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.
It was 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 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.
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 is a captivating city, with narrow winding medieval alleys that somehow always seem to lead to the Duomo, the most iconic building in Florence.
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
(photo credit: 1)