We ended up returning to Florence three times (and we were there briefly a few years ago) – the perfect blend of big city, capable of delivering a proper, third-wave kind of coffee, which isn’t something Italians generally practice (they like it black, burnt and bitter). Yet, still small enough to face you with siesta as soon as you venture more than three metres outside the city centre. Charming (and slightly annoying), in some ways, this stubborn upholding of the siesta concept, also in big cities.
Florence is genuinely wonderful and has lots to offer. You can easily spend a long weekend in the city, and the food scene is SO incredible.
If you arrive by car, I’ll suggest finding a parking spot down along the river. Remember that the yellow spots are for locals, while the blue ones are for tourists.
Florence is full of old hotels, expensive hotels, Airbnb’s, etc. And why not take a night in the midst of it all? One of you (and I’m sorry; I forgot your name) recommended an Airbnb at the centre of Ponte Vecchio (find it HERE) – that’s almost as special as it gets.
^^^All’Antico (Via dei Neri, 74r)
If you’re looking for lunch and aren’t meat-appalled, you must get a sandwich to go from All’Antico. We shared a classic with mortadella, cheese cream (almost felt like spreadable stracciatella (the cheese, that is)) and a bit of aubergine and rocket. Super delicious (even if the cheese amount was a bit overwhelming). It gets crowded, but the queue moves quickly – and notice how they almost have 4-5 shops including a butcher in the same street.
^^^Gustapizza (Via Maggio 46r)
This is THE pizza, friends. You MUST swing by Gusta – top 2 of pizzas on our journey. Brace yourselves for the queue to get seated – but if you order to go, the wait is considerably shorter, and then you can find somewhere to sit further down the street on the stairs leading to the church. And do promise me to order a margherita – here you really taste the quality of the cheese and tomato sauce.
^^^Malborghetta (Via dell’Agnolo 22)
A small local pizza parlour, where the pizzas come in three sizes, which means you can try out different types. Really good for the simple, quick bite in an, incidentally, charming area.
Che ti Garba (Borgo la Croce 85r)
Here you can sit and stare directly into the pizza oven – and thus observe your pizza go into the heat and out again in less than three minutes. Just as it should be in a real pizza bakery. Really good-quality produce – especially the cheese, mm…
Ditta Artigianale (Via dei Neri 32r)
A small franchise (they’ve got two outlets) à la Riccos in Copenhagen. Pretty conceptual spot, which is designed to have a local and vintage (I’d call it shabby, hehe) look – but the coffee is good (even if it’s on the stronger side), as is their golden latte. The street is quite lovely as well, actually, running parallel to the river.
Coffee Mantra (Borgo la Croce, 71r)
This might be the best coffee we had in Florence – and the barista was a proper geek. He very reluctantly let us take the coffee to go, out of fear that Adam’s cortado would grow cold too quickly. He told us about the coffee type, why they’d picked it, etc. A true pleasure!
Caffeteria Piansa (Via Vicenzo Gioberti 51/red)
Again, not super ‘tight’ decor-wise, everything is just a bit, well, off. But don’t be fooled. The coffee is good here as well (for me, better than Artigianale), and the street and area has a more local and non-touristy feel to it than what we experienced elsewhere. It also houses Naturgenia, which stocks a range of organic baby basics. Diapers, baby wipes etc without perfume.
^^^Leonardo (Via Dei Macci 65/r)
If you want to taste real biscotti and buy some to take home for your family, then this is where to find them. They’ve got various kinds, and rather than being dry and dull as we know them in Denmark, they are soft and tasty.
La Strega Nocciola (Via Ricasoli 16r)
The best ice cream we had on the holiday – perhaps because we stumbled upon it by chance and were surprised? They don’t carry a lot of varieties, but good classics and a few slightly more curious ones. The gentleman who shapes the scoops is sweet and kind, and the location is pretty neat, right by the big cathedral.
Sbrino (Via dei Serragli 32r)
Here you get real gelato, in the sense that they model the gelato only to then smear it on the cone – it looks pretty wicked and tastes like a piece of heaven.
Rosalia Salad Gourmet (Via dei Servi 37)
If you’re in need of a healthy break from the pizzas or need a lunch to go, this is a pretty good salad bar with a finger on the pulse in terms of selection – I mean, they offer much more than the classic pizza parlour salads on tomatoes and lettuce. Rosalia might as well have been located in Copenhagen, and also offers breakfast bowls, etc.
Boutique Nadine (Lungarno Acciaiuoli 22r)
Cute little shop, which carries newly produced goods as well a small curated selection of vintage goods. They have Louis Vuitton bags, small handmade hair bands (this is where I found my red one) and no name dresses with adorable laces. Quite gorgeous shop – but not cheap-cheap vintage.
Street Doing Vintage Couture (Via dei Servi 88)
Pretty sizeable vintage shop with items virtually hanging in layers – male as well as female. Ample time is required for entering this shop, but it’s very likely to be well spent on some wonderful purchases. Sunglasses, shoes, silk nighties, Moschino-outfits and Chanel bags.
Celeste Vintage (Piazza San Felice 1r)
This one was my favourite vintage boutique – and they have two outlets, but this is definitely the more interesting one. And their pricing is fair as well! It’s a clear but pretty big selection, and they’ve got so much good stuff – branded and unbranded.
TOP 5 ATTRACTIONS
The most iconic bridge in Florence, stacked full of small buildings – it’s really unique and adorable. Arguably the centre of attention in Florence.
Piazza del Duomo
The cathedral occupies most of the space, built in 1436, but only finished in the 19th century. It’s the wildest, most detailed piece of architecture I’ve ever experienced. It could seem, though, that they’ve spent all of their money on the exterior, what with the relative unadorned interior.
Quite expansive and gorgeous gardens, offering peace and calm and a safe space for the kids to roam around freely, without the fear of fast scooters, etc. Really lovely spot for a little picnic – perhaps a sandwich from Antico.
View and sunset from Piazzale Michelangelo
This may give you the best view of the red roofs of Florence – a pretty good tip from one of you, which we unfortunately didn’t get to, but I do want to include it!
Incredibly beautiful museum, stunning art pieces in equally stunning spaces, with an excellent view of Ponte Vecchio.