The Ultimate Guide to: Florence

My three days in Florence were not long enough. It’s a marvellous city full of things to do and see around every corner. Known as one of the most famous cities in Italy I knew I had to make a trip here.  

Florence I noticed was a very elegant city, the way people dressed, the high-end designer stores on every avenue and the classy architecture were all very different from other Italian cities I visited. To my comparison, I found Rome and Venice at the opposite end of the spectrum. Florence was ultimately unique. This city is often known for its art and culture as it flourished during the Renaissance. So, of course, there’s tons of historic museums, monuments, and galleries. While visiting Florence, I compiled a list of places to eat, things to do and where to stay and formed it into the Ultimate Guide for like minded travellers.

Here are my recommendations for the city:

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Best Galleries:

Uffizi Museum

Uffizi is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Florence housing a spectacular gallery featuring two floors worth of painting collections. It features works such as The Birth of Venus by Botticelli and Venus of Urbino by Titian. 

Galleria dell’Accademia 

Home to many of Michelangelo’s famous sculptures and paintings like the David which has been housed since 1873. This museum features many other great artists making it a “Must See” in Florence.

Palazzo Vecchio

Florence’s town hall shares itself with the Palazzo Vecchio museum. It holds courtyards, apartments, and rooms filled with famous frescos and statues produced in Italy.

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Free Things to Do: 

Loggia dei Lanzi

An open air sculpture gallery with numerous pieces of Renaissance art. This architectural space was designed in the 14th century and holds some of the most unique pieces within Florence.

Duomo

The Florence Cathedral is beyond amazing. The city revolves around this church and you will see why once you step inside. Not only is it gigantic but also architecturally stunning. You can step inside for free to marvel at its construction and to truly get a better grasp of the city itself.

Piazzale Michelangelo

Let me just say first it’s worth the climb. The piazza is perched atop a hill in the corner of the city overlooking everything from the river to mountains in the distance. It’s one of the best places to watch the sun go down and to shop souvenirs and local foods.

Ponte Vecchio

This famous bridge stands on the gorgeous Arno River and provides some of the best views in the city. As the oldest surviving bridge from 1345 it is filled with unique stores and stands.

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Best Shopping:

San Lorenzo Market

Florence is known for its hand-made Italian leather so you are bound to find many products such as belts, purses, shoes, and jackets. But leather isn’t the only thing sold here as the vendors always have something in store.

Via Tornabuoni

Full of luxurious shops and famous designer boutiques, this street holds the latest fashion. It’s always fun to window shop some of the biggest names such as Gucci, Cartier, and Prada.

Where to Stay:

I stayed at an apartment found on VRBO, a site where you can rent out a place for vacationing, which was located in the centre of the city. It was a great stay as we were so close to many major attractions and sights. Being in close proximity I believe can make or break your trip. You don’t want to have to use a car in the city or hailing down public transportation in and out of the town so find a place within walking distance. If you want to stay at a hotel instead here are some great options:

Grand Amore Hotel and Spa

A luxury resort located in the heart of Florence that caters the best service and hospitality in town.

B&B Emozioni Fiorentine

A cozy and warm B&B overlooking Piazza della Republblica in the centre of the city. While its location is spectacular it is also delightfully quiet and relaxing.

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What to Eat:

Mercato Centrale

This newly revamped market sells a diverse range of food including traditional Tuscan cuisines like fish, meats, cheeses, pasta and much more.

All’Antico Vinaio

Currently the #1 restaurant in Florence known for its specialty sandwiches and paninis. With great food and excellent prices who can say no?

PassaGuai

Tucked in the corner of Florence this steakhouse and wine bar serves some of the best Italian platters in the city. 

Madame Ristorante Bistrot

For an authentic and fresh meal check out this family-owned restaurant that will keep you craving for more.

florenceTips:

Sign up for a free walking tour of the city from a local professional guide.

Visit museums and galleries early in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the busy crowds. Visiting during peak months can also make lines very crowded, to avoid visit during Fall or early Spring.

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