 thoughts on “Florence – Italian Perfection and Charm”

  1. The history here is spectacular. Learning about the art wars waged by the Medici family is just great. Plus that dome doesn’t look like much, but it was a spectacular feat of engineering given the technology of the time. No one thought it was possible until it was up.

  2. What does one do when he gets into a state of wanderlust + impulse + rebellion?

    He rushes off to the Italian Consulate to apply for a Visa 🙂

    Bon Voyage!

  3. OMG Yes. I absolutely adore Florence.
    The city itself is the absolute art museum.
    And the food! And the weather.
    It’s perfect.

  4. I mostly agree that Florence is unreal in terms of beauty. The cathedral, I would say, is the second best I have ever seen (I like the one in Milan better). But… let me play devil’s advocate for a moment and poke a few holes. I would love it if you could dispel some of my experiences, as I would love to return to Italy some day.

    1) The food: It is really good… if you are willing to spend over 20 Euros per meal. I had already been in italy for about 2 weeks, and I couldnt afford to spend 20 euros plus for every single meal. I thought this was kind of ridiculous, since every meal under this price range was re-heated, or a burger.

    2) The people were overly rude. I am by no means sensitive, but I, and people around me were constantly encountering rudeness. Quick example: The lady at the Uffizi ridiculed a couple of Indian tourists for asking if it was possible to get same day tickets as they didn’t plan ahead. She responded with: “Do you have any idea where you are? This is the UFFIZI.” It wasn’t directed at me (much was) but I totally felt terrible for them.

    3) The birdge: There is such a thing as “too much research,” and I unfortunately did this before going to Florence. I read about the history of the bridge’s commercialization, and how, while in the past, many merchants has nice little spots, it has become so popular, that only high end jewelers can afford to be there, often ripping people off with elaborate plots.

    Let me end on a positive note. As a city, besides Venice, it is the most picturesque I have ever seen before. The entire city is like an outdoor museum and was quite impressed at how preserved it was.

  5. I agree with the title. Florence is perfect. Unfortunately I missed this place when I was travelling in Italy and France, but I hope to make it there as well soon, maybe this summer. I simply love the canals and the atmosphere is just incredible.

  6. I agree, the history in Florence really is amazing, and with all the historical architecture you really feel like you’re taking a step back in time!

  7. Thanks Becky! Yes weather always helps, we had a bit of all types of weather when we were there, but fortunately the city is beautiful no matter what the weather is like.

  8. He Julio,

    I’m sorry to hear you had mixed feelings about your time in Florence.

    We never paid more than €10 for a meal anywhere in Florence, and found that there were plenty of great cafes and restaurants that served some delicious food for good prices, nothing reheated at all.

    If you ever happen to go there again just contact me and I can give you some tips of places to go.

    The people you meet are sometimes a hit and miss, we met some very friendly people in Florence but I’ve never had much trust in the customer service at museums no matter what country. 😉

  9. Agree with the title, and agree with Julio in all counts. Another disturbing concern is why tourists are made to pay “city tax” in lodging, when the rest of the world’s top tourist destinations even give tax exemptions to foreign guests! We think it’s another rip off, or are they just in dire need to recover from the Euro crisis?

  10. Love this city! You did a superb job of capturing the feel of it with your words. I agree, this place is compelling, soothing, perfection!

  11. You’ve captured the essence of the city so well I feel as though I’ve been there already! Sadly it’s still on my bucket list! Great to hear you never paid more than 10 euros for a meal. i had it in my head eating out would be super expensive here.

  12. The tourist tax really bothers me too, but unfortunately it’s not just in Italy.

    Charging a tourist tax is becoming more and more common all over Europe – even Eastern European countries such as Montenegro do it!

    The worst is when they don’t include it in the price of the hotel, not the most pleasant surprise to find that you have to pay €20 extra when you turn up…

    One way of getting around it is to stay with places on Airbnb and Wimdu, they usually don’t charge tourist tax since they aren’t really hotels…

  13. I couldn’t agree more! I visited the city when I was 16 and even then I knew it was something special. I’m hoping to take my husband on his first visit soon and I’m sure it will be even better!

  14. one of my favorite things about Florence is the Florentine’s extreme pride in their city. really nice to see.

  15. I’ve been to quite a few cities in Italy and Florence is by far my favourite. It would be a lovely, relaxing place to retire to I think!

  16. Wow, Florence really looks a great place to visit.
    I look forward to go there. Thanks for the information

    Rui frmo Troia Portugal

  17. Wow! Florence is quite beautiful. Although, I think it might be hard to find a place in Italy that isn’t just historically and beautifully amazing. =)

  18. Great shots. Yes, Florence is quite spectacular. I have been living here for a year now and sometimes I am surprised I’m here. I think I will always be impressed by the churches and famous statues I see when I walk passed them on my way to dinner. I feel like I still have so much to see in this city.

  19. Hi Sofia,

    Loved everything you wrote about Florence, we are now more eager to visit it. We are planning a trip there in September and would love your suggestions on restaurants, food and things to do there.

    Thank you!

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