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FLORENCE FOR A MOMENT

FLORENCE FOR A MOMENT

Drop a pin, clink your glass of Chianti wine, and take a giant exhale. You’ve arrived in the land cradling the Renaissance, the perfect, charming city nestled in a valley between jaw dropping Tuscan mountains…. oh and of course, the boujee birthplace of Gucci.

Welcome to the city that stole the air right out of my lungs, in the same way it does to just about all its lucky visitors.

WHAT TO EAT

First off, let’s be real: you're in Italy. So, I’ll jump to it. The time has come to embark on the food tour of a lifetime. Managing to eat your way through Florence is just too easy.

Breakfast

Italians in general do not eat a large breakfast, an espresso and croissant usually suffice, so sometimes eating an American breakfast can be your best bet. If you're craving some avocado toast or a healthy bite here are some of your best options:

Le Vespe is super popular and always busy but offers a yummy vegan/organic menu. Shake Cafe has healthy eats, good study spot downstairs and is also good for lunch. Tamarindo was my  favorite study spot, with acai bowls, wraps, and salads. Local cafes are just as important to stop in for breakfast. Visit cafes as often as you can because they bustle with Florentine culture and conversation that gives you a true taste of the city. Not to mention, Italian pastries are something out of this world. Find your local cafe wherever that may be.

Lunch

All’antico Vinaio is a famous Florentine panini place. The line can get long but they are amazing and well worth it. Pino’s is popular among American students and serves hot pressed paninis that are to die for. Gusta Pizza is hands down the best pizza in Florence. My mouth is watering as I write this. They make real authentic Napoli pizza with a thick chewy crust. Pizza Napoli 1955 is another great pizza spot, you just can't lose. Oil Shoppe is where you can make your own paninis!  Adding truffle oil is a must.

Dinner

Trattoria ZaZa is the spot where my friends and I religiously ate. They specialize in truffle and have great appetizers. I highly recommend the truffle tagliatelle it was my favorite dish. Il Gatto e La Volpe has cheap dishes that are all amazing. They do an all you can drink unlimited wine and family style dinner on Wednesdays for 15 euro. Yellow Bar makes all their pasta in house at a pasta bar, the Gnocchi Rose is a must. La Giostra is one of the most famous restaurants in Florence they are reservation only. Borgo Antico’s  ‘Spaghetti Carrettiera’ is the best spaghetti I’ve had in my whole life. 4 Leoni (Quattro Leoni) serves a renown pear tortellini you must try. Acqua al 2 is the best place to order your Florentine steak! You cannot leave without going trying one. Tijuana serves margaritas and nachos for those days when you're sick of pasta! Always a fun alternative to Italian cuisine.

Dessert

Gino’s has the best cannoli’s in Florence, across the Ponte Vecchio. Festival Gelato has the largest assortment of gelato flavors (mojito was my favorite) and La Carraia is equally as good. Vivoli Gelateria is the most famous gelateria in Florence. Definitely make a stop here.

Keep in mind this is just a suggestive list and there are hundreds of other incredible restaurants around this small city. But before you leave make sure you have a Florentine steak, something with truffle on it, gelato, pecorino cheese (a Tuscan specialty) and of course, a glass of Chianti wine.

Oh…. how could I forget to add The Secret Bakery.

Once you catch a whiff of fresh baked goods wafting through the streets you will know you’re nearby. Just make sure you’re out between the hours of 12 am and 4 am.

WHAT TO SEE

Now that our mouths are on the floor… let’s talk about what else there is around town. Your days will be stacked with activities from day to night. There is so much to do on any given day in Flo.

Museums

Uffizi Gallery is the site of Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and thousands of other famous art pieces. Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens, I visited four times it is that breathtaking. Borghese Palace, Palazzo Vecchio, Gucci Garden, L’accademia (Statue of David), Il Grande Museo del Duomo, Brunelleschi’s Dome, Bell Tower, Cathedral, The Baptistery, Dante Alighieri's House

* Museum Sunday is the first Sunday of every month. Free Admission for everyone.

Sites

Piazzale Michelangelo is the ideal place for a sunset with wine. It boasts incredible panoramic views of the city. Ponte Vecchio is so charming and never gets old. Santo Spirito is a place where locals hang out, with multiple restaurants around a fountain square. Santa Croce is also a local spot at night, and where the Christmas markets are in December. This is also the church where Michelangelo is buried. Piazza della Repubblica is where all the shopping is and the carousel. Attend a Florentine soccer game, so fun.

Favorite stores

AquaFlor Firenze is a perfumery tucked in a tiny street near Santa Croce. They make all their perfumes in the factory in the basement. Every scent is so beautiful.  Signum is the much classier, Italian version of Paper Source. They have personalized stationery, wrapping papers, notebooks, calendars and souvenirs.    

WHERE TO CELEBRATE

Take your heels off and grab your dancing shoes. Seriously, you don’t want to walk in heels on cobblestone.

Bars/ Clubs

Lions Fountain Irish Pub is the American college bar, you’ll always end up there some way or another. Kikuya is always a great time. Start sipping on your dragoon and say goodbye to your night. Sunday and Mondays they are 3.50 euro. Naima has a 3 drinks for 10-euro special which is easily the best deal in the city. Reverse is good bar for the nights when Lion’s Fountain gets packed because its two doors down. Red Garter has drinks and American food! Michael Collins serves bucket sized long drinks and live music. Always an awesome vibe. The Student Hotel has a rooftop pool, with stunning panoramic views of the city, drinks and food too! YAB, Space, and Babylon are great club options

Florence is truly heaven on earth, a place that constantly reminds you to enjoy every second you’re given there. My heart ached saying goodbye to this place, it holds the memory of such a blissful, carefree time in my life. Every day left me wanting more & more.

And here I am, still wishing for more.

Buon viaggio e buon appetito,

Caroline Chapman



ABROAD: WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

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