07.18.16

Florence Travel Guide

*This travel guide is guest posted by my Sister, Madison, who visited Florence on her Honeymoon!*

I can’t take all the credit for this guide.  I had some amazing friends who have traveled to Florence and given me tons of recommendations.  I also always love looking at The Design Sponge’s travel guides. 

Florence was by far our favorite spot in Italy on our honeymoon.  It doesn’t feel as touristy and everything is walking distance in this tiny city.  I recommend spending at least 2-3 nights here.  

Caleb and I spent three nights here on our honeymoon.  The first day we did a full day walking tour of Florence and visit to Accademia Gallery and Uffizi Museum.  On day two, we woke up and climbed the Duomo which has a beautiful view. In the afternoon, we enjoyed the sunset of the Piazzale San Michalangelo.  On our last day, we rented a car from Hertz and drove to Tuscany where we stayed three nights.  I mention this below, but I wouldn’t stay more than two days in the Sienna/Tuscany region.  You really only need one day of wine tours in Tuscany and one day visiting the town of Sienna.  We ended our honeymoon in Rome.  We drove our rental car to Orvieta, about a 45 minute drive from Tuscany, and then took the train from Orivieta to Rome.  This is only about an hour train ride but it is absolutely beautiful and something I will never forget.  

The one thing I’d change about our trip is renting a car from Florence to Tuscany.  It was pretty stressful and it is very hard to find a rental that is automatic.  Caleb and I had a manual car and it was quite the experience!  I think we faced our first challenge as a married couple but it was an adventure we will never forget/laugh about for years to come!  If we could do it again, I’d hire a driver to take us from Florence to Sienna/Tuscan region. IMG_2672

To Stay:

The Saint Regis– My husband and I stayed here and absolutely loved it.  It is in the best location.  I’d request a room that overlooks The Arno river (image below).  Nothing better than having a glass of wine on your patio and enjoying the view.  It also has a great breakfast buffet! IMG_2548

Museums/Sites:

Duomo–  climb the Duomo for the aerial view of Florence.  Make sure to wear comfy shoes if you want to make this walk.  It’s best to get in line early in the morning.

Piazzale San Michalangelo– you MUST walk up here!  Best view overlooking Florence.  I’d try to time it out and go for the sunset.  The bronze replica of David is here. We had dinner at 4 Leoni after, which is on the same side of the river. 

Ponte Vecchio– the bridge over the river Arno.  There is tons of jewelry shops here.IMG_2638

The Uffizi- art museum with amazing history.  A must visit. 

Accademia– home of the famous David sculptureIMG_2656

Palazzo Pitti- also know as the Pitti Palace. 

Basilica Santa Croce– a beautiful church that you’ll want to go inside. Might be worth getting a guide for this because there is so much history. 

Mercado Centrale– huge indoor market full of italian meats, cheeses, etc.  Great for a made-to-order lunch.

To Eat (lunch):

Antico Noa– best sandwich ever, I recommend the #9! You MUST go here.  It’s not a place that you eat inside.  It’s just a little hole in the wall so grab a sandwich and walk around or find a nice spot outside to people watch. 
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The Oil Shoppe– people rave about the meatball sandwich.  This is near the Duomo so you could time it out to stop for lunch after.  Caleb and I didn’t go here since we already had a sandwich at Antico Noa but I’ve heard this is their big competition!  Leave a comment if you go here, I’d love to hear how it is! IMG_2697

 

Pizzaiuolo– best pizza in Florence, a must! 

Cucciolo Bar and Pasticceria– near the Duomo.  Cute little cafe, serves famous Bombolini (doughnut style fried sweets)

Pizzeria del Caffe Italiano– genuine Naples-style pizza.  Pizza dough is slightly slicker with a crispy crust.  You must order the tiramisu for dessert.

Obika– if you are a mozzarella fan, you must go here.  Building is also very cool, not the location for your average restaurant.  If there on a Sunday, go for brunch- set price and awesome food.

Gelateria Perche No– known as one of the best gelateria’s.
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To Eat (dinner):

La Giostra– you 100% have to go here and you must order the pear ravioli. This place is very romantic, dim and everything we ordered was amazing.  Make sure to get a photo with the owner, he dresses like a (very interesting) rockstar.

Acqua al Duo– another must!  Famous for their blueberry steak.  I recommend getting the steak sauce sampler so you can try a little of all of them.  This place is a bit more touristy, but great food regardless. IMG_2594

4 Leoni– romantic spot known for their pear ravioli. 

II Santo Bevitore– authentic tuscan cuisine, just across the Ponte Vecchio.

Goldenview– near the Ponte Vecchio, can’t beat the view!  They offer live jazz that starts at 9pm.  Make a reservation after 9 or 9:30 to hang with the locals.

Armando– classic Tuscan cuisine.  Order the Papa al Pomodoro and Bistecca alla Fiorentia.

Cocktails/Bars/Clubs:

Rifriulo– right under Piazzale Michaelangelo.

Excelsior at the Westin– right across the street from Saint Regis hotel.  Most amazing view of Florence.  FYI- they don’t offer appetizers, just a little sampler of nuts and chips. IMG_2569

Pitti Gola– wine al fresco at this small wine bar.

Rex Caffe– Pre dinner drinks here.  Very trendy, go earlier to avoid crowds.

II Rifrullo– Good for before or after drinks.

Rooftop wine bar of Hotel Torre Guelfa- Intimate wine bar atop a medieval family house tower.

Slowly– club

I Vicacci– bar/club

Kikuya Pub– we had so much fun here, definitely our favorite.  You’ll usually find a lot of American students here.  

To Do:

Day trip to Tuscany:  My husband and I spent three nights in Tuscany but honestly you only need a day or two.  If I were to do the trip again, I’d just stay in Florence an extra night and hire a driver take us out and do a full day of wine tours!  It’s a little over an hour drive so not bad at all.  IMG_2807 IMG_2811

Day trip to Sienna: We had an absolute blast here!  I definitely recommend taking a day trip from Florence or you could stay a night or two in Sienna or Tuscany and go to some wineries/enjoy the city!  We had a half day tour here and learned so much, there is a ton of history here.  We had a great tour guide named Chiara.  Her facebook page is My Beautiful Tuscany- Guida. IMG_2762 IMG_2778

Shop for leather goods: Florence is known for their leather.  The store, Rive Gauche, carries authentic and real leather.  Caleb and I both bought shoes from here and they are amazing.  Be careful because a lot of leather is fake from China.  Our tour guide told us about Rive Gauche and both our shoes are still in great shape and we paid way less for them there then we would have in the states. Another great store for leather is Casini.  Caleb found a fabulous black leather jacket here! 

 

 

 

 

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  • Jane
    June 3, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    Beautiful! Whoa, Alex, is that you? U look so different from now. Always lovely though.

    • Alex
      June 4, 2017 at 2:19 pm

      hehe, no this is my Sister, Madison… she used to do this blog with me so you’ll still see a few posts from her that I left up! 🙂