36 hours in Florence

If Italy were a movie and its main cities were its cast the roles couldn’t be more diversified. Milan is the city of business. Venice is the city of love; Rome is the epitome of an open-air museum and Verona, the city of Romeo and Julia combines all of Italy’s charm.

And Florence? Indisputably, Florence is the city of art, chocolate and cuisine. La bonne vivante spent an unforgettable weekend enjoying both its art and culinary Tuscan delights. Most people come to Florence for a short stint often combining it with a trip to Rome, Siena or Pisa. If you are pressed for time these are our top 7 sights which you shouldn’t miss out on:

  • The Duome of Florence is the cities’ most monumental sight. Walk up the 450 steps to the top of the tower for a view of the city
  • Piazza della Signoria, the heart of the historic center is a free open-air sculpture exhibit.
  • Galleria degli Uffizi is Italy’s most famous art gallery and hosts Boticelli’s birth of Venus. Book tickets in advance online
  • The Gucci Museum leads you through the history of this Italian fashion empire. Apart from robes and purses, the museum also displays a Gucci car.
  • The national History museum hosts an impressive collection of sculptures and one of the oldest handbags in the world.
  • Piazzale Michelangelo offers an amazing, panoramic view of Firenze and can be reached by foot (no need for a bus or taxi)
  • Ponte Vecchio bridges the Aarno. The shops on the bridge are filled with jewellery. When you reach the other side and feel like a refreshing gelato…stop right there unless you want to mortgage your house as a scoop of gelato comes at a heavy price tag of 9 euros. And no, it is not worth it. Skip this tourist trap if you can.
  • And after a long day of sightseeing stop by the Minerva Rooftop bar and pool and indulge in a Prosecco while marveling an amazing view of Firenze from above. Contemplating the Duomo while taking a swim in the pool…la vita e bella!

Where to eat:

Il Trebbio offers leisurely Italian dining with a simple menu, reasonable pricing and a pretty outdoor seating. We loved the gratinated Gorgonzola ravioli and melone and prosciutto. The service is charming and friendly and was nice enough to charge our empty mobile phone. Via delle Belle Donne, 47/49R, Firenze, +39 055 287089

Il Palagio offers a lovely outside terrace. The restaurant can also brag with one michelin star. The atmosphere is lovely, staff is nice however the tasting menu is a culinary let down and fails to enthuse. The tomatoes filled with burrata are ok, the mushroom risotto with seared partridge lacks condiment and the vegetarian lasagne which is provided as a vegetarian option looks and taste like something out of a bad canteen nightmare. To top it all off the dishes are served luke warm. There are a few bright spots such as the wine pairing which is excellent and the Sabayon, which is prepared at our table and delights us with its subtle creaminess. Borgo Pinti, 99, 50121 Firenze, Italy +39 055 26261

Il Barretto offers a cosy restaurant kept in dark wood. The food is innovative and well presented however the tables are a little too close and if you are unlucky you’ll have to endure your jet lagged Chinese neighbor snoring over their dinner. Via di Parione, 50, 50123 Firenze, Italy +39 055 294122

For lunch head to Florence’s Mercato Centrale. On the second floor an abundance of food stalls offer a variety of pasta, pizza, salads, gelato and desert. On your way to the mercato stroll through the open air market on the way. You may spot a bargain. Piazza del Mercato Centrale, 50123 Florence

Trips outside of Florence: Well this is not an insider but while you are in Florence take a trip to Pisa and marvel this architectural mishap. From there, venture to the beaches of Livorno and stop at one of the beaches nearby.

Where to stay:

Hotel Spadai opened a few months ago and boasts incredible location just steps away from the Duomo. The rooms are bright, the bathroom is spacious with an enormous bath tub and the mini bar is included. For Italian standards, the breakfast offers a good variety and the staff is helpful although a little forgetful at times.


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