Update: Here is a link to my video about my study abroad tips in Florence, Italy!
The last six weeks have been a DREAM. Here is a list of places to go, things to do, and travel tips if you ever find yourself in this magical city.
WHERE TO EAT
Pizzeria A Taglio: The first time I went to Italy back in high school, I discovered this place and I loved it. After three years, I remembered exactly where it was without even knowing the name of it. They sell a mean eggplant pizza for only €6.20! You can eat outside and enjoy the view of the Duomo or you can eat in the downstairs area of their restaurant where the walls are filled with names of customers dating back to the early 2000’s.
Che Ti Garba: This cool joint was located on the east side of the city, much closer to where my apartment was. One of my favorite things about this restaurant was that they split checks; something that is not common in Italy. At dinner, they serve you a flute of champagne and homemade potato chips. Their pizza and pastas are delicious!
Ke Ci Metto Borgo La Croce: Another place on the east side of the city that I loved! This small panini shop has a large variety of breads, meats, cheeses, sauces, and vegetables. The sweet owners helped me create my first panini and it was amazing.
Caffe Dolce Amaro: THE BEST PLACE IN THIS WHOLE CITY. I went every day after my first class for my white chocolate centered croissant! One euro a day made my whole morning! During my fourth week in Italy, I had her lemon tea to soothe my sore throat. I was expecting just a cup of tea, but she handed me a whole little pitcher of warm water that served me about three cups!
4 Leoni: This restaurant is across the river, but trust me it’s worth the walk. Just a few minutes away from the Ponte Vecchio, this place is known for their pear tortellini. I had no idea what to expect when I sat down to eat this, but I was very surprised at how good it was. My roommate and I were raving about it for the rest of the day. It was definitely one if the best pasta dishes I had throughout my six weeks in Florence.
Tijuana: When you are in Italy for six weeks, sometimes you just need a break from all the Italian food. This Mexican place tasted better than half the Mexican places I have been to in Florida. They served huge margaritas that were half off on Mondays and their nachos and quesadillas were insanely good. I love Mexican food and this place surpassed any sort of expectation I had.
Koto Ramen: Another place I went to when I needed a little Italian food break. I heard a lot of people talking about this restaurant and I have never had ramen from a restaurant before, so I thought I would check it out. I ended up getting Pork Gyoza and Veggie Miso Ramen and I loved the little spicy kick they added to it.
Ganzo: A student-run restaurant (Florence University of the Arts), that creates mouth watering meals. On Wednesdays, they have Aperitivo. You pay €5.00 and get a drink with endless amounts of appetizers. On Thursdays, if you make reservations, you can attend a six course gourmet meal with each dish being paired with a wine. I went once and it was magnificent. Ganzo is also open during the day for lunch.
La Prosciutteria: A great place to go for a meat and cheese platter paired with a glass of wine.
Are e sicilia: A Sicilian cannoli shop that was just… WOW.
Edoardo Il Gelato Biologico: Queen B’s favorite gelato shop in Florence. They have a specialty menu that changes daily. I got Lemon and Chianti Red Wine flavored gelato. A GOOD CHOICE.
Magnum: Okay this place was so cool! You walk in and create your own ice cream bar. The toppings are so unique and it really allows you to get creative. You can even put rose petals on it!
Gelateria dei Neri: Get the strawberry cheesecake gelato.
Cantina del Gelato: Any gelato place that has the silver lids on top, instead of having the gelato piled high into a mountain, is better. It keeps the gelato colder and fresher. This place was closer to my apartment, so I loved to go here for a late night treat.
Sant’Ambrogio: A wine bar recommended to me by my Pairing Food and Wine teacher. There are pages of wine names to choose from. I went a few times and loved every glass of wine I ordered.
WHAT TO DO/ PLACES TO SEE
Shopping: A few places that were more affordable that I liked were Subdued, Zuiki, Adica, Tezenis, and Fly Fashion Loves You.
Clubbing: Being out late at night in the city is a little scary because the men are aggressive. I stayed out late one night and went to Space. You pay €10.00 to get in and it includes a drink. The music was decent, but dancing with all your new friends is a blast!
Boboli Gardens: ABSOLUTELY STUNNING VIEWS!!! I went my first weekend in Italy before most of the flowers starting dying. The best time to go is before June.
Galleria dell’Accademia: The Statue of David is a sight to see. It was a jaw dropping moment for me.
Uffizi Gallery: Being that this museum is one of the most prominent renaissance art museums in the world, I knew it would be crazy to not go. The art here is breathtaking.
Climbing the Duomo: 463 steps. The view was worth it.
Gucci Garden: If you love fashion, then you’ll love this museum. It’s quite small, but the clothing pieces inside are very chic.
Il Mercato Centrale Firenze: This huge marketplace was put into an area of the city that was becoming dead. Now it is thriving! The first floor is all fruits, breads, veggies, and produce stands. The second floor is full of restaurants. I love food brought life back into this area of the city.
- Bring lots of euros!! Many restaurants in Italy don’t split checks. It’s a lot easier to pay in cash if you are eating out with a group of people.
- If you plan on shopping in any of the grocery stores or markets, bring a reusable bag with you. They will charge extra euros for using plastic bags. (I love this so much!!)
- Be careful when ordering seafood. They serve everything whole here so you have to pick around the skin, bones and eyes.
- Do not drink a cappuccino after 11AM. Only tourists do that.
- Most Italians don’t wear shorts in the city. If you want to blend in more, then try wearing pants, dresses, or skirts.
- The roads here are OLD. Wearing heels is not a good idea. Many Italians wear fashionable sneakers. The most popular being Adidas.
- Don’t bother bringing a reusable water bottle with you because there aren’t any water fountains in Florence. Everyone drinks bottled water. When ordering water you have to specify if you want still or sparkling.
- Most restaurants close in the late afternoon and don’t open up again until 7:00pm. Plan your eating schedule accordingly.
For those that want to travel to Florence, but have no idea how to begin planning your trip, I hope this helps! If you have been to Florence and liked a place that is not listed here, leave the name of it in the comments!