The capital city of the Tuscan region in Italy, Florence is the perfect escape from bubbling cities like Rome or Milan for a few days. Here you can find it all, Michelin star restaurants, cute little ice cream shops, galleries, museums, churches, gardens and nature. For me, Florence had it all!
While I only spent only two days there, I would definitely go back to explore more as the city has so much to offer!
How to get there?
Since I was already in Italy, the most convenient way to get to Florence for me was by train. There are two main train companies that people use for travel in Italy, Tren Italia and Italo . From personal experience, I had no issues whatsoever with Tren Italia and used it several times across more than one city in Italy. The trains were comfortable and departed/arrived on time. All trains were equipped with electricity sockets and wi-fi, for all you social media crazies, you will stay connected all the way!
The train running from Milan to Florence is the Frecciarossa, which is the fast train, took us about 2 hours to get to Santa Maria Novella train station in Florence from Centrale in Milan.
What to do?
- Visit Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral square): This square contains the Florence Cathedral with the tall Giotto’s Campanile, the Florence Baptistery a minor basilica and the Opera del Duomo Museum. It is one of the busiest touristy areas in Florence and a must visit for everyone!
- Explore the San Lorenzo Market: It is a combination of both outdoor and indoor market. The indoor market has a lower floor with butchers as well as fruit and vegetable vendors while the first floor has been revamped into a gourmet food court. Keep in mind that the market closes pretty early (7am to 3pm, all week long)
- Visit the Uffizi Gallery: Buy tickets in advance! The line was sooooo long, it was an hour or more of waiting. It is one of the most visited museums in the world, comprised mostly of Italian renaissance art. Tickets are around €15- €20.
- Right next to the Uffizi Gallery you can walk to Ponte Vecchio bridge: This bridge is beautiful to walk through with shops lining up its sides. The shops are mostly jewelers and souvenir sellers. Worth taking photos from and photos of if you walk across the other bridges.
- Stroll through the Boboli Gardens: These gardens are right behind the Pitti Palace, and very nice to walk through the different sections as well as get good views of the Tuscan scenery surrounding you.
- Visit Piazzale Michelangelo: This square provides panoramic views of the whole city. You can get there by climbing up the stairs or going up the ramps from the Piazza Guiseppe Poggi
- Visit Palazzo Vecchio: The town hall of Florence, and the view from the Arnolfo tower is also not to be missed!
Where to eat?
- Gelato from Perché No!: Ranked as one of the best gelato shops in the world, Perché No! naturally had a queue when we first arrived. The shop itself is very small but they had unique flavors like their milk with sesame seed. Definitely worth a visit!
- Lungarno Bistrot: This cute restaurant was the perfect spot for our dinner in Florence! Located a small walk from the Santa Trinita Bridge, this place had warm interiors and perfect service. I can recommend the sliced beef sirloin with chopped pistachios and caramelized onions as well as the Burrata with salmon! Price range for this restaurants is €50-€80 not inclusive of alcohol
- La Bottega del Buon Caffe, Ora D’Aria, Il Palagio: Some of the top Michelin star recommendations in Florence. Tasting menus as always are recommended from Michelin star restaurants in order to taste as much as possible!
- La Bottega del Buon Caffe‘s tasting menu is €120 for the 6 course tasting menu and €145 for the 8 course tasting menu, add €100 to each menu if you would like to pair it with win
- Ora D’Aria
- Il Palagio’s dinner tasting menu is for €135 pp for the 5 course tasting menu. It is located inside the Four Seasons Firenze, tucked away from the city center
- I’Tuscani 2: Try the Bistecca, it is rumored to be one of the best places in Florence for steak! Price range is between €25-€70
- Enoteca Pitti Gola e Cantina: Known for their wine selection, Enoteca Pitti Gola e Cantina also has fresh homemade pasta and other delicious italian dishes that are worth a try! Price range is between €20-€50 per person
- Coffee from La Ménagère: Did not personally try this place but was one of the top hits when I was looking for coffee spots in Florence
Where to stay?
- Hotel De La Ville ($200-$300): I would personally recommend this 4-star hotel as it is the one we stayed in. The location is super central on Via Tornabouni, where all the high end brands and shops where, in addition to being a short walking distance to the famous tourist spots such as the Ponte Vecchio and the Uffizi Gallery. The rooms are super spacious, clean and well equipped. The breakfast buffet was also good, diverse and the staff were all very friendly. You should be warned about the rooms not being allowed to turn on any air conditioning until June due to city laws, so the rooms were quite stuffy and we had to keep the windows open at all times.
- Four Seasons Firenze ($800-$2,000): Although a bit further from the city center and more on the upscale side, the Four Seasons in Florence has a two floor spa as well as Il Palagio, a Michelin Star restaurant and is ranked by most as one of the top hotels to stay in while in Florence.
- J.K. Palace Firenze ($600-$1,000) : J.K. Palace has a very central location near Piazza Santa Maria Novella. The hotel itself has 20 guestrooms and suites, with a classic contemporary decor. The breakfast buffet here is not to be missed out on I hear.
As always, if you end up trying any of these recommendations I would love to hear your thoughts!