Planning a trip to Florence, Italy? Read on for the best tips on what to eat and where to go during your stay!
The first time I felt super compelled to go to Italy was when my 12-year-old self saw the greatest film of my generation, The Lizzie McGuire Movie. If Italy is the land of getting mistaken for an international pop star, riding around on a Vespa with an Italian heartthrob, and getting a fashion makeover by top designers, sign me up.
The truth? Italy is SO much better than The Lizzie McGuire Movie depicts. I will trade in a thousand Vespa rides with Paolo for one panini from All’Antico Vinaio. More on that later.
I was fortunate enough to spend a week in Florence, Italy with my boyfriend’s family. It was my second time there, but just as wonderful as the first despite the dreary weather. Let’s recap, shall we?
Things to See in Florence, Italy
The last time I was in Florence, I didn’t even try to see David since the line was ridiculously long. Now, I know why everyone and their mother was trying to get in there. It was seriously breathtaking. Worth the money and the wait to see the real deal, not the outside replica (even though that’s also super impressive and that poor artist doesn’t get enough credit).
Pro Tip: When you’re in the Accademia Gallery, find the room with all of the old musical instruments. If you’re a music lover, you can’t miss this. Seeing the first Stradivarius violin had me shook (yep, I’m an orchestra geek).
I wouldn’t say that I’m a huge art buff, but I can appreciate it especially if I have tour guide who can tell me what I should be getting out of a painting. Although our 3-hour Uffizi tour felt like a test of endurance, the artwork was amazing. My favorite? The Birth of Venus.
No matter what city I visit, I always have to find a place that has the best view of the skyline. Florence, Italy obviously doesn’t have tall skyscrapers for a glitzy New York-esque view, but there is a gorgeous place to go where you can see the river, the Ponte Vecchio, the Duomo, and all of Florence – Piazzale Michelangelo. The catch? It’s a bit of a hike. For real. Your buns will be burning after walking all the way up there. I promise the view is worth it, even on a rainy, cloudy day!
Things to Eat in Florence, Italy
I had three different pizzas that week from three different places: Gusta Pizza, Il Pizzaiuolo, and Sud. The amazing part about true Italian pizza is that buying by the slice is not a thing. You’re getting a whole pie to yourself. America, I’m gonna need you to get on board with this. All of the pizzas I had were incredible, but I have to say that Sud inside the Central Market was THE best. Could it be because it was our first pizza of the week? Maybe, but I’m still having dreams about it.
When you think of Italian food, you think pasta and pizza, right? Well you’re forgetting another very important p-word: PANINIS. During my pre-trip Instagram research, I saw so many people posting photos of beautiful, huge paninis they were eating while walking around on the streets and I was on a mission to find one. A lot of cafes we passed by had mediocre-looking paninis, but thanks to the Internet I was determined to get one from All’Antico Vinaio. Holy cow. I think this was actually my favorite thing I had the whole trip. The focaccia bread was massive and SO delicious. 10 out of 10.
Hi, my name is Amanda and I’m addicted to sweets. (Check out my food gallery for more proof.) In other words, my body craves dessert after lunch and dinner every single day. Luckily for me, when in Italy it’s perfectly acceptable to have gelato daily, maybe even twice a day. I felt right at home. There are so many interesting flavors of gelato you can try (lavender, ricotta, and olives and cheese just to name a few), but I’m boring and I stick to the chocolate family. My favorite gelato of the week was straight up chocolate from Gelateria de ‘Medici. Go and get you some!
Take a Day Trip to Siena
I wouldn’t say Florence, Italy is a HUGE city. If you’re spending a week there, I’d suggest taking at least one day trip to a town nearby, like Siena. We booked a private tour that drove us to Siena and back with a winery stop in between. Even on a dreary, rainy day, Siena charmed us!
There you have it! Honestly I could go on and on about all the amazing things to see and do in Florence, Italy. Ditch the outdoor markets and shop for leather at the Scuola de Cuoio. Take a night stroll to the Ponte Vecchio. Ciao!