On my most recent trip to Italy, we stopped short in Florence on our way to the rather underwhelming Cinque Terre.
I had already visited Florence, Italy, with my closest buddy many years ago, and to be honest, we didn’t like it. We were on a short journey, just three nights in each location, a standard American jaunt across the nation.
Rome had been thrilling—a bizarre mingling of the old and new amid a city teeming with visitors and residents alike.
We discovered Venice to be all everyone thought it would be. The gondolas drifting down the Grand Canal, the pigeons in Piazza San Marco (which look wonderful for photographs but really create terror that you’ll get pooped on), and, of course, the iconic Bridge of Sighs and Rialto Bridge.
We were, however, too young to truly enjoy Florence. We drank just to become drunk and prided ourselves as we took in the local culture with every piece of 1 euro pizza.
Returning now with a renewed love of food and wine, and with loads of local information from a friend living there, we were resolved to make the most of our short stay in the city.
I’m not a coffee drinker, but we had an early start and a lot to accomplish, so I indulged in a rare cup.
When in Florence, don’t miss out on the following activities that will let you immerse yourself in the city (get them while they’re hot!):
- Florence: Chianti Wineries Tour with Food and Wine Tasting
- Florence: Cinque Terre Day Trip with Optional Hike and Lunch
- Florence: Uffizi Gallery Timed Entrance Ticket
- Accademia Gallery: Tour
- Leonardo Interactive Museum Skip-the-Line Ticket
It’s nothing like America, where you have your venti iced caramel frappe soy milk light foam whatever served to you through a window.
Italians sit and drink their coffee while conversing or reading the newspaper. Everyone appeared to be drinking espresso, so I gave it a go. I was on a caffeine high for the rest of the day.
We headed to the streets, sufficiently pumped.
My companion and I had both been to Venice previously and had done many of the touristy activities. This time, we were content to just be in the city, roaming the streets and shopping.
We strolled the streets aimlessly, but unintentionally bumped across a handful of Florence’s most iconic landmarks, including the Cathedral.
and Piazza DellaRepubblica’s antique carousel.
We discovered a plethora of Instagram moments that only Florence can deliver.
We pondered going to a number of the city’s museums, but the queues were too lengthy for our brief stay.
To bypass long lineups, get Accademia gallery tickets. These may endure for an eternity, particularly during peak season. Pre-book your Uffizi tickets.
Thankfully, La Prosciutteria, my friend’s submission to our legendary charcuterie competition, was less than 5 minutes away from the Uffizi. As we walked in and saw the large array of hanging cured meats, I knew we were in for a treat.
We stood there watching as the workmen cut into porchetta, a nicely cooked stuffed pig.
We ordered the plate for two, a glass of wine, and sat back as the folks behind the bar carefully constructed our order.
Here is what was delivered to our table:
Since the board is larger than the table, they had to build wine holders on the wall for this meal for two.
I wish I could tell you we couldn’t complete it, but I’m not here to deceive you. When I return to Florence, Italy, I plan to spend more time on a thorough gourmet tour of Tuscany.
We hit the streets again to walk it off, having gone from a coffee high to a mid-afternoon wine buzz and uncomfortably full tummies.
Florence undoubtedly possesses some of Europe’s most beautiful buildings.
We took a walk down the Arno River, enjoying the Ponte Vecchio, or Old Bridge. We discovered that this was the only bridge over the river until 1218.
We returned to our hotel to prepare for dinner as the sun started to fall, but not before capturing more Instagram moments along the way.
I was looking forward to supper since I had made arrangements to see Georgette, whom I had met on my walking food tour of Marrakech.
Georgette is an American who has lived in Florence for many years. Her blog, Girl In Florence, is (and Im not just saying this since shes my friend) the greatest and only website you need to arrange your vacation to the city. She has considered everything—where to dine, where to stay, the greatest drinks, and new restaurants—and she is continually updating the information.
Unfortunately, Georgettes husband, who I met on the tour in Marrakech, was unable to participate, but she brought along Coral, a friend who happens to be a fellow food blogger and owner of a walking food tour firm.
I wish I’d known about her walking food tours before coming, but they’ve been added to my never-ending list of reasons to return. Check them out if you’re planning a visit- the photographs are drool-worthy, and they’re at the top of my list of things to do the next time I’m there.
I knew as the proprietor of a walking food tour that our dinner pick would be very spectacular. A culinary blogger and a female who had lived in the city long enough to be deemed a local
We were not let down.
We met at I Brindellone, a spot I would never have discovered if they hadn’t taken me there.
That was so unmistakably Italian. If there was an English menu, I didn’t notice it. I didn’t hear any English from the waiters. I left the ordering to my companions, knowing I was in excellent hands.
Plate after plate started to emerge on the table. I took a couple pictures before we started eating. These fried zucchini blossoms were unfamiliar to me, but they were excellent.
We had to eat pasta since we were in Florence, Italy. Yet this was no ordinary pasta; it was strewn with fresh truffles.
We shared dishes, silently refilled empty bottles of wine, discussed politics, and laughed till our stomachs ached.
Then came the main course. Bistecca alla Fiorentina, often known as Tuscan rare steak.
I’m not sure whether this shot adequately portrays the size of this steak. That fed all six of us. I was absolutely in my element.
We made our way to Rasputin, a secret or hidden bar that reminded me of a throwback speakeasy that sells fancy drinks, for the second time in a day, feeling almost uncomfortable.
We called it a night after a few more beers, political disagreements, and, of course, laughter, due to our early departure the following day.
I left Florence, Italy, with a renewed respect for the city and the assurance that I will return, preferably sooner rather than later, to thoroughly study it. Then do that food tour of course!