Travel Guide to Florence, Italy

Travel Guide to Florence, Italy

I have to be completely honest...Florence didn't overly impress me at first. Our apartment and the view from it was incredible, seeing some of the infamous sites in person was cool, shopping the food market and making a spectacular meal at home was unforgettable, and going up into the hills right outside the city limits was breathtaking, but Florence as a whole did not take my breath away. Despite the fact that we went in the off-season, the streets were packed with tourists and shops and restaurants geared towards tourist, not exactly my cup of tea. But there were still a few gems of moments that stood out enough for me to recommend them as well as make me want to go back and give the city another chance.

Have you ever been? Did you enjoy visiting?



When I pictured my outfits for Florence, I pictured a kind of old world-romantic-lace something or other. But, to be completely honest, I didn't even pack any lace pieces (I know, I know...who plans outfits based on things they don't have?!). I ended up buying a lace skirt while we were in Italy, which you can see dressed up here, or in a more casual, boho style here. Because Florence is farther south, it was obviously a bit warmer, so one day I wore just a wool turtleneck sweater, boyfriend jeans and simple flats (which can be seen here) and another day I paired my boyfriend jeans with a striped top and my leather jacket. Both outfits worked out perfectly and I wasn't too hot or too cold. Obviously, if you're visiting in the dead of winter you'll want a heavier coat, and the middle of summer will have you wanting cotton sundresses (which seems to be the running theme of what to wear in Italy in the summertime, at least in my mind). {Picture above taken by Urška & Domen}



We received a lot of recommendations for Florence, all of which we were super thankful for. The restaurants in the main area of Florence seemed to be never ending and most of them looked pretty tourist-focused, so I'd say if you're looking for good, authentic cuisine, you'll definitely want to get personal recommendations from somebody your trust. Of course, you'll find similar pastas, pizzas and sauces that you'll find throughout the rest of Italy, but Florentine cuisines revolves heavily around hearty country fare and meats, fresh produce, and keeping things simple. Some of the foods to try in the region are: almond biscuits (basically a biscotti; you can find these in any bakery or even prepackaged in a grocery store) that are usually served with a dessert wine, Florentine steak (known as bisteccaFiorentina), Chianti wine, beans, tomatoes and stews.

Breakfast- Our Airbnb host had left us toast, jam and nutella, and coffee, so we ate that for breakfast every day, along with some fresh fruit we picked up from the market.

Lunch- One of my good blogging friends (who study abroad in Florence aka I totally trust her recommendations) told us about a little hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop. She warned it was a bit hard to find, but that it was well worth hunting down, and she was not wrong (on both accounts). I Due Fratellini truly is a hole in the wall, but they have some of the best sandwiches I've ever had (pictured above). Each one only has 2 or 3 ingredients on it, all very Tuscan and very fresh, but don't worry about finding something you like...they have a massive menu with something for everyone. And the best part? Each sandwich is only €3! Crazy, right? They also sell wine, so you'll see plenty of people standing right there on the street drinking wine and eating their sandwiches. It's glorious! Just note that the line can get pretty long, especially at prime times, like lunch and dinner.

Dinner- For dinner one night, we shopped at the local market, Mercato di Sant'Ambrogio, and then made a feast at home. Mercato Centrale is a more popular market, which means it's also more packed, more expensive and more touristy, meaning I don't recommend it. Mercato di Sant'Ambrogio was only a few minutes walk from our apartment and had beautiful produce, super cheap prices and the nicest people. Everyone was giving us samples and, as I mentioned in the feast post, everyone gives coordinating fresh herbs with whatever vegetables you buy. It's absolute heaven! Even if you don't have an apartment to make a meal in, I 'd recommend going to get some fruit or veggies as a fresh snack, grabbing some sliced meats and cheeses for a picnic spread, or grabbing one of the ready-made items and eating it for lunch on the spot.

Trattoria Mamma Gina- Another great recommendation from a foodie friend. The food was great, the server was uber friendly and the prices were very reasonable. 

La Reggia Degli Etruschi- We didn't actually eat here, though we really, really wanted to, hence why I'm adding it to this list. It's actually in a small town right, Fiesole, located right outside of Florence (if you don't have a car, you can take a cab there). The town is up on a hill, meaning the restaurant looks out over Florence. As you can imagine, that makes for a pretty epic meal backdrop.

Dessert- We had Tuscan biscuits that we picked up at the grocery store that we munched on for dessert, but we also grabbed gelato at Vivoli, which was incredibly delicious.



We absolutely loved our Florence Airbnb. Then again, when you look directly out onto the Duomo and the hills of Tuscany, what's not to love?! The central location was perfect for all the attractions and food. It was a bit of a hike (about 20-30 minutes) from the train station, so if you have a lot of luggage you might want to grab a cab. We enjoyed the extra workout, but dragging 4 massive pieces of luggage over cobblestone streets packed with tourists isn't for everyone. A few other things to note- the apartment is on the top floor. Downside- you've got to walk up a crazy amount of stairs. Plus side- you can eat more pasta and gelato. Because the apartment is on the top floor, and the building is, obviously, a million years old, sometimes the hot water doesn't make it all the way to the top. We only had an issue with the shower once, but we waited a few minutes and it was fine. Our host was super nice, and, as I mentioned above, she left us a few essentials (Yes, Nutella is an essential!). She was also there to greet us and show us around the space, and she met us right before we left to make sure everything went smoothly. We'd definitely recommend her spot!



Florence is packed full of art, history and museums and I definitely recommend taking full advantage of those, if you can/that's your thing. For us, we enjoyed strolling the streets and taking as many photos as possible. Of course, we loved checking out Ponte Vecchio (it was especially fun at night as there were street artists and people just hanging out and drinking wine), and the Duomo. We also loved going up into the hillsides of Florence for our photo shoot. It was definitely off the beaten path a bit (and we probably wouldn't have discovered it if our photographers hadn't taken us up there), but I'm so glad that we did. The views are amazing, there are less people and more touches of Tuscany, and you also get in a serious workout. Piazza Michelangelo and the Boboli Gardens are also highly recommended points of interest.



To get the best photos (aka ones without a lot of people in them) of infamous sites (like the Duomo or the Ponte Vecchio) go very early or very late in the day.

This probably goes without saying but for optimal visiting times that don't include as many tourists, plan your trip for the middle of the week in the off-season.