So I decided I will not make a city guide of Florence but instead make a few day-tours you can do when you visit the city! There’s definitely so much more to do but I’ll show you the things I enjoyed most. Shamelessly I have to tell you that we only visited one museum, so if your trip is more focussed on art I can’t help you with great tips. Nevertheless, Florence is in fact also an open air museum when it comes to art and architecture. It is also quite small and very walkable! So the first day Michiel and I decided to explorer the city and get to know it a little bit better. We also ate a lot, but I guess that’s just what you do when you’re in Italy because the food is just amazing.
We stayed at the southern part of the Arno (the river) in this apartment, which was located perfectly. You can see all the points of this tour in this map which I couldn’t embed in this blogpost for some reason…
12:00 – Piazza Michelangelo
It’s vacation so don’t get started too early. Also, the Italians lifestyle demands little action in the morning. So get up easy, drink some coffee on your way and eat a croissant or something else. We begin our tour at the south of the river Arno, at Piazza Michelangelo. This place gives you a lovely overview of the city. You can already pinpoint from here the nice places you want to visit. Also you’ll find a copy of Michelangelo’s David here, which is nice if you don’t want to wait two hours in line to see the real work.
13:00 – 15:00 – Lunch
Now it’s time for lunch. The Italians tend to lunch quite late. Think 14:00 – 16:00. However, Florence is so adjusted to its tourists that they also serve a really delicious lunch around 13:00. When you cross the Ponte alle Grazie you’ll find a lot of nice restaurants. We actually enjoyed Mug Café, which is not that Italian, but has a really nice atmosphere.
15:00 – Piazza Santa Croce
This is a really nice square with the Basilica of Santa Croce. A lot of famous Italians are buried here, like Michelangelo, Machiavelli and Dante.
16:00 – Duomo, Piazza della Repubblica and Piazza della Signoria
Now we walk walk to the Duomo. Check your google maps for the quickest way but you can also just wander around in the little streets. All the tourist will probably guide you to the right direction. The duomo and the la Santa Maria del Fiore are very nice to see. You can also go inside but when you don’t want to spent the rest of your day in line, it’s best to do that in the early morning.
Now you walk to the Piazza della Repubblica, where you can drink a nice cup of coffee at Caffé Gilli. Be careful though that you drink your coffee at the bar (unless you want to pay 4 euro’s extra to sit on the terras). Then you continue your way to Piazza della Signoria. You’ll find a lot of very expensive shops with a lot of pretty things on your way.
At the Piazza della Signoria you’ll find a lot of sculptures from Renaissance artists, for example Giambologna and Bandinelli. This was also once the place where the original David of Michelangelo was. Now it it’s being kept at the Gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts.
17:00 – Gelato!
Now we want to get back to the southern side of the Arno. We can do that by crossing the river through the famous Ponte Vecchio but if you go a little bit to the right and take Ponte Santa Trinita you have a supernice view over Ponte Vecchio (Kodak moment!) and you’ll end up at the best gelato spot in Florence (I think)! There are lots of places that sell icecream in Florence, and I encourage you to try out at least a few because Tuscany gelato is absolutely de-li-cious!
18:00 – Aperitivo
Aperitivo is an amazing Italian tradition. I quote from our good friend Google: The experience of the aperitivo is a consolidated Italian tradition. Literally, aperitivo is a pre-meal drink whose scope is to stimulate appetite, but it has come to signify the ritual of going out for a drink at one of the many bars that offer it throughout the peninsula. It means that in a lot of bars, you order a drink and there is a buffet at the bar. Michiel and I had aperitivo at Popcafé three times. They have great cocktails, a supergood buffet and Piazza Santa Spirito is a very nice place to sit as there are a lot of Italians hanging out there.
20:00 – Dinner
Now it’s time for dinner! Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco is a charmingly restaurant where a lot of very Italian man work which fits the place perfectly. As Florence is very meat-oriented, you can buy here a traditional Florentine steak by the kilo. You can also choose the stew (what we did and which was delicious) or a nice chicken meal. You can also stay at Piazza Santa Spirito and spent the rest of your evening there. We’ve tried three restaurants on the piazza and they all served us delicious food. End your evening at Volume Café, the hippest bar in Florence!