Our second stop on our first trip to Italy was Florence. Florence was by far our favorite part of our trip. From the food to the wine to the architecture, Florence stole our hearts. Here are a few of our favorite Florence moments.
Three Days in Florence
- Enjoy a Hotel Rooftop
One of the best decisions we made during our quick trip to Florence was booking a hotel with a rooftop deck. We found a reasonable rate at Hotel Torre Guelfa, which is a palace turned hotel and it rocks! Now, you won’t be staying in the queen’s quarters, but this hotel has a ton of character, it is walking distance to tons of tourist stops, and has a killer roof deck. We got some of our best views of Florence from this roof without being in a mob of tourists and it was the perfect spot to enjoy wine from the corner store. We even had some new vacation friends we met on a wine tour over for drinks on “our” roof and they agreed it was like being on cloud nine.
Borgo Santi Apostoli, 8, Firenze, Italy
- Take a Day Trip to Tuscany
As you’ve learned, we like drinking wine, a lot. The only thing as good as drinking cheap wine on the roof our Florence hotel is drinking wine in heart of wine country, Tuscany. We booked our tour through Tuscan Wine Tours by Grape Tours and had a hell of a day. The tour starts with a cliff notes session on Chianti wine and how to taste wine, including the proper way to hold a wine glass (I’ve been struggling to build by finger muscles to perfect this ever since—still look like a savage drinking wine). Then, we headed out to Tuscany! Our day in Tuscany included tastings at two wineries for SUPER Chianti, cellar tours, lunch, and olive oil tastings. BTW olive oil is, in fact, better in Italy. We did a group tour, which was a ball. We got to know people from all over the world and even ended up spending the rest of the day/night hanging out with some new friends from Canada (enter, our new friends that hung out on our roof with us #besties).
- Climb Duomo to See Florence
The Florence Cathedral is the big boy church that defines that beautiful Florence skyline. The pink, white, and green marbled architecture of this bad boy should not be missed. As if you already didn’t feel small enough looking up at the Duomo, you can also climb up 463 steps to the top—take that Fitbit. The no elevator climb to the top of the cathedral is an exciting one… I had never felt claustrophobic until this adventure. The stairs wells are dark, crowded, steep, and sometimes limited to one lane so you have to wait to go down narrow corridors. Despite playing out every scenario in my head in which we’d need to evacuate the dome and would fail miserably, we made it to the top and the view is worth it! You are rewarded with 360 views of Florence and a pat on the back for making it to the top!
Piazza del Duomo, Firenze, Italy
- Buy Leather from Mossimo
When we decided to go to Florence, everyone told us, “YOU HAVE TO BUY LEATHER!!”. So we did. Through a friend, we were sent to Mossimo’s in Florence. So, we skipped the huge leather market and set out to find Mossimo! You wind through some small streets and end up in a tiny shop that isn’t only full of leather, but also Mossimo’s huge personality. He lit up the minute we told him our friends recommended us and made sure I left with a leather jacket that I loved. Mossimo clearly has a following of Americans who are studying abroad or visit Florence frequently as many people came in and out the shop that were on a first name basis with Mossimo. I can only dream of returning to Florence enough times and becoming one of Mossimo’s BFFs.
5. Grab Gelato and Walk Ponte Vecchio
Another thing to love about Florence is that there is gelato EVERYWHERE. Why can’t America take a hint?? All of the gelato we had was delicious, but one of the most fun gelato stops was to Gelateria Vivoli, Florence’s oldest gelato café. This spot will be packed to the gills, but the wood detailed inside and massive gelato bar will steal your heart. Be ready to be bold. You’ll have about 3 seconds to yell out your order before the next tourist steals the waiter’s attention.
Via dell’Isola delle Stinche, 7/r, Firenze, Italy
The good news is that after you snag your Vivoli Gelato you can take a relaxing stroll through the Ponte Vecchio, a gorgeous bridge over the Arno River full of enchanting shops. As you enjoy your gelato, window-shop jewelry, art, and souvenirs. Head to a bridge nearby to see how beautiful the Ponte Vecchio is from a far.
- Take in Local Fare at Mercato Centrale
One of the things we loved most about Florence was the authenticity and charm. Strolling through Mercato Centrale meets these expectations. This market is filled with meats, cheeses, fruit, and olive oil—all of our favorite things! It is definitely bustling, but a great place to pick up fresh ingredients for a picnic lunch around Florence.
Rumor has it that since our visit, they have updated this two level market into a fancy Italian food court with wine tasting, food vendors, and shops. So, don’t forget to check out both levels on your next visit and let us know how it is!
After exploring the inside of Mercato Centrale, you can head outside market, which sells leather, clothing, and souvenirs. This is definitely a tourist hotspot, but Johnny was able to practice his negotiating skills and cash in on some awesome deals on leather accessories—belts and a wallet.
Via dell’Ariento, 50123 Firenze, Italy
- See David at Galleria dell’Accademia
After you return from Florence, EVERYONE will ask if you saw David. As you know, we’re not art heavy travellers, but we don’t want you to be caught with your pants down when asked this question. So, we couldn’t leave David off of our list. When seeing David we did another “see and flee”. Get through the line, head straight to David, do a 360 cruise around David, then head back out to enjoy the beautiful day in Florenzi. Real talk: this sculpture is pretty unbelievable, so for real keep it on your list. You do have to pay about 8 to 12 Euros to get in, so if you want more bang for your buck dedicate more time than we did to see the rest of this art museum.
Via Ricasoli, 58/60, 50121 Firenze, Italy
- Cheers to Florence at Piazzale Michelangelo
No matter how short the trip, there’s always time for bubbles! A stop at Piazzale Michelangelo will get you champagne with a side of panoramic, kickass views #goals. As you can see from the picture, this stop is PACKED with tourists, but definitely worth the pricey drink for the unreal views.
Piazzale Michelangelo, 50125 Firenze, Italy