Guide to Firenze

For me, every time I embark on a journey through the enchanting streets of Florence it's like I'm stepping back into a cherished chapter of my life. The history of this magnificent city intertwines with my own, from the days of studying abroad in college to the countless returns for work and pleasure. Florence is not merely a destination; it's a canvas where love, friendship, and the echoes of centuries past come together.

Nestled in the heart of Tuscany, Florence is a city that breathes life into history. Its cobblestone streets echo with the footsteps of visionaries like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, and its timeless architecture tells tales of a Renaissance that forever shaped the course of art and culture. From the iconic Florence Cathedral, with its magnificent dome designed by Brunelleschi, to the Uffizi Gallery, home to masterpieces that have withstood the test of time, Florence beckons with an unparalleled cultural allure. Join me as we navigate this living masterpiece, uncovering the hidden gems and storied corners that make Florence a destination not just for the wanderer but for the soul seeker.

As seasons change and time passes, Florence remains a constant, a city that welcomes you with open arms, regardless of the hour, day, or season. This guide is more than a collection of recommendations; it's an invitation to immerse yourself in the magic of Florence, to tread the same streets where history and personal tales converge, and to discover a city that has left an indelible mark on my heart.

 

 

PLACES TO GO:

Piazza Santo Spirito - Every time I take a trip to the area Oltrarno, or "Diladdarno," (the whole area on the other side of the Arno River) I am constantly discovering new gems and hidden treasures. The historic district of Santo Spirito is no exception. Get swept up in the authentic and lively atmosphere as you enjoy the meeting place of excellence. Every Monday to Friday there's a local market here. The 2nd Sunday of the month hosts an artisan market. Every 3rd Sunday of the month is Fierucolina di Santo Spirito. During the day isn't the only allure for me though. The piazza really begins to come to life in the evening with the "movida," or nightlife. 

Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio (7AM-2PM, Closed Sunday) - Since 1873. Go for coffee, stay for wine and fried polenta. This indoor marketplace features traditional vendors and is the perfect setting to experience a more authentic Florentine marketplace compared to Mercato Centrale. 

Giardino delle Rose - My favorite garden park in the Oltrarno district of Florence. It's located below Piazzale Michelangelo and offers a commanding view of the city. Bring your own picnic or aperitivo and enjoy the view. On your walk here you'll pass L'Angolo dell'Erta, a little market, where you can get all necessary goods for your garden picnic. 

Piazzele Michelangelo - I swear the first time I experienced sunset here I was the only one on earth that knew about it. Now you'll be lucky if you even see the steps leading up to the top of the piazzele it's so busy. A sea of people come here to sit on the steps and enjoy a class of wine as the sun begins to set. Sometimes musicians grace the stage with music to set the perfect scene. 

Gucci Store - The one on Via Tornabuoni is the original store and was first opened when the company started in 1921, and has been running ever since. 

Gucci Garden - unique concept space created by the iconic Italian fashion house Gucci. Housed within the historic Palazzo della Mercanzia, the Gucci Garden is a multi-faceted experience that combines a museum, boutique, and restaurant. Conceived by Gucci's creative director Alessandro Michele, the space features exhibits showcasing the brand's classic clothing and handbags, offering visitors a journey through the evolution of Gucci's style and craftsmanship. The Gucci Garden Galleria exhibition rooms, curated by critic Maria Luisa Frisa, provide an immersive exploration of the brand's heritage. Additionally, the space includes a store where visitors can purchase exclusive and one-of-a-kind Gucci items. It's a must-visit destination for fashion enthusiasts and those seeking a blend of art, history, and high-end shopping in the heart of Florence.

Uffizi GalleryFounded in 1581, this gallery is a prominent art museum located adjacent to Piazza della Signora is the Historic Centre. Dont miss the Birth of Venus or La Primavera by Sandro Botticelli.

Palazzo StrozziThere was a time I came to Florence solely to see an Ai Wei Wei exhibit that was showing at this palace. One of the more important art museums in Florence, Palazzo Strozzi was built around the original Renaissance courtyard, a public square that plays host to concerts, performances, installations and more. 

 

 

BREAKFAST:

Santarosa Bistrot (Monday-Friday 8:30am-11pm, Saturday & Sunday 10am-11pm)

Brunellesco Caffé e Bistrot (6:30-6, closed Saturday & Sunday)

Vecchio Forno (best pasteries, no coffee, closed Sunday) 

 

LUNCH:

L’Ortone (open everyday 12:15-2:30pm)

Osteria Santo Spirito (doesn't take reservations at lunch) (closed Tuesday)

Santarosa Bistrot (Monday-Friday 8:30am-11pm, Saturday & Sunday 10am-11pm)

Cibrèo Ristorante (12:30-2:30/7-10:30, closed Sunday & Monday)

 

SANDWICHES-

Pino's Sandwiches

La Bottega a Rosano

I Maledetti Toscani

Semel

Schiaccia Passera

Deli 1891 Firenze

'Ino

Fattoria Lavacchio

I Fratellini

I'Girone De'Ghiotti

Un Caffè

Lo SchiacciaVino

 

DINNER:

L’Ortone (open everyday 7:15-10:30)

Osteria Santo Spirito (closed Tuesdays)

Nugolo (open Monday - Saturday 7:30pm-midnight)

Insolita Trattoria Tre Soldi (closed sunday & monday)

Santarosa Bistrot (8:30-11)

Ciblèo - Tortelli e Ravioli (closed sunday & monday)

Cibrèo Ristorante (12:30-2:30/7-10:30, closed Sunday & Monday)

 

APERITIVO:

Santarosa Bistrot (Monday-Friday 8:30am-11pm, Saturday & Sunday 10am-11pm)

Cibrèo Ristorante (12:30-2:30/7-10:30, closed Sunday & Monday)

Giacosa 1815

Cafe Gilli

Vivoli Gelateria (closed Monday, Tues-Sat 8:30-6, Sun 9:30-6) - strictly for affogatos 

BAR: Rasputin (Somewhere in Santo Spirito) 19:00 - 02:00

 

 

GELATO:

Gelateria Santa Trinita  

Gelateria La Carraia

Vivoli Gelateria (affagatos)(closed Monday, Tues-Sat 8:30-6, Sun 9:30-6)

La Gelatiera (closed Monday)

La Sorbettiera

Gelateria della Passera

Sbrino

Edoardo Il Gelato Biologico 

Gelateria dei Medici

Perchè no?

Donamalina

SottoZero

 

SHOPPING:

Brandy Melville (I love to get anything that says “Firenze” on it)

Bellini Gold (all my favorite gold jewelry is from here and they are forever having a 'sale')

Mercato Nuovo (leather bags)

S. Forno Panifico

 

VINTAGE-

Recollections by Albrici

Vannaty

Momo

Epoca

Humana

C'est Chic

Loft Vintage

Boutique Nadine

Clochard

Mercatino di Ninni

Vintage de Buttero

Only Usato

Desii Vintage

Celeste Vintage

Street Doing Vintage Couture

 

STAY:

Numeroventi 

SoprArno Suites

Lungarno

Four Seasons

Casa G

Casa Howard

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