Florence is one my favorite cities in the world and Alex and I were lucky enough to visit as our second stop on our honeymoon (read about our first stop in Lake Como if you missed it!). We spent 4 days in Florence and every day was something new and amazing. I can’t recommend Florence enough. Even if you only have a few days this is a must-visit.
I’ve found that if you take to google there are so many blog posts and articles about what neighborhood to stay in in Florence, but honestly you don’t need to worry/put in that much concern to your neighborhood. The historic center, the main city of Florence is quite small and you can walk pretty much anywhere no matter where you are. For that reason, rather than stressing about neighborhood, just go with the hotel or airbnb that best suits your style and price point.
Personally, Alex and I chose an Airbnb that had space because that was what we really wanted. We stayed in this historical loft and loved it. Everywhere we wanted to go was a 15 min walk or less, and we were right near the river. I definitely recommend it. If you are wanting a hotel over an airbnb, I’d recommend the Relais Tosinghi which has an amazing location and is really quite beautiful.
Being a major city, there are so many options for great food in Florence. Alex and my favorites though have to be:
Trattoria ZaZa: This was by far my favorite restaurant in Florence. It’s really popular among tourists, but don’t let that fool you – it is amazing and locals love it just as much. The appetizer of thinly sliced artichokes with parmesan and truffle oil is literally my favorite dish I have ever eaten.
Signorvino: This wine shop and restaurant is a hidden gem – unlike most of the restaurants with a view of the Ponte Vecchio, SIgnorvino is reasonably priced and such a fun environment. This is primarily a wine shop and then they have a small patio restaurant (with one of the best views in the city). The food is good and the wine pairing options are even better. It can get busy during ‘peak hours’ but if you go for a 2pm appertivo you can waltz right in and get an amazing table.
Da Que Ganzi: This was an Alex find, and if you are a meat eater you need to go here. They are known for having some of the best Florentine steaks in the city. I had a pasta dish (and many Aperol spritzes lol) and also thought my meal was really good.
SimBIOsi Cafe: This is a local favorite and (less) touristy than most cafes. A local friend recommend this to us and we both thought the coffee was good and the pastries were even better. This is also a great location to start your day from to explore the Duomo and the historic center of Florence.
Cafe Gilli: On the other end of the spectrum you have Cafe Gilli. It’s tourist central, but it is really good. This is considered the first cafe in all of Florence (hence the crowds). It is very pricey but I think it’s worth a visit once just for the experience. The location also makes for the *best* people watching while you sip your coffee.
This is where Florence SHINES. There are so many things to do in Florence depending on your interests. I’ll try to break this down into categories:
Milan may be the fashion capital but Florence is like it’s more effortless younger sister. In addition to all of the best high fashion shopping, with some of the biggest Gucci, Dior and Louis Vuitton store locations I have ever seen, the vintage scene in Florence is unparalleled. If you like fashion, when in Florence you must spend some time shopping (or window shopping) the high end designer fashion and then some time vintage shopping.
There are vintage designer consignment stores everywhere in Florence and wandering around and just stumbling across them unexpectedly is half the fun. That said, if you want to make a point of going to one, my favorite is the Custode del Passato. I got a gorgeous vintage Gucci Jackie bag here and – my favorite find in all of Italy shopping – a Gucci Agenda/Day Planner from 1978 with all the original pages in tact and blank. So freaking cool.
Alright, this one is fashion related still but it’s also culture and just so cool… if you’re in Florence you have to visit the Gucci Garden! This is a Gucci ‘museum’ and it is so cool inside. Alex, who has no interest in fashion, also loved it because it’s just an insane experience. Each room is filled with Gucci items from various eras with the rooms decked out in the coolest art installations and themes. It’s an immersive experience and so much fun.
When in Florence you can’t go wrong by checking out the traditional things to do- visiting art galleries, churches and museums. My top recommendations would be the Accademia Gallery (Michelangelo’s David really is that impressive) and the Uffizi gallery. I was blown away by the art and the statues in the Uffizi (my favorite statue is pictured below)
You also need to go to the Duomo and the Cathedral di Santa Maria. Both are breathtaking.
No trip to Florence is complete without spending time just wandering and looking at the views. You should definitely check out the Ponte Vecchio bridge at least once (though the crowds are not my fav and I actually prefer being on another bridge looking at the Ponte Vecchio).
I also recommend walking up to Michelangelo Park (Piazzale Michelangelo) just above the city. It’s a bit of a trek up, but the views looking over the city (see photo below) are incredible. Pack a bottle of wine and some cheese and just find a spot to sit and watch the sunset.
And there you have it! My guide to what to eat, see, and do in Florence, Italy. We loved this part of our honeymoon so much and I can’t wait to get back there. Speaking of which…
Instagram followers will know that I somehow only learned/realized while ON OUR HONEYMOON IN ITALY that Alex is an Italian citizen lol. To be clear, I knew his family was Italian and this crazy story about him mistakenly being conscripted into the Italian army at 16… but somehow it didn’t occur to me that for that to have happened he would have had to have dual citizenship. *oops*. In any event, now that I am aware of this, Alex and I have looked into me becoming an Italian citizen too! It’s pretty cool – in another year I can take a test to show language proficiency and if I pass can qualify to be a citizen. I’ve been (slowly) practicing Italian on Duolingo and hope to become more fluent over the next year. We plan on doing a celebratory trip back to Italy (hopefully for a month again) if I become a citizen. So stay tuned for that!
In the meantime, I have 2 more honeymoon travel guides to share here on the blog over the next couple of weeks- guides on both Positano and Santorini, Greece will be coming soon! Cheers!