Oh Firenze.. how it got me in such a frenzy when I had to leave that beautiful city! From the architecture, the cobblestone streets, the impeccable food and the shopping, I absolutely have this on my "must go back" to visit list! I was there for a little less than a week and goodness gracious did I eat. In fact, I made a rule that I had to have four full meals a day to truly get the foodie experience I was hoping to attain while in Florence. Obviously I had to have a treat between those meals, so I took a gelato break each time! Funny thing about traveling to Europe is that you eat an immense amount of food, but since you walk practically everywhere, and there are not gross hormones in their foods, you either don't gain weight, or if you are like me, you may even come back home skinnier!
Because I love you all and want you to have a special experience in Florence, I have a list below on things you absolutely must do, eat and where to shop.
Where to eat/drink:
Per my good friend Kayte, who lived there before and set me up for success on everything Firenze, you should absolutely stay off the touristy streets. The food is going to be double the price and it certainly will not taste as authentic as you would hope it would.
-Sandwiches- Go to All'Antico Vinaio- if you want to have the best sandwich you have ever had in your entire life, then go here. Ask them to make it their way and ensure you ask for some balsamic glaze! Fantastico!
-Pizza- Go to I' Pizzacchiere - you will be able to grab a quick bite of pizza and you will be changed for life.
-Pasta? Go to Yellow Bar- it is fairly close to the Duomo. They have homemade pasta there that is out of this world. Their Fiorentina (Florentine steak) is a must!
-Steak? Go to Golden View- it is across the Ponte Vecchio, on the water. It is romantic and fancy! The authentic florentine food there is phenomenal.
-Cocktails? Go to Art Bar- it is owned by two Scottish men and all they server is popcorn and the best cocktails you will find in the city. If you are into supreme mixologists, then this is your place. They take 20-minutes just to perfect each cocktail.
-Appetizers? Go to the Santa Croce area- wander over to this church and in the area you will see lots of restaurants open their doors for appertivo, which is Italian appetizer time! Great authentic appetizers!
-Gelato? Go to Marco Ottaviano II Gelato Gourmet- fantastic organic gelato! WOW!
Where to Shop:
-Fashion District- This area is near the Piazza de Republica. This is your mecca of high-fashion. MUST GO!
-San Lorenzo- it is a street market located in between the Duomo and the train station. This is your Italian version of a black market and you will want to find and bargain for some great leather goods
What to See/Do:
-Duomo - Cathedral of Santa Maria dei Fiore. This is the famous cathedral dome that dominates the Firenze skyline.
-Boboli Gardens- Absolutely beautiful gardens that you would be crazy not to visit.
-Watch sunset on bridge of Ponte Vecchio- and if you are like me, do it while eating a sandwich.
-Day trip to Tuscany- book a tour that will pick you up from your hotel and take you the magical wine country. Eat amazing food and drink plenty of wine! This is absolutely romantic and I highly suggest it!
What to Wear:
People are beyond well-dressed in Florence. Only the tourists are dressed in "touristy" casual attire. Everyone else? Well they look like they just walked out of a Vanity Fair photoshoot. Guys, wear blazers as often as possible, wear loafers, cuffed pants or trousers, and high-tops on casual days. Ladies, wear flowy dresses, leave your crop tops in the states and dress like a chic lady.
Below I have some pics at Hotel Montebello Splendid, a 5-star hotel in Florence, where I am enjoying a lovely afternoon in a cute outfit and sipping on some tea! Ciao Bellas!