The Best of Firenze

Studying abroad in Florence, Italy? Or just taking a weekend trip to the beautiful Tuscan city? From living in Florence, I learned the cobblestone streets like the back of my hand. Countless hours were spent eating spaghetti carbonara, wandering through the Uffizi museum and exploring the various outdoor markets.

While planning my return to Florence, and reflecting on my favorite places to be and see in the city; I have created a must-do list of activities and restaurants for a weekend get-away!

1. Oltrano

Oltrano is the section of the old historical city that sits across the Arno River, my FAVORITE section. Stroll over the Ponte Vecchio to enter an artisan abundant and museum lined area. Don’t forget about the Boboli Gardens, just a three minute walk off the Ponte Vecchio.

Piazza Santo Spirito is a courtyard in the center of Oltrano. Hit up Gusta Pizza for a personal Italian pizza or head next door to the outdoor seating of the various restaurants in the courtyard. Imagine lights strung above you and an Italian gentleman playing the accordion; it’s not just in movies!

2. Acqua al 2

This restaurant is where you want to be for any special occasion. I recommend the chef choice plates ranging from Assaggio d’insulate including three house salads, Assaggio di Primi including five vegetarian pastas, Assaggio di Secondi including three house steaks, Assaggio di Formaggi including four cheeses and Assaaggio di Dolci including four Acqua al 2 dessert specialties.

My dad and I split the Assaggio di Primi, Assaggio di Secondi and Assaggio di Docli which was the perfect amount of food for two people as we sipped on the Acqua al 2 house-Chianti wine.

3. PiazzaIMG_1168le Michelangelo

If you have ever seen a miraculous panoramic photo of Florence from above, it was most likely taken from Piazzale Michelangelo. Whether it be sunrise, sunset or a quick after-lunch trip, Piazzale Michelangelo offers the most breathtaking view of the city skyline. Plus, the hike up is a great way to work off that gelato!

For non-hikers, take bus 12 or 13 to the top of Piazzale Michelangelo.


IMG_11364. Mercado Centrale

Mercado Centrale (Central Market) was my favorite place to feel like a local. The bottom floor is lined with hundreds of meat, cheese, wine, fruit and veggie vendors. Make sure to explore the market early in the day if you are craving the freshest fruit!

Walk upstairs to find an open air restaurant with multiple options. My favorite: the Caprese pizza.

For any vegans out there: there is a great stand serving fresh fruit juices and a variety of vegan options. I love the vegan burger served with fresh cheese and veggies!

5. Santa Trinita Gelateria

IMG_1557Santa Trinita is hands down the best gelato I have ever had. It became an everyday ritual, and I am not exaggerating. After a couple of weeks, the ladies even learned my order of Panna Cotta (caramel) and Cheesecake which basically made me a regular :).

Head across the Santa Trinita bridge to be greeted by 38 delicious gelato flavors and it’s only 1.60 euro for a filling portion! Don’t be fooled by the gelato shops often in the city center that stack the gelato. Those shops are more expensive and word on the street is that they include preservatives to keep them fresh!


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