What a trip! 2 countries (+NYC), 5 stops in 13 days. Our third stop of the trip was 2 days in Florence Italy. I didn’t really have any expectations for Florence other than it is Italy so it must be amazing. Boy, was I wrong?! This place was beyond what I expected. The architecture, the art, the streets, the colors, the people, the food, the culture…I couldn’t get enough! Matt and I were supposed to have our “big wedding” in the middle of August but instead we decided to take this trip and we are extremely happy we made this decision even more now!
Side note: I ditched my vegan eating instead I was a seafood eating (twice), vegetarian! When in Italy.
Here is how we experienced 2 days in Florence Italy:
We flew from Barcelona (see more on that trip here) to Florence. Once you are in Europe, the flights are inexpensive to go from one place to another. Grabbed a cab from the airport and off we went!
We stayed at Hotel Palazzo Guadagni– the location and hotel was perfect for us! When Matt and I travel we are not super picky about hotels because we do not spend a whole lot of time in them- mainly just sleeping. We care more about location. We couldn’t have asked for a better location. It is located in the Oltrarno quarter. It is not too touristy and filled with lots of locals. Every morning, in the quarter, they had a little market set up with fresh produce, clothing and etc. There are little restaurants that line the street/quarter so we took full advantage of enjoying many espressos before we headed out in the morning and glasses of wine before we headed in for the night. My favorite thing about the actual hotel: the wrap around roof top terrace and the view from our room!
Our hotel room wasn’t ready for us to check in yet so we headed to the Boboli Gardens for a couple hours in the morning. I am not much of a “hiker” especially climbing hills in the heat in my airplane clothes. Not my idea of fun but so worth it! There are so many beautiful gardens throughout the property and amazing views of the city. If you see a hill or stairway, climb it because it usually leads to an amazing view! Although you would have to sneak it in, I wish we would have brought a bottle of wine! We watched a couple drink wine on a bench in the gardens which looked so romantic.
I believe the best way to see any city is on foot. We love to walk everywhere! After the gardens we wandered around the city. We headed to Ponte Vecchio bridge which was the only bridge in Florence not destroyed in World War II. It used to house butcher shops but today it is lined with gold and jewelry shops. I would recommend heading here first thing in the morning to avoid the crazy, tour guide crowds. This bridge was extremely busy at noon. To avoid the crowds, we headed down a side street/alleyway to find lunch. The alleyways in Florence are so dreamy! We stopped into a little restaurant to cool down, grab a glass of wine and a bowl of pasta…rough start of the day, right?!
Another reason I loved our hotel- it was across the quarters from this delicious restaurant, Osteria Santo Spirito. I ordered the zucchini parmesan risotto and Matt ordered the truffle gnocchi, both absolutely delicious! The restaurant is known for their truffle gnocchi. For dessert, we ordered tiramisu and of course drank lots of wine. I would recommend having reservations if you want to sit outside.
After Dinner Drinks
La Terrazza has an amazing view of the city! Only problem, there are 2 La Terrazza and we went to the wrong one but the view did not disappoint. We went to the La Terrazza above the Rinascente department store instead of the La Terrazza above the Continentale hotel. I definitely would recommend the Continentale hotel location. After this we headed back to where our hotel is, Oltrarno quarter, sat outside at a restaurant and enjoyed some more wine!
We hung out around our hotel in the early morning, worked a bit, ate breakfast, grabbed an espresso and wandered around.
We spotted this restaurant, Alimentari Uffizi, the day before when we were wandering around. It was completely full for a couple hours so we were intrigued. It is a small restaurant that has cured meats and cheeses in a case…Matt’s dream! Thankfully when we arrived there was 1 table left. There is no menu but the owner knew what we were there for…meat and cheese! We ordered a meat and cheese plate, wine and bread.
While we were waiting we learned that this family owned restaurant gets all of the meat and cheeses are from their family owned farm. The definition of a farm-to-table restaurant! Bonus: the owner, Alessandro, is so friendly and helpful! We knew before we even got our food that it was going to be good. Although I didn’t eat the meats, the cheese were amazing! This restaurant was Matt’s favorite restaurant EVER….that he has ever been to! YES! Anyone that knows Matt knows he doesn’t say that easily so I was so excited. I’ve heard about how he wants to go there a few times since we’ve been back too. I highly highly highly recommend this place! They do sandwiches too.
A beautiful pink, green and white cathedral! It was extremely hot this day and the line was crazy long so we decided to skip the inside. You can also climb to the top for a stunning view but again it was too hot! This is another location that was crazy busy so I would recommend heading here first thing in the morning before the crowds arrive. My favorite part of The Duomo- this little Irish Pub right in the square called JJ Cathedral. On the second floor, there is 1 small table, on a balcony overlooking The Duomo and square. The table was open when we got there (thank goodness!) so Matt and I hung out here for a couple hours drinking beer and people watching. It was perfect!
We headed back to the hotel for a bit to cool off and take a nap. We do not nap at home usually but while we were in Europe napping was an almost daily thing. It was so nice.
We stopped into Il Santo Bevitore for more cheese, meats and wine. When we got there we didn’t realize we sat in the small part of the restaurant which looks like its own restaurant (so confusing!) but it was perfect because we didn’t want a full meal. On top of the meats and cheeses, we ordered the smoked salmon and bruschetta too which both were so so good!
We couldn’t come to Florence and not have gelato! I am not a huge ice cream person but I couldn’t resist. We stopped by Perche No! which makes their gelato fresh everyday and has been open since 1939. We had the honey sesame, pistachio, coffee and a chocolate. All great! The honey sesame was interesting.
This city was absolutely amazing! I fell in love with Italy very quickly, thanks to Florence. The streets, the food, the people, I couldn’t get enough of! I wish we had more time here but the 2 days in Florence Italy we had was perfect. I don’t feel like we missed out on anything we wanted to do. We came to Italy to eat great food, experience the culture, drink amazing wine and relax which we accomplished ALL of these plus some! Florence has a special place in my heart!
A HUGE thank you to Caitlin Hoffmann founder of Wandering Eye Co. for your amazing recommendations and help planning this great trip! She did an absolutely amazing job! I highly recommend her services. We wouldn’t have had the experience we did without her help.
Our 2 days in Florence Italy were amazing, have you been?