Life and work recently took me back to Florence. The city of Michelangelo’s David and the Renaissance is so pretty with its ochre tones, picture perfect piazzas and narrow sidewalks. With so many things to do, it’s hard picking out a select few, but after this short trip, here are 8 unique and tried and tested things to do in lovely Firenze.
The Other Side of Florence Food Tour
The #1 rated food tour in Rome, Eating Italy Food Tours have again expanded and have just launched in Florence’s Oltrarno district, across the Arno River and away from the tourist centre. Like Paris’ West Bank, the Oltrarno is a buzzing hive of artisans, specialty food stores, street art and market stands. While in other Italian regional cooking, pasta is the staple, not so much in Florence! With Tuscan cuisine you’re more likely to be devouring a bowl of bread and bean soup (the famous hearty ribollita) or pappa al pomodoro (soaked bread with tomatoes). On the tour you’ll get to taste the real cuisine of the city from the famed Chianti Classico to Lampredotto – the most historic and adored florentine street food snack (cow tripe, literally the fourth stomach of a cow soaked with spicy salsa in a sandwich) see how cantucci are made (Florentine biscotti that are used to dip in your sweet wine post meals!) and taste real deal gelato – not the fake stuff that is found in many Italian gelaterias. Your guide for the culinary walk is Gaia – she’s Florentine and is not only fun, but passionate about her city and spending a few hours with her is the best introduction to Florence you’ll ever have! (Other Side of Florence Food Tour)
A friend has recommended this place to me so many times and I finally got around to checking it out! Literally a two minute walk from the Uffizzi Gallery, be expected to line up for a little (or a while!) at this sandwich joint frequented by locals and tourists alike. Check out the menu board on arrival before you get in the queue because ordering is a quick wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am kind of an affair. The guys here are animated and friendly and they make sandwiches faster than you can digest one!
Fillings include anything from grilled vegetables to local cheeses (thing pecorino cream), truffle and salumi like sbriciolona a crumbly variant of the famous finocchiona (dried fennel infused salami). (All’Antico Vinaio) TAKE A BREAK
Thanks to my talented friend and expert in all things chic and boutique, Nardia of Lost in Florence, I got to have the freshest and most delicious juice (celery, apple and other seasonal concoctions) in the coolest coffee spot and cafe! As you can guess from the name, this place does an awesome job catering for gluten free diets, vegetarians and vegans. All this in the most stunning outdoor courtyard setting (with indoor seating as well of course!). (Ristorante Quinoa) SEE
La Rinascente Terrace
While the terrace on the top floor of Italian department store, La Rinascente might not boast the highest or very best views of the city, it sure is a convenient and central place to look out to those pretty domes and rooftops. Oh and it took my breath away anyway! While the view is better than the food, I certainly recommend a visit (pastas, salads and other cafe items are on the menu here). (Caffe La Terrazza, La Rinascente)
Via de’ Ginori 23R
The Girl in Florence and hands-down go-to-girl for just about anything you need to know around here, said to head to Via de’ Ginori 23R for authentic and quality handmade leather goods and so I did! The staff here are super friendly, knowledgable and helpful and their bags especially are unique and gorgeous! In a city filled with leather (and fake) leather makers, rest assured, this is the real deal. (Via de’ Ginori 23R)
Who wouldn’t want to sip on Tuscan wine (or any wine for that matter) on the river’s edge looking out to the famed Ponte Vecchio. At aperitivo time, for less than €10 for two, you can have your glass served with cheeses, olives and salumi, sit back and enjoy the view! Dinner is also a tasty, yet casual affair (I loved the Tuscan sausage bruschetta!). This wine bar is modern and walking through to the terrace you might just get caught up looking at bottles of wine from just about anywhere! (Signorvino) DRINK WINE
Enoteca Pitti Gola e Cantina
Right across the street from Palazzo Pitti (home to Florence’s most famous Medici family), you’ll find one of Florence’s most stylish wine bars with an extensive list of wines. The list here is never-ending, and some of Tuscany’s best and even small family production drops make the cut. While I haven’t tried the food yet, it comes highly recommended. (Enoteca Pitti)
For the ultimate in five star luxury accommodation, you should really look no further than the Hotel Savoy. From the moment you arrive you will literally be pampered by the staff and the suites are decked out in the most stylish of designs. In the heart – no I mean very heart: right in Piazza della Repubblica; a one minute walk from the Duomo – you won’t want to leave. The fun and sassy, Irene bistro is on site and has outdoor dining in the warmer months. Read more about that here. The Hotel Savoy is all that you would expect from the Italian high-end Rocco Forte brand and then some. (Hotel Savoy) Signing off from Trastevere (and planning another little trip up north!)
Note: I was a guest of both Hotel Savoy and Eating Italy Food Tours but nobody tells me what to write!