Stop one on our list was Florence. We only were able to spend about 24 hours here, so I listed a few things that I did while visiting and a few extra items that I know are must sees. I really suggest spending a few days in Florence because there is so much to do and see there.
WHERE TO STAY IN FLORENCE
While in Florence we stayed at The Four Seasons, which I talked about in my last post about the private gardens. This hotel was gorgeous and at the high end of what you would pay per night for a hotel in Florence. I also listed two other great places, which are both much more affordable. One my husbands Dad and Step Mom stayed at while visiting, and the other, my best friend and her husband stayed at. These are some great options for different budgets.
Hotel David (Further away from the “downtown” area)
Residenza Giotto (Next to Gucci & Prada)
WHERE TO EAT IN FLORENCE
We ate a lot of great food while in Florence as well, however, I will say my favorite restaurant was also the cheapest. Yes, I will shout it from the rooftops because I am so proud of myself. Our first night in Florence, we ate dinner at a restaurant I found on google maps, because I was looking for something near the Boboli Gardens. The food was fantastic, the house wine was 9 euros for a bottle, and there were no tourists there. I also listed a few other great spots that we visited as well. I really recommend getting pasta and pizza of course! Also be prepared, when you order your second course, normally a meat, it’s strictly the meat. It’s not like America where you get sides with it. I normally just ate starters, and a first course.
#1 Trattoria Boboli – This is about a 5 minute walk from the Boboli Gardens. I ate the rose ravioli, black truffle ravioli with mushrooms and shrimp, a mixed crostini, and the Leonardo house Chianti.
4 Leoni – I recommend you try the Fiocchetti alle pere which is a ravioli filled with pear on a salty cheese sauce. This restaurant is open from midday until midnight.
Borgo San Jacobo – A Ferragamo owned gourmet restaurant overlooking the Arno River. This is for a fancier meal and is open only Sun-Mon 12:30pm-2:30pm & 7:30pm-10:30pm.
Il Santo Bevitore – The food is a Mediterranean combo of creative meets tradition. The menu changes seasonally and the building used to be an old storage, so it still boats the high ceiling, wood furniture, and arches.
Cammillo Trattoria – This lies very close to the Ponte Vecchio where they serve Tuscan food with a twist. There is great pasta and a Bistecca Fiorentina. Make sure to order off the daily menu for the best seasonal dishes. Open Thur-Mon 12:30pm-2pm & 7:30pm-11:30pm.
Gelateria Dei Neri – So many delicious gelatos in a beauiful variety. If they have the frutti di bosco (fruits of the forest), then you must try it! The semifreddo gelatos are also delicious. Open daily 9am-12am.
Caffe Gilli (pronounced Jilly) – This is a beautiful cafe located in the town square next to the carousel and has been around since 1733. Get a table outside to watch the people pass by and make sure to try the salmon and lime sandwhich, a ricotta and almond tart, plus an espresso, or cappuccino. Open Wed-Mon 7:30am-8pm.
SIGHTS TO SEE IN FLORENCE
There is so much to see in Florence, and I didn’t get to do it all. We were only there for a day, so we did a 3 hour walking tour, saw the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, Synoggue, Boboli Gardens, and my in-laws went and saw the David. I am listing all of the things I think are a must see while in Florence, especially if you have a few days to spend sight seeing.
Galleria Dell’Accademia – This houses Michaelangelo’s famous David and his unfinished 4 marble slave statues that look as if they are emerging from the massive blocks of stone.
Duomo – The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, which is also known just as the Duomo. This dominates the skyline and represents the center of the city. If you wish to climb the Dome, there is no elevator and you need to climb all 463 steps to get to the top. During Cathedral Hours, admission is free and other times admission is 10 euros.
Piazza Della Repubblica & Carrousel – A beautiful and buzzing square to sit and have a coffee, or people watch. This houses a gorgeous Carousel, which I didn’t get a chance to photograph because there was construction going on at the time.
Uffizi Gallery – This is one of the oldest and most famous museums in the world. It houses Botticelli’s Birth of Venus among other famous works. Open Tues-Sun 8:15am-6:50pm.
Ponte Vecchio – This spot is spectacularly beautiful and always crowded. There are tourists and artists lining the sidewalk to see the view on the river.
Boboli Gardens – These are an architecturally beautiful garden which is mostly made up of sculptures and greenery cut into geometrical shapes. At the very top there is a rose garden. This garden was the prototype for the Versailles gardens and is a must see. Open Tues-Sun 8:15am-6:50pm.
SHOPPING IN FLORENCE
We didn’t actually get to do much shopping, since we were focused on sight seeing here. However, there are so many great designer shops here on Via Tornabuoni, plus all along near the Ponte Vecchio there are places to buy leather bags and jewelry. If you get a chance to go visit the outlets, which are about 30 mins outside of Florence, they are a great place to go and get a good deal on a Prada, or Gucci bag.
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