Everything You Need to Know About Florence
Florence, or as the Italians call it “Firenze, is one of most beautiful Italian cities. You will find this city is full of history and surrounded by some of the most beautiful regions, such as Tuscany. Florence is full of Renaissance history and home to countless stunning monuments. If that wasn’t enough for you, Florence is also known for some of the best cuisine in the world.
I have complied some of my recommendations to give you a better experience during your trip to Florence, one that I hope is filled with many meaningful moments that create a trip of a lifetime! Here is everything I think you need to know about Florence.
What to See
The Duomo is known as the most popular tourist destination in Florence. That being said, clearly, you must visit if you’re in Florence. This stunning cathedral is comprised of five amazing monuments, including the famous dome and bell tower. You can climb to the top, but it comes at a price of about $16. Be prepared to wait for about an hour before making it inside. Don’t have the patience to wait? You maybe interested in visiting the Palazzo Vecchio, for equally incredible views, or the Basilica di Santa Croce, for fantastic religious architecture, Both of these spots typically have no waiting time compared to the Duomo.
This iconic, picturesque bridge is a can’t-miss when you’re in Florence. Spanning over the Arno River and dating back to 966, this pedestrian bridge is today filled with jewelry shops and goldsmiths. For a great photo, head to the St. Trinity Bridge at sunset and wait for Mother Nature to throw her beautiful colors upon the old bridge.
I suggest you visit the Academia Gallery to see the David by Michelangelo. Although there are several copies of the statue around the city I recommend seeing the original as it is absolutely stunning,
TIP: Spend time to marvel this magnificent piece of art and not be one of those tourists who takes a selfie but never really looks and appreciates its beauty.
The Uffizi Gallery is a famous art museum, home to some of the most important Italian artworks from the Renaissance period, including pieces from Botticelli, Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Michelangelo and more. You may even recognize the Uffizi’s most famous work, The Birth of Venus.
The Palazzo Vecchio is the town hall of Florence, which dates back to 1299. You can climb 416 steps to the top of Arnolfo’s tower for panoramic views of Florence and Piazza Della Signoria. It offers a copy of Michelangelo’s David statue as well as the gallery of statues in the adjacent Loggia dei Lanzi.
The San Lorenzo market is next to Mercato Central. I recommend you get something to eat and after working up an appetite go shopping. At the San Lorenzo Market, you can get anything from leather goods, scarfs, jewelry or clothing. Aside from treating yourself this is also the perfect place to buy souvenirs from Florence!
TIP: Make sure to bargain! Don’t forget that you can shop around for what you want and many places carry similar items; there’s no need to buy from the first stand you see.
What to Eat
Gusta Pizza is one of the top rated pizzas in Florence. You can choose from one of seven Neapolitan-style pizzas at an average cost of about $8 per pie. Take one to go and find a scenic view by the St. Trinity Bridge and don’t forget a bottle of wine too!
Trattoria 4 Leoni is a MUST! This restaurant was the best meal we had on our entire trip to Italy. They have a beautiful patio in a cute little piazza (Piazza della Passera), which is where we sat on a beautiful afternoon and enjoyed lunch. This restaurant was recommended by a local and it did not disappoint one bit. Our appetizers were delicious, with the freshest tomatoes we have ever tasted. The pastas are handmade and the perfect portion. The fiocchetti di pera (pear pasta) was filled with cheese and pear in a light cream sauce and topped with asparagus. The sweet and savory flavors provide a subtle, yet appreciable taste. This pasta is unbelievable and I highly recommend you try it!
We stumbled upon this tiny little gelateria since it was in the same piazza where we ate lunch. Great selection of exotic, creative and tasty flavors. Simply one of the best gelatos we had in Florence. I ordered a cone topped with chocolate and hazelnut gelato that was seriously magical.
We loved the gelato from Marco Ottaviano! It was delicious, creamy and bursting with flavor. They make all of their gelato in-house, using seasonal fruits and ingredients from the best Italian producers. Some of the freshest gelato I have come across in Florence. They even offer gluten free and sugar free gelato to accommodate all dietary needs. What more can you ask for?
Well, there you have it: Everything you need to know about Florence. I mean, of course there is more to Florence, but these are just some of my top recommendations.
What else do you think I should know about Florence? Any recommendations on things to do or eat?
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