Design Lifestyle Travel

5 Day Guide To Florence {when you are taking it easy}

November 8, 2017

It hasn’t been too long since we returned from our month long trip to Europe; I miss it dearly, but I’ve been enjoying reliving the trip while writing this Florence travel guide.  Over the next couple weeks, I’ll follow up with more guides on The Cinque Terra, Rome, The Amalfi Coast, Capri, and Paris. From the early phases of planning our trip, we decided we were going to take a relaxed approach to Italy – the land of plenty – plenty of sights to see, wine to drink, food to eat, people to meet and chat with along the way. It’s so plentiful that, really, you will never have enough time. That shouldn’t discourage you but encourage you so that you will be excited to go back again at the end of your trip. This was my second trip to Florence {though many years ago} and the Mr.’s first, but we were equally excited to be there. There really isn’t anything not to love. If you are planning a wedding or honeymoon or both, my recent post on why we waited to take a honeymoon {this trip} is worth a read.

Accommodation:

We switched hotels around at the last minute, and we were so glad we did. We checked into Hotel Glance, a modern hotel with a stunning rooftop deck and pool {um, yes please}, which is quiet, centrally located, and has the most amazing complimentary breakfast. I’m not joking;they had a giant slab of honeycomb each morning that melted down – it was memorable, to say the least. We stayed at Hotel Glance the entire time we were in Florence and would book with them again.

Disclaimer: We didn’t plan how we would spend any of our days ahead of time; the staff was more than happy to suggest restaurants, activities, what to skip, and what to do – they were fantastic!

Eatery Notes:

When I say, “the land of plenty”, I’m basically thinking of all the restaurants and stores that line the streets and the people that fill them. When ordering an espresso, stand at the bar to avoid a higher charge than if you sit. For dinner, eating late {9pm} is to be expected, but enjoy an aperitif around 5 pm. as many restaurants offer small bites and drinks, try a local favorite (and now a favorite of mine), an Aperol spritz.

 

Florence Day One: 

Activity: Get the lay of the land. We arrived mid-afternoon; by the time you get your bags, get to the hotel and check-in, you are beat. However; get your shoes on, walk around, visit street artists and vendors, and simply take it all in. Rest assured, you will stop soon enough for an appertivo and fall in love with Florence simply by looking around.

Eateries:  Appertivos: Paszkowski Ristorante {great for drinks and people watching}. Dinner: Osteria Del Cinghiale Bianco {Felt local and well priced}.

Highlight: Obviously, just arriving in Florence and kicking off the trip was a highlight. However, I love meeting fellow travelers. As we waited for our table at dinner, we started chatting with a couple from South Africa; in the end, we decided to have dinner together.  At the end of the meal, we all walked the city together enjoying gelato.

Day Two:

Activity: The Duomo.  I recommend getting an early start {hello, jet lag} and head to The Duomo.  The lines start early, even for those with a reservation. Keep in mind there are separate reservations for different areas that can be made; the ticket to climb the actual Duomo was sold out, but we were able to get in by joining a tour.  The view from the top shouldn’t be missed.  I don’t necessarily recommend a tour if it can be avoided; while we enjoyed what we learned, making it to the top was the highlight.

Eateries: Lunch: Caffe Robiglio {went with a light snack/lunch as we knew what would be ahead} which was just far enough from the Duomo that the tourists were not overwhelming. We sat with another couple with whom we chatted for the next couple hours. Snack: Market Centrale – a two-level market; downstairs is butchers, cheese shops, wine shops, and fruit stands. On the upper level, is an open floor plan filled with different restaurants along the perimeter and family style tables line the center aisle where you are encouraged to sit, talk, and eat anything and everything that there is to offer.  It’s great for a group or a couple that can’t agree on food.  Appertivos: Antica Sasta – this place is great if you are looking for a bite and some drinks but don’t want to spend a ton. Dinner: Brandolino If you love a super thin pizza, then come here; it was superb.

Highlight: Making it to the top of The Duomo but also realizing that my husbands fear of heights might be stronger than mine, which made us both laugh.. when we got back down, that is.

Day Three:

Activity: The Uffizi and The Academia. You will be doing a lot of standing and walking on this day, but it’s beyond worth it. Don’t be too hard on yourself, and be sure to stop for a long lunch in between with an Aperol Spritz or two in the sun for some serious people watching. Personally, I put down my camera in the museums, I rather enjoy the art than take photos of it.

Eateries: Lunch: Casa del Din Santo: Get a pizza and anything with truffle from here.  Appertivos: Dell’ Agnolo – just had drinks but sat for two hours chatting with two ladies next to us who kept us laughing and laughing. Dinner: La Posta was our favorite meal overall; we sat next to an older couple who basically explained they live the life by splitting their time between Florence, NY, the Caribbean, and Cape Cod – what? This was their favorite place, and they have been going there as long as they can remember. It quickly became ours as well. We recommend the truffle spaghetti. Dessert: La Cocotte – While dinner was wrapping up, it started to rain, which made for a romantic evening as it was still warm out and we sat by candlelight. We finally started to make a break for it by running through the rain on our way to this bistro right by our hotel. We went for a limoncello but again, we stayed a few hours chatting with the manager, Leonardo. Highly recommended for drinks as I can’t vouch for food, but everyone who left {we shut the place down} left laughing and smiling.

Day Four:

Activity: The Palazzo Pitti or also known as the Pitti Palace. We started the day by walking and taking in the sights before it got overly busy with tourists. We crossed the bridge and made our way to a coffee shop for an espr`esso prior to entering the Palace. As noted earlier, when ordering an espresso or any coffee drink, stand at the bar with it.  Once you sit down, that coffee will at least double in price.

Eateries: Lunch:Lo Sprone Vinaione {the pizzeria is just down the road from this restaurant.} We shared a cutting board plate – cheese, some pepper jam, and cold cuts. Of course, we shared some red wine. We loved the feeling of this place – tiny, quaint, and it held locals and tourists alike. Appertivos: Via Santo Spirito – this little wine bar held tourists and locals. Serving by the glass or bottle, we enjoyed red wine while they served us with a delicious snack of a crostini with warm prosciutto. A lot of restaurants serve prosciutto, which we love, but this was by far the best. Dinner: Based off a recommendation, we went to Pepo for dinner. Overall, the food was very good, but the service was slow and not particularly friendly. Even the smallest interaction with other patrons or the staff can make or break a dinner. Since we had great food everywhere, I probably would say skip it. That said, that dang ravioli of the day was pretty superb.

Day Five:

With only the morning to ourselves prior to catching a train to the Cinque Terre, we pushed ourselves to wake up early (and for good reason). Getting to witness the city coming together feels magical in its own way; I love watching the men pull the shopping stalls through the city {which look incredibly heavy} and start to work on perfecting their displays.  The open-air restaurants start setting up and locals taking their time as they head to work with a daily stop at their local espresso counter are also fun to see. Best of all, there are hardly any other tourists up at this time; it’s quiet and absolutely beautiful.

Goodbye Florence:

Overall, we were sad to leave Florence and couldn’t believe how quickly the trip was going. Despite feeling like we had seen a lot, our main topic on our last day was how we couldn’t wait to come back to this beautiful city. Traveling is the number one way I am inspired, and while the famous landmarks are beautiful, it’s the streets, the people, and often a little hidden gem that leaves the lasting impression on me. I hope that this post has left you feeling inspired to take your own journey to Florence. As always, if you have any questions on Florence, I’d love to help!

I hope you enjoyed this manicured, travel post on Florence, Italy.

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