Sigh… take me back to Italy! Even time I write these trip recaps and travel guides, I can’t help but feel wistful for hot summer nights sipping delicious Italian wine and eating giant bowls of pasta. Without a doubt, Florence was my absolute favorite stop during our trip to Italy this summer. There was just something so magical and romantic about the terra cotta roof tiles, the crumbling facades, and the rich, beautiful history. Florence was my third stop during my 2.5 week trip, after Pisa and Lunigiana in Tuscany, and the first city Sean and I got to experience together.
Florence Travel Guide
Let’s be really blunt about it: I adored Florence. I’ve spoken before about how much I love the charming crumbliness of Italy, and Florence was no exception. The architecture and the building materials really spoke to me, as well. I’m a sucker for anything marble and so much of Florence’s important historical architecture is made of incredible specimens of stone. I also really came to appreciate how Florentines use pattern and print in totally unexpected ways. After studying so much of this in design school, seeing these super-old works of art really took away my breath.
Things to Do in Florence
With a city so full of culture and art, it can be really difficult to narrow down what to do. When we travel, Sean and I usually plan out a few must-see spots, then spend the rest of our time wandering and exploring. Our trip to Florence was no different! While there, we loved:
- Piazza del Duomo which includes the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Brunelleschi’s Dome, Giottp’s Bell Tower, the Baptistry of San Giovanno, the Crypt of Santa Reparata, and the Opera Museum — I urge you to book tickets ahead of time here because one ticket will get you into all of them and you can reserve the time you’d like to see everything.
- Gucci Garden
- Pont de Vecchio — it can get very crowded, but the view from the bridge is lovely and it’s fun people watching.
- The Uffizi Gallery
- The Accademia Gallery to see Michelangelo’s David
- The Boboli Gardens and the Pitti Palace
Also, if you’re interested in booking an incredible tour guide, you must reach out to Emily Moloney. I went on two separate tours with her and absolutely loved her and all of her knowledge.
Where to Stay in Florence
We stayed in the most gorgeously decorated loft in Florence. I found it on Airbnb and the photos completely sold me. The decor, lighting, accent pieces… everything was utterly chic and perfect. As for the location, it was a bit off the beaten path, across the Arno from Florence. The weather was really lovely, so we chose to walk a lot. It only took about 20 minutes to get into the heart of Florence, so it wasn’t bad at all! And nothing was better than waking up in a bedroom overlooking the rolling hills of Tuscany.
Best Restaurants in Florence
Oh my god… the food. Italian food is one of my favorite cuisines, but experiencing it in Italy was beyond my expectations. The restaurant scene in Florence is incredible, as well. Most areas within Italy are known for local dishes that only they serve and in Florence that would be the Florentine Steak. Just be careful when ordering that because it is literally a kilo of meat! It’s definitely a dish to be shared.
Here is a very short list of restaurants that we loved, but please be aware that there are so many more delicious, must-eat spots that we just did not have time to visit!
- Trattoria Za Za — get the osso buco.
- La Stalla dell Osteria — one of the best sandwiches of my life!
- La Ménagère
- Trattoria Sergio Gozzi
- Da Nerbone
- Osteria Santo Spirito — get the four-cheese gnocchi.
Seriously, this post barely scratches the surface of all that Firenze has to offer. There are soooo many more incredible places to eat, explore, and shop that I just did not have time to see this year. I cannot wait to go back next year.
If you’re local to Florence or have been before, what’s missing from this list? I’d love to know what some of your favorites are! And in case you missed them, here are the travel guides for our entire Italian vacation:
- Travel Guide for Pisa
- Travel Guide for Tuscany & Annette Joseph Styling Workshop
- Travel Guide: Florence
- Travel Guide: Lake Como
- Travel Guide: Venice
Photography by Jojotastic.