As many of you know, Florence became my home away from home for four months while I studied abroad. The city was charming, beautiful, exciting and so historic. There are so many amazing things to do and see in this Italian city, the list could go on and on… but I’ve narrowed my list down to the top 14 things every person should do, see and eat if they visit Florence.
1. Climb to the top of Piazzale Michelangelo for sunset
2. Visit the Boboli Gardens and climb to both ends
– Go straight up the steps behind the amphitheater to the very top for a Tuscan hillside view, and all the way down the path to the left down Cypress Lane for a forested walk leading to the Isolotto’s Basin fountain.
3. walk through Pitti Palace and visit the Sala Bianca and the costume gallery
– Sala Bianca was the room where many famous fashion designers had their first shows to launch their careers.
4. wander through the Central Market and browse the colorful produce
– Grab an apple or orange, they are so flavorful in Italy.
5. Eat at Osteria Santo Spirito and order the cheese and truffle oil gnocchi
6. Eat at Gelaterie La Carraia along the Arno (biscottino is my flavor obsession)
7. Climb to the top of the Duomo and Giotto’s campanile
– If you only have time to climb one, though your ticket will get you into both, I suggest climbing the campanile. That view will include the Duomo in it which adds an extra amazement factor.
8. Go on a late night outing to one of the town’s secret bakeries, and eat it on the steps of Santa Croce
– The most well-known secret bakery (closest to Santa Croce) is Pasticceria Vinci & Bongini. Walk down Via dei Benci towards the river and make a right on Via del Canto Rivalto, follow your nose toward the delicious smell of freshly baked pastries. If no one else is there waiting, lightly knock on the glass door and order the ‘Cornetta con Nutella’ (Nutella filled croissant)… the chocolate is all warm and melty.
9. Get Gusta Pizza to-go and go sit along the Ponte Vecchio at nighttime
-Gusta Pizza (located near Santo Spirito) is my favorite pizza in Florence. 5 euros for a delicious fresh margherita style pizza… I’m tearing up just reminiscing about it… you must go!
10. Shop the leather markets for great deals
– Mercato Nuovo is my favorite, but the San Lorenzo Market also has awesome deals!
11. Visit the museums – See the David and visit the Uffizi
– The David is a must-see located at Accademia Gallery (along with many other sculptures by Michelangelo). The Uffizi is home to many famous works of art, including my favorite piece “The Birth of Venus” by Botticelli.
12. Visit The Fashion Museums: Capucci, Gucci and Ferragamo
– If you’re into fashion, and are looking to be amazed, visit each of these museums to see the work of these talented, and iconic, designers.
13. Grab a quick pastry (bomboloni are my favorite) and an amazing cappuccino from a small cafe
– If you want to do it the Italian way, stand at the counter while you eat and enjoy. It is actually cheaper this way, and you’ll get to observe the locals more.
14. Go grab aperitivo before dinner one night
-Aperitivo is a common Italian tradition where many bars will serve an appetizer buffet for free, with the purchase of a drink. Go grab an Aperol Spritz (my Italian favorite) for 7 euro and eat all the appetizers that your heart desires. (Who else agrees that the US needs to adopt this tradition?!)
Have any favorite spots in Florence that I missed? Leave your thoughts in a comment!