Florence (Firenze, as referred to by Italians) is the mecca of Renaissance art, incredible food, and certainly a hub for delectable Italian wines. Since this is one of my favorite cities, I made the best of my three day weekend in this amazing place. In knowing that Florence is a top visited city by tourists, I've compiled some of my favorite sites that never disappoint.
1. Market Centrale. This market may be a hidden gem next to the well-known leather market in San Lorenzo, however it is a local staple. The downstairs has everything that a foodie would need to cook the perfect meal, and the upstairs provides the ideal gourmet escape from the city below. Craft beer bar? Check. Cooking school? Check. Made to order pasta? Check. Check Check. The upstairs is a cool place to spend the afternoon or evening while grabbing a glass of your favorite red and requesting a handmade pasta in a locally crafted sauce. In fact, this trendy market is already being duplicated across Europe because of its intense popularity. I visited the market for the first time this trip...and seriously, I wanted to move in!
2. Piazzale Michelangelo: The best view in the city can be seen from the Piazzale Michelangelo. If you want to see the Duomo, the Ponte Vecchio, the Bell Tower, and all that is in between...this is the place to be! You may be winded by the walk up, but the panoramic is worth it!
3. Giotto's Bell Tower. There are 414 (breath-stealing) steps to the 2nd (see #2) best view in the city, The Bell Tower is conveniently located next to the largest dome in the world. You get the closest view of the Duomo and you can get a 360 degree view of the city that put the Renaissance movement on the map. Luckily, when you come down from your elevated view, you are centrally located in the city and have all the best sites within a 10 minute walk.
4. The Oltrarno Neighborhood. If you want to escape the "umbrella tour groups," head to to Oltrarno where you can find some of the best Florentine steaks, wine bars, and shops that Florence has to offer. While it may feel out of the city center, everything is still within walking distance and culture is at the keystone of this Florentine neighborhood.
5. The food. How can I possibly list the best food in Florence in one post? I can't. i won't lie to you...Florence has some of the best food options in the world that cannot simply be summed up in one post, much less one paragraph. My compass for Florentine restaurants in GirlinFlorence.com, where she lists all her best options for the city (and updates the list consistently). But while I'm at it though, some of my favorites are:
- Osteria Buongustai: This restaurant is a local joint that people go to for homemade pastas (with a truffle focus) and Florentine steaks.
- Antico Noe: I LOVE this nook for a midday sandwich. Partially because Florida State had vouchers for my lunches while I studied here, and partially because their sun-dried tomato sandwich ( I believe it is #18 will change your life).
- Bar Sciudieri: I may be swayed by the spectacular view of the Duomo from this coffee shop, but I love this place! Getting a cappuccino may cost you a pretty penny, but the pastries are worth their weight in gold.
- Trattoria dei 13 Gobbia: If you are wanting a traditional Florentine dinner, look no further. Don't think twice and get the house penne pasta...which you'll crave every day for the rest of your life!
- Sei Divino: If you are looking for cheap eats and an irresistible wine list, this is the place to go. The mood is definitely low-key and may seem slow for some, but it is a bar where locals go for their favorite varietals and a 3 euro course of delicious pasta.
Florence is one of my favorite places in the world and I just can't get enough of this amazing place. If you are wanting more on this incredible city, just reach out!