Florence is one of the most charming and delicious cities I’ve ever been to. I feel so lucky to have been able to live there for a month studying Italian Renaissance Art.
Of all the world’s most notable pieces of art, half of them are in Italy and half of those are in Florence so everywhere you go you’re surrounded by stories and your feet are walking on history.
One of the best things about Florence (aside from it’s yummy food) is that all the main sites and things to see are within walking distance so bring your comfy shoes and this walking guide and get ready to have the time of your life.
What to expect in Florence:
Language: Italian is the dominant language spoken here, but most people can speak a little english. “Ciao”, “Grazie” and “Gelato” can go a long way. haha kind of kidding, but look up a few words before you go!
Credit/Debit Cards: There are ATMs around the city and most places only take VISA and MasterCard if that. Always carry cash with you because a lot of eateries only accept cash.
Weather: Florence has HOT and humid summers and very cold winters. However, it usually doesn’t snow.
Cold season: October-April
Hot season: May-September
There are wonderful Air Bnb’s in Florence and anywhere near the Duomo or Ponte Vecchio would be a good central location to be able to walk to most of the popular attractions. I stayed on Via Ghibellina in a lovely apartment.
(sorry in advance, this is going to be the largest portion of this blog, but Florence is so delicious, it had to be done. Favorites in blue.)
BEST OVERALL MEAL EVER:
La Giostra – Borgo Pinti, 10-18 R, 50121 Firenze, Italy
I’ve had a lot of really good food in my short lifetime and this meal easily makes it to the Top 5. They’re famous for their Pear Gnocchi and it’s easy to tell why. Celebrities and VIP’s are known to go here, and regardless, it’s popular, so if you want to go, plan ahead and make a reservation.
Gusta Pizza – Via Maggio, 46R, 50125, Florence, Italy
Hands down #1 best pizza I’ve ever had. (and I don’t even like pizza) The fluffiest, softest crust, topped with the freshest vegetables and cheese taste like your sinking your teeth into a cloud. A pizza cloud. It’s well known in Florence, so show up early and ask for it to be shaped like a heart!
Pizzeria O’Vesuvio – Via Dei Cimatori 21r, 50122, Florence, Italy
They have ricotta stuffed crust!!
All’Antico vinaio – Via dei Neri, 74/R, 50100 Firenze, Italy
Located right behind the Uffizi, this popular Panini stop will send your taste buds on a trip. I can still taste mine. Cash only!
Amorino panino e vino – Via Dei Servi 16r, 50122, Florence, Italy
Great flavors and great service. I went here a few times because it was so yummy!
Antico noe – Volta di S. Piero, 6/8/r, 50122 Firenze, Italy
Trattoria ZaZa – Piazza del Mercato Centrale, 26r, 50123 Firenze, Italy
The ham and mushroom gnocchi is to die for. Such a fun, quirky little restaurant near the San Lorenzo Leather Market
Osteria Santo Spirito – Piazza Santo Spirito, 16/R, 50125 Firenze, Italy
This place gets packed so call ahead and then dive head first into their amazing truffle gnocchi.
WARNING! There is such a thing as bad gelato in Italy. Don’t be fooled by the beautiful mounds of gelato you see in the window. That’s usually an indicator that it’s not very fresh and won’t be very good.
Gelateria Dei Neri – Via dei Neri, 9/11, 50122 Firenze, Italy
I think I went here 4 times… maybe more. Amazing, classic flavors at a really great price and it’s a fun place to sit and hang out with some friends.
Vivaldi – Via dei Renai, 15, 50125 Firenze, Italy
Oreo and Dark Chocolate were my favorite here and they have a cozy little nook in the back to relax while you eat your gelato.
Edorado – Piazza del Duomo, 45/R, 50122 Firenze, Italy
Try dark chocolate and cinnamon!
Venchi – Via Calimaruzza, 18, 50123 Firenze, Italy
Magnum – Piazza del Duomo, 47/R, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Make your own Magnum Bar!
News Café– Via del Giglio, 59, 50123 Firenze, Italy
This café by the train station has the coolest latte art and great vibes. They’ll draw the Duomo in your café latte! Also, while you’re in Italy you have to try “drinking chocolate” at least once (but you’ll probably want it about 10 times).
“Latte” in Italian means milk so if you order a “latte” you’ll literally get steamed milk. You have to order “Cafe Latte” to get it with coffee in it.
Mercato Centrale: The Central Market is a fun little indoor food market with groceries and produce on the bottom level and all kinds of restaurants to choose from up top. Pizza, Pasta, Panini’s, Thai food, Sushi, Gelato, you name it, they probably have it.
Walk across the Ponte Vecchio
A stroll across this historic bridge is a must when you come to Florence. Check out the cute nick knack shops as you walk along!
As one of the largest and best-known museums in the world, the Uffizi is home to some of the most famous pieces of art from the Italian Renaissance. Even if art isn’t your thing, this museum will wow you.
When you’re done, get the best, most massive Panini at All Antico Vinaio, which is right behind the Uffizi. Beware, the line is long because it’s SO GOOD.
The Duomo comes in 3 parts; the church, the museum, the baptistery. They sell single tickets to each part or you can buy a ticket to the museum, which gives you entrance to the baptistery and entrance to climb to the top of the Duomo (which I highly recommend).
The Church: Aka Florence Cathedral aka The Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, confusing, I know but you can’t miss this massive, incredible structure in the middle of the city. You can enter the cathedral for free but you must purchase a ticket and reserve a time to climb to the top of the dome. 465 stairs, but worth the view!
The Museum: Located right behind the cathedral, this museum contains the original gates to the baptistery with some of the most intricate, detailed designs of bible stories in gold.
Michelangelo’s last sculpture as well as Donatello’s “Mary Magdalene” are also featured in this museum.
Buying a ticket also gives you entrance to the cathedral, the stair climb and the baptistery so it’s a great deal!
The Baptistry: The ceiling of this baptistry is incredible.
Hike to the Piazza del Michelangelo
If you want the most beautiful view of Florence, head to the Piazza del Michelangelo. And for an even better view, do it right before sunset. It’s kind of out there, but it’s close to Vivaldi so stock up on some gelato if you make the trek out there.
Academia Gallery: The David
The David and some of Michelangelo’s unfinished sculptures are located here. This massive marble statue is one of my favorite pieces of art in Florence, if not the world. There’s pretty much always a long line and you can’t make a reservation, so plan accordingly and go early!
Santa Croce Church
Michelangelo is buried in this beautiful church. Visit the café to the left of the church for some amazing hot chocolate and nutella cornettos!
The Leather Factory
Florence is famous for their high quality leather. Behind the Santa Croce is a leather factory where you can learn how they make all kinds of leather and even buy your own leather journal, purse or belt! It’s a hidden gem that makes your trip so unique.
Visit Giuliano Ricchi and get a custom made, smashed Euro bracelet
Okay this is amazing. A friend of mine told me about this little secret and it was one of my favorite things we did in Florence. This little man smashes Euros and makes them into bracelets for you if you knock on his apartment door. I thought it was sketchy but it ended up being one of the coolest experiences of my month abroad. Check out this article for the full story and how to find him. Things to do in Florence: get a smashed souvenir
San Lorenzo Leather Market
Nothing but leather. Walk up and down rows of vendors selling their leather creations, but don’t walk away paying full price. They expect to negotiate so don’t be shy! I bartered for an $800 leather jacket and got it for $150. It’s the most amazing thing I own and one of the coolest experiences!
Visit and take a tour of the Palazzo Vecchio
This castle-like building was home to the Medici family, who owned Florence in the first half of the 15th century and is now the town hall of Florence. The tours will give you an inside peek into their lives and history of this incredible city. Not to mention the interior is GORGEOUS.
Other great places to check out:
The Bargello – two other Davids are here
Check out my other guides for a weekend in Rome and Venice!
Thanks for reading today, happy traveling!
Xx Nicole #DoStuff