Florence is one of Italy’s most romantically iconic cities, with beautiful bridges, narrow cobblestone streets, small cafes, and incredible architecture dating back through the centuries. With loads of museums to visit, churches to explore, and sights to see, it may be challenging to know where to start, so we’ve listed a few helpful tips below.
- Fishing Lab. This is gastronomy at it’s finest. We had one of our absolute best meals here. The menu changes regularly, based on each chef’s varied inspiration, but every dish will always offer completely new tastes and an awakening of senses. No matter what you choose, you won’t be disappointed. Insider tip: They offer half portions of each dish, so you can order multiple plates to try.
- All’ Antico Vinaio. Go here for the best sandwich in town. Known for their focaccia sandwiches, namely La Boss (fresh sliced prosciutto, pecorino cheese and a decedent truffle spread), there is always a line, wrapping around the corner at lunch, with people eating their sandwiches to go on the curbside, but well worth the wait.
- Move On Italian Pub and Record Store. Found in the heart of Florence, Move On is a unique marriage of an eclectic record shop and pub that sits in the midst of Piazza del Duomo.
- Trattoria Anita. Recommended to us by our hotel, this small Tuscan restaurant promises no bells and whistles, but a truly local neighborhood experience, with simple yet hearty Italian food, and delicious carafes of wine.
Must visit museums
- Designer Museums. Many of the world’s most notable designers rose from Italy, and some of them are recognized here in Florence. Visit the Gucci Museo (Gucci Museum) and Museo S.Ferragamo to learn about the humble beginnings and see original pieces that marked the rise of these great designers’ couture empires.
- Museo Galileo. If you have time, this is an interesting museum, showcasing a collection of original tools, maps, and findings of Galileo and other brilliant pioneers of the time, noting breakthroughs in navigation, astrology, alchemy, medicine, mathematics and other sciences. Insider tip: A free app is available to download for an audio tour.
- Galleria dell’ Accademia. Perhaps the most recognized museum in Florence, here you will find Michelangelo’s famous masterpiece, David, along with other highly notable works.
- Ponte Vecchio. Famous around the world, this bridge filled with shops end to end is a staple of Florence, and not to be missed.
- Go to the hilltop of Piazzale Michelangelo for sunset. It’s a magnificent place to watch the sky turn into a rainbow of pink and purple, with all of Florence sprawling below.
- Stroll through Giardino delle rose (Firenze), the rose garden, on your way down from Piazzale Michelangelo, and appreciate the commanding views of the city as you go. Notice also, the Japanese Shorai oasis, donated to the garden by Kyoto in 1998.
- Read the intriguing story of the new golden turtle statue in the middle of Piazza della Signoria.
- Visit this site for more hidden gems of Florence. There’s an interesting story about 3/4 the way down the page about a golden balls atop one of the duomos that fell during a lightning storm.
- Apperitivos, known more commonly as aperitifs, are popular in Florence. Here is a link to five of the best places to enjoy one.
- A spritz (prosecco, Aperol and a splash of club soda) is a preferred apperitivo in Florence, and you must stop for one at your choice of the many darling cafes in Piazza Pitti.
Hotel Santa Croce. While not the fanciest place in town, Hotel Santa Croce offered a prime location, a substantial complementary breakfast, welcoming staff and adequate rooms. It’s also located on the same street Michelangelo grew up on, and we’d highly recommend it
- If you visit Florence toward the end of August, check to see if the Gelato festival is taking place. For a reasonable price, you can buy a bracelet, and enjoy all the gelato your heart (and stomach) desires!
- Be on the lookout for wedding photo shoots. They’re a romantic site to see with the picturesque city as their backdrop.
Must Know – Getting Around
- Driving is tricky. Google Maps doesn’t recognize narrow and pedestrian-only streets in many parts of the old city, so try to find a garage on the exterior, and walk in.
- Florence is a very walkable city, so you shouldn’t need a taxi or your car to get around.