Beginners Guide to Florence, Italy

I was fortunate enough to spend just over two months living in the beautiful city of Florence in Italy. I decided to put together a mini guide of my favourite areas of Florence – enjoy!

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Culture

Florence is full of culture, it’s impossible to see everything in one trip. I would say that some of the must-sees are the Florence Cathedral (or Duomo), the Uffizi Gallery, the Statue of David, and the Boboli Gardens.

If you are keen on seeing as many museums, galleries, and attractions as possible, something to look into getting is a FirenzeCard. With this card, you can gain free access to every cultural attraction in Florence, and skip the lines which is a massive bonus in summer. It costs 85 euros for 72 hours which is well worth the price if you are considering seeing multiple museums.

Another thing to look out for if you are in Florence on the first Sunday of the month is the free entry the city has to all attractions. However the lines are very long so I recommend turning up early!

And don’t bother with the guided tours people on the street will offer you – they’re scams!

Another way to soak up the culture is to simply walk through the streets. They are full of statues, old buildings and interesting architecture. One of my favourite things to do while I was in Florence was to walk around the streets – I would take a different route every time I would go out to see more of the streets of Florence!

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Shopping

When I go to a different country, I like to try to discover interesting brands or shopping that is unique to that destination. While Florence is full of the classic designer brands and their shops are amazing, I loved discovering the smaller shops. I found that by wandering through the alley ways, I was able to discover some amazing brands. Two of my favourites were Bjork and Coexist.

The leather market in San Lorenzo is amazing to walk through. There are hundreds of different products to look at but just be prepared to be hassled a bit and you have to haggle to get a good price!

The Farmacia Santa Maria Novella is no ordinary pharmacy. It is full of magnificent perfumes, candles and natural remedies – you’re hit by a wall of fragrance from the second you walk in. It is a beautiful place to visit.

The Ponte Vecchio is the destination for an amazing range of classic jewellery. The bridge is lovely to walk across and there are usually buskers singing or playing music.

If you are into designer brands, I would highly recommend a trip to The Mall – which you can read about in my post!

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Food

Santo Spirito is a fantastic area for restaurants. The piazza has many trattorias to choose from you really can’t go wrong – I went to almost every one in the square!

The bistecca al fiorentina, or Florentine steak, is a must when visiting Florence if you are a meat eater. It is incredibly pricey but native to Florence and is what I would say would be the best meat I have ever had. Head to Buca Mario for one! Acqua al 2 was another great restaurant for meat and it also has other traditional Italian options.

If you’re looking for a great panini, look no further than Osteria All’antico vinaio. They got so popular they opened 4 stores on the same street! There is always a massive line but they move incredibly quickly. They are also probably the largest, most filling panini in Florence so if you’re hungry, this is the place for you!

The Mercato Centrale Firenze is a fresh food market where you can buy produce and grab some food and drinks. There is a great selection of ‘fast food’ (ie. fresh pasta, antipasto platters) and it is also great to walk around.

Gelato is everywhere in Florence but it is good to have a look around as some can be very overpriced and the ones with high stacks of gelato are generally not as authentic. La Carraia was one of my favourites. They had great flavours and you can get one scoop for only 1 euro!

If you have allergies like I do, Florence can be a little bit tough. One tip I can give is to memorise your allergen in Italian and ask anyone you need. Some may not be that interested or understand why it’s important so it may be a good idea to memorise ‘allergy’ too. If you are gluten intolerant, supermarkets generally have a good selection, or you can check out Starbene Senza Glutine which is a gluten free bakery – it also has some vegan desserts!

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Wine and Bars

Santa Croche has some great night life and bars. If you just want to have a relaxed night, heading to the piazza and sitting on the steps with some drinks is lovely. I frequented the bar Off the Hook, and Eby’s is a fun experience if you ask for tequila shots (I won’t ruin the surprise)!

Wine is of course a highlight anywhere in Italy. Going for aperitivo (some light snacks and drinks) before dinner was the perfect way to wind down after a day of walking around. We loved to go to the San Niccolo area for this.

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Coffee

Coffee is everywhere in Florence and the classic Italian way to drink coffee is an espresso shot or macchiato while standing at the bar. One thing to look out for however, is that if you take a seat, you will generally be charged a cover charge for the table.

If you’re looking for a good cafe to chill in and take a seat instead of the classic coffee standing at a bar, check out Ditta Artigianale or La Ménagère. To me, these cafe’s felt very Melbourne so they were nice to visit occasionally!

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Views

The view from Piazza Michelangelo is hands down the best in the city. Grab some wine and food (and be prepared to walk up some stairs) and enjoy the sunset while sitting on the steps of the Piazza.

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If you ever have the chance to visit Florence it is an absolute must! Let me know down below if you have and what you thought!

 

Leah x

Capri | Positano | Sorrento | Chianti | Verona | Pompeii | Venice | Milan | Florence | Annecy

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