Long time ago I saw a Japanese movie called Calmi Cuori Appassionati, a love story based in Florence, and always wanted to visit Florence ever since. After having spent 4 days in Florence, both my hubby and I absolutely fell in love with the place to the point that we were saying that we would consider re-locating here only if the language wasn’t an issue. Florence was magical. It is such a charming city full of culture, history, beautiful surrounding nature, amazing food and great shopping opportunities.
Our 4 day itinerary in Florence
- Day 1
- Vecchio bridge
- Cupola del Brunelleschi
- Giotto’s Bell Tower – if you want to capture the beautiful Duomo, you need to climb the Bell Tower (instead of the Cupola itself). You have to climb little more than 400 steps however it is all worth it at the end!
- Piazzale Michelangelo – for amazing sunset view. Great photo spot.
- Day 2
- Mercato Centrale – for amazing coffee, snacks and fresh fruits!
- Uffizi gallery – You need to make a reservation online and give yourself at least 3-4 hours.
- Piazza della Signoria
- Santa Maria Novella Church
- Day 3
- Outlet shopping at the mall
- Basilica Di Santa Croce
- Florence Cathedral
- Wandered around the streets of Florence for more shopping
- Day 4
- We decided to go for a day wine tour to Chianti
As we booked our trip as a last minute, our accommodation options were quite limited. Having never been to a “guest house” we reluctantly decided to give this place (Relais Cavalcanti Guest House) a try and I’m glad that we did. The location was superb, as it was located in the central area within a walking distances to many attractions restaurants and shopping streets. The room was really well-kept and clean, and I personally liked their antique styling in the rooms.
In Rome, we learned quickly that we cannot trust the Tripadvisor and other online reviews on restaurants as we’ve been to some restaurants with hundreds and thousands of reviews which turned out to be rather average or below average. Having wasted our chances to try amazing Italian food given limited time, we were very disappointed! The lady who looks after our guest house was extremely helpful on this and she recommended us couple of restaurants (shown on the map below). We listened to her and ended up having one of the best meals of our lives in Florence.
- Trattoria Marione – We loved the food and ambience that we ended up coming here twice. Their simple roast chicken dish was divine. We’ve noticed that this place has a good mix of locals and tourists which is always a good sign.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to try all the restaurants we wanted to as we found out that most restaurants required making reservations beforehand and some were booked out by the time we got to them. Having tried her suggestions, I know that other restaurants would be simple amazing!
Our best meal in Florence was at this restaurant called Cammillo Trattoria. This was THE BEST Florentine steak we ever had…
Ponte Vecchio – On the left side of the bridge (as shown in the picture below) there are many local leather shops that are definitely worth visiting! On the bridge, you’ll see beautiful Italian jewellery everywhere.
We spent our late afternoon at Piazzale Michelangelo for sunset view.
When in Italy, have Gelato every day! Our favourite was Venchi and I appreciated a fact that this was a franchise because it meant that I was able to get this in all other cities! 🙂
Mercato Centrale was another place what we loved. They have fresh local produces, incredible coffee, snacks, and even restaurants upstairs. We ended up having multiple cups of coffee almost every morning and bought fruits and snacks for the day.
Having been to couple of markets in Italy, we regretted that we didn’t try Airbnb because there were so many fresh ingredients that we would have loved to try ourselves!
We had an amazing Porchetta roll in Rome for the first time. When we saw this at the Mercato Centrale, we both knew we had to have more. We bought it as a snack before we went to Uffizi Gallery.
This was a perfect place to be especially on a rainy/cloudy day. You can easily spend a half day if you love artwork and their history. For us i think we spend 2.5-3 hours. You will need to book the tickets beforehand, which can be done online. My husband who isn’t a big fan of art/art history surprisingly enjoyed their collections which makes me think that this gallery is for all people.
Giotto’s Campanile (The bell tower next to Duomo)
As you can see in the picture below, you have a choice in climbing either the Bell tower or the Duomo to enjoy the view of Florence in a bird’s eye view. I think climbing the bell tower as opposed to the Duomo of Cathedral of Santa Maria dei Fiore gives you the best view of the city. It is a lot of work, as you have to climb up little more than 400 steps however you will be rewarded with a spectacular view that you won’t forget. Wear a comfortable shoes, leave heavy backpacks home (but bring a wide-angle lens!), and bring small bottle of water and snacks.
For our last day which we knew that it was going to be a rainy day, we signed up for a Chianti day wine tour. Ironically, our favourite part of the tour was not the wine (I’m sure it’s all because we are very spoilt living next to Barossa wine region) but this little shop that had the most amazing cured meats. When you are at the local markets in Italy, I highly suggest trying their cured meat (along with their local bread and cheese). Delicious!!
Reasons why I know we’ll return to Florence one day
- We ran out of time and didn’t get to try…
- Trattoria Sostanza – this is a small ‘family restaurant’ which gets booked out 2-3 weeks in advance. We walked by this restaurant and regretted that we didn’t know about this place in advance.
- The amazing sandwiches at Nerbone (At Mercato Centrale)
- and many others, as recommended by the lady at the guest house (as already listed in this post)
- We will have to try Airbnb for few days especially in Florence knowing how easily we can get onto fresh produces every day.
- More leather goods, jewelleries and tailered suits/shirts/shoes please!
- More outlet shopping (I’ll post about this in detail)
I need more reasons to return to this beautiful place, please let me know in the comments 🙂