Greetings from Florence! I always forget how much I love Florence (and Italy in general). I arrived exhausted Thursday morning, because I am not capable of sleeping on the plane, and immediately grabbed the high-speed train from Rome to Florence.
|View of the Duomo from my apartment!
Once I arrived in Florence, I checked into my adorable little apartment, with great views of San Marco and the Duomo, and got to work revisiting my Florence favorites. People always ask what they should see and do in Florence, so I thought I would share some of my favorite things in Florence, some famous and some off the beaten track.
Favorite Museum – Palazzo Pitti
Florence is home to tons of museums. The more famous ones, like the Uffizi and Accademia are always crowded (but still worth the wait, I mean you have to see Michelangelo’s David), but the Pitti is usually much less crowded, although no less significant. It is a sprawling palace with immense gardens and a world-class collection of art (it actually inspired Versailles). And if you go early enough, odds are you will have the place basically to yourself!
Favorite Aperativo – Kitsch
Aperativo is like an Italian buffet and a budget and diet friendly alternative to large pasta-filled dinners. You pay for the drink (usually wine, a cocktail, or beer) and have unlimited access to a buffet of Tuscan delights. Kitsch has the largest, tastiest, and most famous aperativo in Florence.
Favorite Street to Stroll – Via Tornabuoni
Not only is it lined with the most fashionable shops in Florence (think Prada, Roberto Cavalli, Gucci, Dior, Ferrragamo, etc.), which makes it perfect for window shopping, but it was recently renovated with grand paving stones and large flower pots.
Favorite Clothing Store – Max and Co.
I am not the biggest fan of Italian fashion (more on that later) but there are a few stores I love. Max and Co. is definitely one of them (there is only one in the US and it’s in San Francisco). You might be seeing an outfit post featuring Max and Co. soon!
Favorite Coffee – Cafe Giacoasa
Hands down the best cappuccino in Florence. It’s a mystery how they get the milk so frothy! It’s also just off my favorite street, via Tornabuoni.
Favorite Pizza – Gusta Pizza
Naples is the home of the pizza, not Florence. But fortunately for us three Neapolitan brothers moved to Florence and founded Gusta Pizza – it’s the best in town (IMHO)!
Favorite Cheap Eat – Nerbone
Nerbone (in the Mercato Centrale) serves the most incredible beef sandwich for only four euros! It is supposedly a centuries-old recipe, and is served on a bread roll with a pesto and a spicy sauce. I am telling you it is the best meal ever!
Favorite Gelato – Cantina del Gelato
Gelato in Italy is incredible, but after years of searching I have finally found the one! And there are two flavors that you must try – marscapone and Nutella and their signature “cookies” flavor.
Favorite Activity – Walking
I know it seems silly, but I love that you walk everywhere in Florence. It allows you to see the sights, people watch, and burn calories in the process. My favorite walk is through the city-center, over the Ponte Vecchio, up Costa San Giorgio (where Galileo once lived), and over to Piazzale Michelangelo for the best vista of the city.
Favorite People Watching – Loggia dei Lanzi
This open air loggia sits in the most famous piazza in Florence (the Palazzo della Signoria) and just across from the Uffizi and the Palazzo Vecchio. This central location makes it ideal for people/tourist watching. Not only is it entertaining, but it is one of the few places that has seating and is filled with famous Renaissance and Baroque sculptures!
I am so happy to back in Florence. I may or may not have already purchased a dress (#sorrynotsorry), and as I write this post the entire city is enthralled in the football match (aka soccer game) between Florence and Naples! I plan on spending tomorrow morning on my favorite walk/hike up to Piazzale Michelangelo, followed by a delicious brunch with friends! Monday I have to get back to work in the archive.