My Ultimate Guide to Florence
Whether you’re visiting or studying abroad, here are my recommendations for Florence.
But first, I have one very important rule. Seriously, if you get anything from this then I hope this is top of mind!
DON’T ONLY FOLLOW GUIDES FROM OTHER PEOPLE, INCLUDING THIS ONE.
I know that seems hypocritical to say considering I’m writing this, but just hear me out. Listening to recommendations is awesome and looking at the top ten restaurants on TripAdvisor is great. It’s amazing that we have so many resources to gain insight from before our big trips, but it also hinders us. It takes away our curiosity to get lost and to explore. It takes away our desire to find smaller places that are untouched and away from tourist sights. So as you’re planning for your trip, keep that in mind. You don’t need to follow the exact path everyone else has taken, make your own unique experience.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get started.
☺ A favorite that I regularly went to
For Coffee and Baked Goods
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- ☺ La Loggia Delgi Albizi – My FAVORITE pastries; you can’t go wrong with anything here. My friend Courtney and I were regulars here and I can proudly say we tried almost everything and have never disliked anything... but anything with chocolate it great because they actually use chocolate rather than just nutella.
- Ditta Artigianale – has those trendy café vibes. Wonderful breakfast menu and music. Perfect if you need to study. Amazing fresh oj.
- Mama’s Bakery – if you’re someone who NEEDS coffee to function, this is one of the only places that’ll serve American styled coffee instead of just an espresso shot. Plus their bagels are great.
- La Milkeria – coffee and crepes, enough said.
On-The-Go Snacks and Sandwiches
- ☺ Da’Vinattieri – my FAVORITE sandwiches were from here. They have a wide selection and everything is delicious. This was my go-to on travel days when I knew I’d be hungry later. Incredible.
- All’Antico Vinaio – the place to get a huge sandwich that will leave you stuffed for hours. There’s always a long line, so go earlier in the morning if you want to beat the crowd.
- Any Bar – any “snack bar” will always have coffee, alcohol and sandwiches so if you need something quick just hop into any bar for a sandwich!
For a Sit-Down Meal
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- ☺ Tamero Pizzeria – My FAVORITE pizza that I’ve ever had in my life. It’s honestly perfect and always freshly made, you can watch them make it. They have a wonderful menu that changes from winter to summer so you know they’re using in-season ingredients. My go-to meal: The Buffala pizza and a wiezen beer. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
- ☺ The Centrale Marketplace – this is a large market with different stands for different food. Upstairs there are sandwiches, pasta, pizza, cannolis, and more! You could come here multiple times and never get the same thing.
- Zaza – good for dinner or lunch and has a large menu. It’s nice for when you’re not sure what you want, but their gnocchi is great.
- Oesteria Santa Spirito – date night? Celebrating? This is perfect for a fancier night out. Get the truffle gnocchi! Also, make reservations ahead of time.
- Il Paiolo – if you want a Florentine steak there’s a deal for two people where you get an appetizer, potatoes, water, the steak and cake for 70 euros. I know that may seem like a lot, but if you want a steak then you can’t beat this full dinner deal.
- ☺ La Carraia
- ☺ Vivoli
- ☺ Dei Neri
There are so many gelato places, but these places take my top 3 spots. For the most part all gelato places are amazing and as long as they’re not piled high and awkwardly overly colorful, then you know it’ll be good.
Aperitivo – happy hour with an open buffet
- Kisch – this is the by far the best apertivo option. It has the most options and big plates and everything actually tastes good. The continuously bring out food so everything is hot.
- Tamero Pasta Bar – this is connected to the pizza side, but has a different menu. Drinks are beautiful and selection is delicious.
- Moyo – drinks are incredible and food is also amazing. You might need a reservation here.
- ☺ La Loggia Delgi Albizi – this is a good option if your wallet is hurting. There’s a decent selection of food and it tastes how it looks, but what’s out is what they offer so don’t expect more plates to come out.
SHOPPING – places I haven't seen in America
- The San Lorenzo Leather Market and Stands – for leather goods. FYI these goods are typically made with Italian Leather and then made in China. So don’t go thinking that these products are 100% genuine. You get what you pay for so don’t forget to bargain. If you want real leather made in Italy, go into shops.
- The Central Marketplace – another repeat, but downstairs is where they have vendors that sell goods. So if you want to take home delicious items come here for alcohol, oils, pasta, etc.!
- Subdued – for trendy clothes if you’re a young adult.
- ☺ Santo Spirito Markets – They have a daily market for food, household items and clothes. On the 2nd Sunday of every month they host a larger market with a mix of food, antiques and handmade items. I absolutely loved this market. Great for a quick bite to eat or little souvenirs for friends or family.
TOURIST SIGHTS – that don’t come up on Google
- ☺ The Rose Gardens – they’re on the way up towards Piazza Michelangelo and they’re stunning.
Let’s be honest, everything comes up on Google… museums, churches, statues… they’re all amazing and worth seeing but my favorite things to see were: The David, The Uffizi, Boboli Gardens, Pitti Palace, Piazza Michelangelo and the Rose Gardens.
GENERAL TIPS FOR SURVIVAL IN FLORENCE
- Put on you RBF (resting b*tch face) and ignore everyone, because they’re all trying to get your money. Things to look out for: gypsies shaking cups, selfie stick people, friendship bracelet people, paintings on the ground (step on it and you buy it!), and the list goes on and on.
- Don’t get pickpocketed. You don’t need a fancy money belt under your shirt. Just don’t be stupid and keep an eye on your belongings at all times.
- Wear comfy shoes. Don’t even try with booties or wedges because the cobblestone will kill you or break your ankles.
- Avoid the Ponte Vecchio. It’s pretty to cross once but after that take the other bridges so you can enjoy looking at it rather than taking 10 minutes just to cross it.
- Bring your student ID because sometimes it’ll save you money.
- Be aggressive in lines. Italians don’t believe in queuing or standing in lines, and will budge. It’s nothing personal, they just don’t care and want to go when they can. So be aggressive and just go when you have the chance.
- The street signs are on the sides of buildings… it’s very confusing.
- Don’t pet the dogs without asking. If you’re like me, then you’ll be obsessed with all of the dogs that you’ll see in stores, restaurants… they’re everywhere! But don’t pet them because Italians consider dogs their family not just a pet, and find it rude.
- Speak English. Everyone knows English and can tell when you can’t speak Italian. Sure they appreciate the effort, but will just reply in English. However if you want to know some Italian then here are my top Italian phrases for you:
o Ciao – hello and goodbye
o Basta – enough (good for people trying to sell you stuff)
o Si/No – yes/no
o Grazie – thank you
o Prego - you're welcome/welcome/go ahead/yes (is literally thrown around a lot)
o Mi dispiace – I’m sorry
o Scusa/Permiso – excuse me
o Allora - just a filler word if you wanna use it to seem more Italian
- Google Translate. Great for menus and museums or when things that are written aren’t English.
- LOOK UP!!! You’ll want to stare at your phone for directions, but the buildings and the views are incredible here so enjoy them.
I miss Florence so much and loved it dearly. I hope this guide helps you prep for your trip to Florence, but remember that there is always more to do then just what my biased post suggests.