An Insider Guide to Florence
Arts & Culture
Florence, Italy, is exceptionally special to me, partly because I spent five months studying there and also because it is a truly magical and historically significant city. Florence is a great opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the rich and captivating culture of Italy. From its incredible culinary scene, warm hospitality, slow pace of life and stunning architecture and landscape, there is truly nothing like Firenze.
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Where to stay in Florence
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Located in the heart of Florence, Residence Hilda offers a unique blend of modern comfort and timeless elegance
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Grand Hotel Minerva
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Things to do in Florence
Piazzale Michelangelo: If there's one thing you must do in Florence, it's to visit Piazzale Michelangelo. This iconic square offers breathtaking panoramic views of Florence's skyline, including the Duomo, the Arno River and as far as the eye can see. Grab a pizza, a bottle of wine and walk up to this Piazzale to sit on the steps at sunset. Be sure to arrive early as it can get crowded.
San Lorenzo Market: The San Lorenzo Market is a bustling area famous for its stalls selling real and cheap leather goods, clothing, souvenirs and other items. A great place to find souvenirs to bring home. Don’t forget to always bargain with the sellers as this is a common practice here.
Mercato Centrale di San Lorenzo: A two story bustling food market located in the heart of the city. On the ground floor, you'll find vendors selling a wide variety of fresh produce, meats, seafood, cheeses and other ingredients. The next floor you’ll find a wide array of food stalls and eateries offering an extensive selection of Italian and international cuisine.
The Leather School: Established in 1950, the Leather School, also known as the Scull del Cuoio, is a renowned institution known for its craftsmanship and production of leather goods. Here you can find the highest quality of handmade leather goods, including bags, wallets, belts, accessories and home decor items. Visitors can also witness the artisans hard at work.
Florence Rooftop Bars: Need a walking break? The Westin Hotel, Tosca & Nino Rooftop Bar and La Terrazza at Hotel Continentale, to name a few, are gorgeous rooftop bars amd restaurants with stunning panoramic views of Florence.
Boboli Gardens: The Giardino di Bobble is a historical park located behind the Pitti Palace commissioned by the Medici family in the 16th century in Florence. The gardens include lush greenery, fountains, sculptures, ancient ruins and stunning views of Florence. A gorgeous day plan in the gardens.
Wine Tasting Trip in Tuscany: If you have a longer stay in Florence, I recommend booking a wine tour in Tuscany with transportation included. A great way to explore Tuscany’s region’s renowned wineries and vineyards.
Climb the Duomo: Get your walking shoes on a climb to the top of the famous Duomo! See panoramic views of the city that you can’t see anywhere else.
Uffizi Gallery: One of the most famous and important art museums in the world located in Florence, Italy, Houses an extensive collection of artworks, particularly from the Italian Renaissance period.
Tuscany: For wine tasting, rolling hills, vineyards and picturesque countryside.
The Mall Outlet: 40 minutes outside of Florence, for my discount designer lovers.
Places to eat & drink in Florence
Le Vespe: For an American style breakfast, including bagel egg sandwiches, bacon, pancakes and iced coffee, Le Vespe is the best in town.
Pino's Paninis: Enjoy the best paninis in town at Pino's. They are not only delicious but also affordable, with short waiting times. Pino's outshines even the Instagram-famous places. Situated in the Santa Croce area, Pino's is a must-visit.
Gustapizza: Gusta pizza is a famous pizzeria located in Florence. Known for serving authentic Neapolitan-style pizza, Gustapizza is something you shouldn’t miss! Ask for the pizza in a heart shape and remember to get there for lunch before 3pm!
La Buchetta Food & Wine: My number one favorite restaurant in Florence and maybe all of Italy. Must-tries are their famous gnocchi dish, the pici pasta prepared in a cheese wheel, Florentine steak and their cheesecake that is to DIE for.
Osteria Santo Spirito: Located in the Oltrarno district across the Arno river, Osteria Santo Spirito is another highly recommended dinner spot. You must try their famous truffle gnocchi.
Trattoria Za Za: A beloved dining spot in Florence, offering a taste of authentic Tuscan cuisine in a lively and welcoming setting.
La Giostra: A romantic, warm and cozy restaurant, decorated with antique furniture, elegant tapestries and dim lighting. La Giostra has some of the best cuisine in Florence!
4 Leoni: A charming restaurant. Must try their pear ravioli!
Baldovino: Located in the Santa Croce district, Baldovino is known for its Florentine recipes with a Tuscan style.
Signorvino: Located directly on the Arno River, Signorvino offers an amazing environment for aperitivo and views.
La Sorbettiera - Authentic, real Gelato.
Need to Know
Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, Exploring Nice: A Guide to the French Riviera.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Florence.