Recently, I was thinking about collecting travel guides from other blogs and having a page with links to all of them. But then, it occurred to me that we should have our own! I mean, this blog is written by girls who live around the world for girls who live around the world so it only makes sense to write our own travel guides instead of just reading other peoples’ guides. So without further ado, I give you a travel guide to my city: Florence.
What You Should See
The Duomo: the Duomo was one of my favorite parts of Florence. Whenever I was in the city, if I could see the Duomo peeking above the sea of tile roofs, then I knew I wasn’t lost. It’s so beautiful and historic and comforting. Not only should you take a peek inside the church, you should also climb to the top. It’s steep, but definitely not the highest monument you can climb in Italy! The view is gorgeous and the climb allows you to see the beautiful painted ceiling of the dome and you can also see the amazing dome inside of a dome architecture.
The Uffizi: this historic art museum houses some of the world’s most famous artwork. When our entire family visited, we went on Christmas Eve and it was practically empty, letting us linger and gaze at our favorite paintings.
Piazza della Repubblica: this quaint city square is the perfect place to grab some gelato in the evening and sit and simply enjoy being in Florence.
Piazza della Signoria: another beautiful city square, Piazza Signoria is next to the Uffizi and houses the ancient “Palazzo Vecchio,” the current town hall.
Ponte Vecchio: this bridge was the only one Hitler did not destroy on his journey through Florence because he thought it was so beautiful. Not that his opinion really counts, but the bridge truly is beautiful. The bridge is full of old jewelry shops with little houses on top. Worth stopping by to take a few pictures and window shop.
Piazza Michelangelo: a beautiful piazza overlooking Florence. It’s perfect to watch the sun set over the city and there is a church nearby to explore while you wait for the sun to go down.
San Lorenzo Market: an open air market near the Duomo with cheap, but nice, purses, jewelry, tee shirts, scarves, and anything else you could want to take home from Florence for yourself or a friend.
Fiesole: Fiesole is a small village overlooking Florence. My family lived in this small town when we lived in Italy and we loved it. It has several great restaurants, Roman ruins, an old monastery, a gorgeous view of Florence, and a forest with trails that lead you to the site where Leonardo da Vinci launched one of his flying experiments as well as a WWII lookout.
Where to Eat
Il Gatto e La Volpe: a quaint restaurant in downtown Florence with amazing, authentic Italian food. Via Ghibellina 151r Santa Croce, 50122
ZaZas: this restaurant is popular with American tourists, but nonetheless yummy and authentic. For more on why you should eat here, read this blog post by a lady who gets it.
Grom: a gelateria near Florence. Really, you can’t go wrong with gelato, but there are a few places that are a few notches above the rest and this is one. Lots of great flavors.
Hard Rock Cafe: I can’t believe I’m including this, but if you’re really missing some homey food and want a fun (and loud) environment, the Hard Rock Cafe is always a good choice.
A Few Things to Know
You can never go wrong using a Rick Steves travel guide book.
People really do say “mamma mia”
Italians are generally very friendly and ready to help
The bus system is pretty great and fairly easy to navigate
I’m not a coffee-drinker so that why I didn’t include any favorite coffee places, but really any gelateria or cafe that is not near a famous monument will have good options for both
Why I love It
Florence feel like a hidden gem, tucked in between the hills of Tuscany. It is beautiful and historic. Loud and friendly. Peaceful and delicious. My time there was not a vacation, like many people assume. It was hard, but it was worth it. I hope one day you’ll spend some time in la mia bella Firenze!
write a travel guide for your own city and send it to notofthisworld.r2 [at] gmail [dot] com