Everyone I’ve spoken to about their travels in Italy swooned about their love of Florence and I can definitely attest to that myself. It’s by far my favourite city in Italy – which is why I’ve dedicated an extra day in my suggested itinerary to you.
The beauty of Florence is that everything is so close-knit that the whole city is highly walkable. For a more unique experience, try the segway tours in Florence!
Duomo di Firenze: Yet another Duomo climb (~463 stairs with elevator lift option), but the view from the top provides a gorgeous view of the city you won’t want to miss!
Galleria Dell’Accademia: This is where Michaelangelo’s REAL “David” statue resides. I’ve seen pictures of it before, but when you see the real deal and the sheer size of the sculpture, it’s possibly the most impressive artwork I’ve ever seen. It’s incredibly detailed and absolutely captivating. Line ups are insane so it’s best to buy your tickets in advance and pick a time slot to jump the line.
Uffizi Gallery: I’m not that big into historical paintings, so I didn’t enjoy this collection of artwork as much as other people would appreciate. The only piece I knew was Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus“, which ironically enough, we had a replica framed in our hotel room above one of the single beds. So this one’s your call – I would’ve rather skipped this one altogether, but to each their own. Similar to the Galleria Dell’Accademia, buy your tickets in advance and pick a time slot to avoid the long lines.
Piazza Della Signoria: Much time was spent in this square with replica sculptures at every turn, including “David”, “The Fountain of Neptune”, and “Perseus with the Head of Medusa” to name a few. We even caught a glimpse of a wedding ceremony in one of the buildings.
Ponte Vecchio Bridge: This is Florence’s oldest bridge and makes for a fun and picturesque walkway with shops along the path.
Piazzale Michaelangelo: On the other side of the bridge, walk up to this square for sweeping views of Florence. The best time to go would be near sunset. There is also a bronze replica of the “David” statue here.
Shopping Galore: There is shopping everywhere you go! From high end designers, affordable clothing and accessories, souvenirs, crafts, jewellery, you name it! Florence is known for their leather goods, particularly in the Santa Croce area. It’s difficult not to buy in to their leather bags or jackets.
Food Recommendation: Italy is the place to indulge in gelato – for those who don’t know, gelato is similar to ice cream but has a greater proportion of whole milk to cream, so gelato is actually less fattening. Also, gelato is churned at a slower rate, which makes it less airy and denser, leaving you with a spoon full of action packed flavour with every bite. THEE place to go for gelato (the best I’ve had in the world) is hands down “Venchi Il Gelato“. It’s a chain so you’ll find it in other cities in Italy (and other parts of the world), thank God! My favourite go-to flavour is hazelnut (I’m obsessed with it) and it’s seriously the best here. I also had a dark chocolate flavour and it was so rich and creamy, I felt like royalty eating it. They also sell other chocolate items in the store and make for good souvenirs back home. We certainly stocked up!
For a delicious dinner, check out “L’Osteria di Giovanni“. We loved our waiter (partially because he was the younger, gentler Italian version of Benicio del Toro) who offered us great service (despite not knowing any English) and free dessert (mini biscotti that you dip into thick sweet dessert wine). We loved everything we ate their. We had this giant ravioli appetizer to start that was mouth watering good. The chicken and fish dishes were also great. We ended off the night with two more desserts, citrus cake and panna cotta, that were molto excellent.
Hotel Recommendation: Sticking to our hotel budget (~$54 CAD/person/night), we opted to try 2-Star “Hotel Santa Croce“. The room itself was very tiny with an even smaller bathroom, but the location was convenient and in the leather goods district. What really sets this hotel apart from all the other competition is the level of service here. It feels very family owned and every staff member we encountered was such a delight. They were very helpful in navigating the city and even served us breakfast… actually served us! The breakfast itself wasn’t much, honey glazed croissants (so yummy), mini toast to go packs, coffee and juices, and yogurt. Considering this is a 2-star hotel, they have 5-star service here.
And now, onto Day 7, a trip to Pisa and Lucca.
Interested in other cities?