In the past I’ve traveled my way through Italy from Rome to the Amalfi Coast to Lake Como and beyond, but this past week was my first time in Florence. I had heard it was one of the most beautiful cities in Italy and I knew I had to scratch it off my Italy bucket list.
I researched a lot before this trip, as I usually do before any trip, trying to find the non-touristy restaurants, coffee spots, and local experiences. I must admit, I found some pretty great spots (thanks Girl in Florence blog!).
Where to stay:
The best design and views
This trip was a Mother Daughter (our first one ever) trip, so I was spoiled with our hotels on this trip to say the least. Portrait Firenze was one of the best hotels I’ve ever stayed at. The design, the staff, the food, the views…basically everything was just awesome. This is definitely a luxury hotel, and if that’s what you’re looking for, look no further. Located right off of Ponte Vecchio, there isn’t a better location while visiting Florence.
What to do:
1. Take a cooking class
My first recommendation is take a cooking class. Just do it, I promise you won’t regret it. I was a little worried at first because it was a long, half day class, and I didn’t want to miss out on Florence, but it was the best experience we had for sure. We learned how to make ravioli, gnocchi, and tagliatelle, plus mousse di fragola (strawberry mousse) for dessert, which I made again the day I got back to Paris! The cooking class was conducted by a native Florentine wine and food journalist. We cooked in her kitchen, chatted for hours, then finished the day eating our masterpieces with her family. This kind of experience is what makes traveling to new places so valuable; learning about a new culture and returning home with new skills from that place.
2. Visit Florence's Best Museums
A museum that cannot be missed
Make sure to reserve your tickets ahead of time, but still be prepared to wait in multiple lines. There are endless amounts of famous art works to visit here and it is definitely a museum which should not be missed. Also, if you’re the museum type, don’t miss the David which is displayed at the Galleria dell’Accademia.
3. Take photos at Ponte Vecchio
We were lucky enough that our hotel had a great view of this bridge and that it was within a 2-minute walk of us. The bridge is the perfect spot for taking photos of the city and maybe a few selfies! There’s also a lot of shopping and food in this area.
4. Eat, drink, and eat some more
This was probably our main reason for visiting Italy. No shame, Italian food is amazing. Find a rooftop bar, have an apertivo, and enjoy the views that Florence has to offer while drinking a great glass of Tuscan wine.
Wine and truffle pasta
Other sites to see in Florence:
Piazza della Signoria, Piazzale Michaelangelo, Il Duomo del Fiore (Florence’s main cathedral)
Where to eat and drink in Florence:
If you’re feeling adventurous, come here and grab an experimental cocktail and enjoy the design of this restaurant/cocktail bar. I’m all about using plants as décor and the walls of this place are covered in greenery. Not only is it a great place for drinks, but the restaurant gives you an experience you won’t forget. Starting the meal with an apertivo drink from the bar, followed by your first course, second course, dessert, complimentary small dessert selection, and ending with another complimentary drink from the bar, this is not a place to go if you are not HUNGRY. Throw in some bread and wine, and you’re basically busted by the end of the night. If this doesn’t sound like your kind of meal, just grab a drink at the bar.
Osteria Cinghiale Bianco
This is a traditional Florentine Osteria, which is an experience that everyone should have when visiting Florence. Make sure to make a reservation and be prepared for the noisy, but totally awesome meal.
@ osteria cinghiale
Looking for a coffee?
This is the place to stop for a cappuccino (or two in our case) and recharge. The atmosphere felt very local, plus there were people studying and working there too if that’s the kind of place you’re looking for. They also serve food, so this could also be a breakfast or lunch option.
Italian Coffee Break
@ ditta artiginale
Want more ideas for places to visit in Florence?
There were so many great places we didn’t get the chance to make it to, like the best gelateria in town. To see all of the places we went to or wish we went to, check out my Tour of Italy journal on Jet Journal. There you can see all of our ideas for Florence and start planning your next trip to Italy. Download Jet Journal on iTunes today for FREE!