Quick Guide to Florence, Italy
I love Florence. The old-city feel, the classic Italian way of life, gelato shops on every corner, great food, beautiful museums, churches and shops - this city charmed the socks off me.
The March days I visited it was raining but Florence did not loose its lustre. I did two day trips from Bologna (you can read my Quick Guide to Bologna here) so I don’t have accommodation recommendations in this post but hopefully next time I will go back for longer.
Scroll down to read my tips for eating, shopping and things to do in Florence if you’re only there for a quick day-trip like I was.
While chilly and raining, it was delightfully uncrowded in March which made it perfect for a day visit. I wandered the shops, museums and stopped off in cafes to rest my feet and decide when to venture to next. Only one and a half hours on the train from Bologna, it was a rewarding day-trip, giving me a taste of the beautiful city of Florence.
Visiting for such a short amount of time, I had to choose what was on the top of my list. I wanted to see Michelangelo’s David, the beautiful Botticelli’s, and Da Vinci’s in the Uffizi Gallery. I wanted to shop and eat some delicious food and walk across Ponte Vecchio. I knew not to cram everything into my days because if I loved the city, I would be back.
Uffizi Gallery - You could spend hours and hours here but if you have limited time (or attention span), then mark down the artworks you want to see and head for those. I had about ten pieces I desperately wanted to see including Botticelli’s La Primavera and Birth of Venus. I went directly for these and was in the Uffizi for roughly one and a half hours. In my opinion this is the perfect length of time in a gallery or museum. No matter how much I love the subject, my attention and interest begins to wane after this amount of time.
What to eat in Florence
Crostini Neri: liver paté (usually chicken) served on toasted bread as an appetiser
Eat pasta as a first course
Bistecca alla Fiorentina: this typically Florentine dish is a steak that’s about two inches thick and always comes with a bone
Gelato of course!
Marie Antoinette Firenze - Tucked away on a quiet street just behind Portrait Firenze is this charming shop run by two Italian stylists with impeccable taste. Here you’ll find contemporary labels in amongst vintage clothing and accessories by Prada, Gucci and Marni.
Luivsa Via Roma - A three-storey flagship store of the well-known online boutique Luivsa Via Roma. Make sure you go upstairs to the top floor where you will find a cool cafe with a fashionable crowd.
Aquazzura - The birthplace of the gorgeous shoe brand, the building this store is set in is worth the visit alone.
Officina Profuma Pharmecutica - This is one of the oldest pharmacies in the world and a must-visit for the history, the building and gorgeous rooms. Their products make the perfect gifts for yourself and others. I was disappointed to see that they also sell their products in stores throughout the world (and Australia) so they are not exclusive to that store and city, however fortunately, you don’t need to travel to Florence to get your hands on these beautiful products!
Boutique Nadine - Well-known vintage stores with two locations. Their first vintage store near the Uffizi Gallery and the econd location by the basilica of Santa Croce. Here you’ll find one-off items like Italian silk pieces, vintage Gucci bags and jewellery.
Gucci Garden - A must-see for any Gucci or fashion lover. While it is a museum of Gucci’s past collections, it’s really a beautiful store that makes you wish you owned everything Gucci. I wanted to dine in the Gucci Cafe but stepped away as soon as I saw the prices. If you’re willing to splurge in a gorgeous setting, then go ahead and eat here.
Have you visited Florence? What are your top tips?