- Grab some breakfast at Le VespeWhile Italians typically have a small breakfast consisting of a pastry and an espresso, I enjoy having a full breakfast to start the day! During my semester abroad I lived right next door to Le Vespe cafe (about 2 blocks off of Piazza Santa Croce). With great food, a relaxed/artsy vibe and friendly staff, Le Vespe truly is a triple threat! It has a lot of vegetarian/vegan options (which is so exciting to find in Italy) and is open for breakfast lunch and dinner! While Le Vespe is my favorite place for breakfast in Florence, there are a bunch of other places to grab some grub before you start your day. Walk around the area you’re staying and just pop in!
- People watch in Santa CroceSanta Croce is a beautiful church with a lively piazza! It’s centrally located and has so many tourists buzzing around it all day; there’s always something to see! There are lots of street performers singing and playing music, there are artists selling paintings and it’s the site of various festivals periodically throughout the year. My friends and I always enjoyed spending an afternoon here. There’s also a bunch of great restaurants around the Piazza too!
- See Michelangelo’s DavidThe David is one of my favorite works of art in Florence. It’s located in the Galleria dell’Accademia which is a bit of a hike away from some of the other must-sees, but it’s worth the walk! Carved between 1501 and 1504, David stands at 17 feet. Its massive size and sheer beauty will leave you in awe.
- Get Lost in Gli UffiziThe Uffizi is one of the best known museums in Italy — and for good reason! It’s a beautiful building filled with multiple floor works of world renowned Renaissance art and incredibly views of the city. Even if you’re not an art history buff, the works of Botticelli, Titian, Giotto and Michelangelo are sure to bring a tear to your eye (or just make you appreciate art a little bit more). There’s also a rooftop view of Florence you should definitely check out!
- Grab a Panino, a bottle of wine, a friend and head to l’Arno for a picnic lunchPanino is the Italian word for sandwich and it’s my favorite lunch to have in Italy. They’re quick, convenient and deeeeelicious! Antico Vinaio (on Via dei Neri, a few blocks away from the Uffizi) is my favorite place to grab a panino. It’s really popular so there’s usually a wait, but if you hang in there you won’t be disappointed. Stop by an Alimentari (a convenience store) and get a bottle of your favorite wine, and head down to the Arno (the river that cuts Florence in half). There are some breaks in the wall where you can go down to the grass and be right next to the river, but securing yourself a nice seat on the wall is a good spot too. (Just be careful not to sit too close to government buildings like we did; you will politely be asked to move! ;P ).
- Walk along l’Arno, crossing the Ponte VecchioThe Ponte Vecchio (or “Old Bridge”) is the shopping hub of Florence. It’s laden with gold boutiques and other luxury items, giving a beautiful view of the Arno. A spot for lovers and friends alike, you really need to experiences the rhythm of the Ponte Vecchio for yourself. Bonus Tip: head to Ponte Santa Trinita for a less crowded walk across L’Arno and a gorgeous few of the Ponte Vecchio.
- Visit the Boboli GardensThe Boboli Gardens is 11 acres of flowers, statues and fountains. Get lost of the mazes of flora and soak in the beauty that is Florence. It also has an incredible view of Florence. Most people love to go to Piazzale Michelangelo for an aerial view of Florence, but I’d rather relax on the lawn of the Boboli Gardens! It’s less crowded and offers up a great place to relax and spend an afternoon. A true must-see!
- Spend the night in Santo SpiritoSanto Spirito is a beautiful church with a simplistic facade in Oltrarno. Oltrarno is “the other side of the river” and since it’s away from most tourist attractions, it will give you a much more realistic view of authentic Italian life in Florence. Sit on the steps of Santo Spirito with some friends and prepare yourself for an adventure. There are a lot of bars in Oltrarno that are worth checking out but just relaxing in the Piazza itself is a great experience. I recommending grabbing some food at Gusta Pizza (just be prepared for a crowd) and eating it out in the Piazza. Afterwards, check out La Cite – it’s a really cozy place to get a drink (alcoholic or not) and relax. It’s open from afternoon until 2am, so there’s plenty of time to mosey in and check out all the books and soak in the hipster atmosphere. But there are so many wonderful bars and cafes in Oltrarno, wherever you go you’re certain to find a fun and unique time.
Ciao for Now,