There are so many things to do, see, experience, and eat while visiting Florence, Italy! So I’ve put together this comprehensive Florence travel guide. It encompasses all of the things that one must see and do while visiting this beautiful and historic city.
Florence, Italy is the awe-inspiring home of the Renaissance with pockets of modernity in a city that seems frozen in time. Engulfed in culture and history as rich as the Tuscan food. Surrounded by masterful architecture that has withstood the test of time and charming narrow cobblestone streets filled with life. Where you can stroll the same streets walked by Michelangelo, Leonardo, Dante, and Botticelli then witness some of their greatest works of art. This charming, romantic, and magnificent city has stolen my heart indefinitely.
Florence is by far one of my favorite places I have ever traveled to. My husband and I have gone to Florence three times over the past three years. And we hope to continue the tradition every year! Because of the wonderful times, I have spent in Florence, I wanted to share with you my Florence travel guide.
How to Travel to Florence
To get to Italy in general, I fly directly from Miami to Rome or Milan. From either airport, I take the train and go to Florence’s train station, Santa Maria Novella. The train station is located in the Northwest corner of the city. Although it is walking distance to most hotels, I do suggest grabbing a taxi right outside the station. Especially if you have rolling luggage.
Contrarily, if you’re already in Europe you can fly into Florence’s main airport, Peretola. This airport is located 15-20 minutes outside the city center. It is served by major airlines and budget European airlines alike.
Where to Stay in Florence
There are lots of wonderful hotel options in Florence’s city center. For an exceptional view of the Duomo at a reasonable and affordable hotel rate, I suggest the Hotel Duomo (room #40 pictured above). For a more upscale and luxurious hotel stay, I recommend the St. Regis. And if you prefer Airbnb that also has a stunning view from the rooftop, I suggest La Terrazza Sul Duomo. It’s an Instagram favorite location so make sure to book ahead.
Where to Eat in Florence
Eating is certainly one of my favorite things to do while in Florence Italy. Tuscan food is amazing, comforting, and relatively inexpensive.
Bella Vita Guide Tip: Restaurants near major piazzas and monuments tend to be tourist traps. Also, they tend to not have the greatest quality food. This isn’t always the case and there are a few exceptions so research online beforehand. Also, any restaurant with pictures of the food on their menu is a guaranteed tourist trap.
Breakfast (La Colazione)
Firstly, in Italy in general, the typical breakfast consists of a cappuccino and croissant. To adapt to a true Italian breakfast you can visit a bakery like Caffe Gilli.
Now onto lunch and one place comes to mind instantly. One of my favorite things to-do in Florence Italy is eat All’Antico Vinaio. It is our first stop every time we go to Florence. They have the best paninis we have ever eaten. They have a couple of tiny hole in the wall locations with nowhere to sit and there’s usually a line, but it’s well worth the wait for the amazing quality of the food. Grab a panini then head to Piazza della Signoria, sit in front of Loggia del Lanzi, people watch, and enjoy.
Just down the same street, you can find La Prosciutteria. If you love a good charcuterie board as much as I do, you’ll be in for a special treat here.
For those of you who don’t know what aperitivo is, it’s a pre-meal drink and appetizers specifically meant to stimulate your appetite for dinner. Normally aperitivo cocktails are light on alcohol and bitter, which pairs wonderfully with salty snacks. I love enjoying aperitivo on a rooftop bar with an astounding view. My favorites are Caffé La Terrazza at La Rinascente and View on Art.
Locale puts a modern twist to old-time Florentine favorites. Make sure to make a reservation when you come here and be prepared to spend a least 2 hours here. Also, start at the bar for delicious and truly unique cocktails before you start your meal.
L’toscani is my husband’s personal favorite restaurant for dinner (on the planet). They’re a no-fuss, laid back kind of restaurant that takes pride in their meat. You’re bound to have a great time with delicious Florentine steaks, lovely house Chianti, and free-flowing amounts of digestivi. This is definitely one of my husband’s favorite things to do in Florence Italy!
One cannot associate desserts with Italy and not think of gelato! Gelateria La Carraia is a more popular gelateria, but Vivoli and Gelateria La Sorbettiera are also good choices. I know Venchi is a chain, but they still make some really good gelato. Be careful about some bars near the main piazzas and tourist sights selling gelato. It’s usually very overpriced and terrible quality.
Bella Vita Guide Tip: A great way to tell if you’re getting quality gelato is its size. Gelato should be flat and NOT a fluffy mound.
What things to do in Florence
One of my favorite things to do in Florence is to walk. Just walking around the city, wandering the streets, and exploring around town is an experience in itself. Discovering little hole in the wall restaurants, vintage shops, quaint little markets, and artisan stores are fun. And on that note, shopping in Florence is phenomenal and I definitely recommend it. I’ve discovered some of my favorite Italian beauty brands by just exploring small shops.
And then, of course, there’s no shortage of museums and historic landmarks. Some of the most notable museums and historic landmarks to visit are:
Museums: Uffizi Gallery, Galleria dell’Accademia, Pitti Palace, Palazzo Vecchio, Bargello, Museum of Opera of Santa Maria del Fiore, Museo Galileo, etc.
Churches: Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Santa Croce, Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, Medici Chapel, San Lorenzo, etc.
Gardens: Boboli gardens, Giardino Bardini, Giardino delle rose, Giardino dell’ Iris, Giardino Torrigiani, Giardino di Villa Strozzi, etc.
Other landmarks: Ponte Vecchio, Vasari Corridor, Strozzi Palace, House of Dante, Piazzale Michelangelo, Gucci Garden, and Salvatore Ferragamo Museum among many other places.
I’ve outlined tips in a previous post about visiting some of these places in 5 Essential Tips for Visiting Museums in Florence.
As you can tell there are so many things to do, see, and eat so it can get a little overwhelming trying to plan a perfectly curated trip. If you’d like to leave all of the travel planning to the professionals but you still want an extravagant experience, I suggest booking with Couturista Travel.
If you’re planning a trip to Florence soon and would like to chat, please feel free to reach out and chat with me!