I’ve been wanting to write a Florence Travel Guide for some time now. This is perhaps my favorite city on Earth. One that I think about everyday. A place where I feel more home and alive than I do in San Francisco. A city where I will move back to one day. Florence was my home for one year and every time I go back I never want to leave its wonder. It is a special, dare I say, magical place. Its sights, culture and local cuisine are all undeniably fascinating. An architectural, art and culinary mecca. Florence is exceptional. With that I bring you a short Florence Travel Guide made with lots of love.
ESCAPE TO: Florence, Italy
Name: Marie R.
From: San Francisco, CA
Favorite Neighborhood: Oltra Arno. A quaint area with a local vibe, situated across the Arno River. On one side of the Arno is a tourist frenzy – the Duomo, Santa Croce and tons of clothing chains all in walking distance. Yet on the other side is the real deal. The Oltra Arno is a bit more secluded from the tourist destinations and when explored, you uncover local eateries, clothing shops and art stores. It’s the part of Florence that feels more homey, as if you lived there yourself, blending in with the calmer, more local side of things.
Favorite Local Hangout: Santo Spirito. Also situated in the Oltra Arno. Santo Spirito is a lively piazza (square) filled with local bars, cafes, and restaurants. One café I frequented was Café Volume. A café/study shop by day and live venue by night. Just the perfect spot to hangout with locals and a sprinkling of tourists and students.
Best Eatery: Oh my where do I begin. I’ll just name a few but email if you need more. There are more, many more that I could recommend but here are some strong contenders. For Breakfast: You must visit Dolci e Dolcezze for a cream-filled croissant or their flourless chocolate cake - nothing is like it. For Lunch: Pizza at Pizzaiolo in Sant' Ambrogio – the tiramisu is my favorite in the city. For Dinner: 4 Leoni – This restaurant has the most incredible, real cheesecake you will ever have in your life. And that is a promise. Also, their homemade pasta stuffed with pear and asparagus is dreamy. For Gelato: Vivoli – a long time favorite.
Don’t Miss: Sunset at Piazzale Michelangelo - you can view the entire city from here. Also visit the Farmers Market in Sant’ Ambrosia Piazza (square) for a stroll around fresh fruits, mozzarella, veggies and pastries.
Hidden Gem: Semel. Literally a hole-in–the-wall, no bigger than a large closet, and self proclaimed, ‘best panino in the world’ panino shop - and that is a fact. Everyday the humble menu changes offering up original panini like polenta with octopus and potatoes or a vegetarian with honey, pecorino and light veggies. But when you go, be sure to also get the $1 wine and ‘dolce panino’ made of dark chocolate and orange marmalade. Heaven.
I hope you guys love this section as much as I do! If you want more details of Florence I'd be happy to send more your way, just shoot me an email :)
HOW TO JOIN:
I would love to feature one of your favorite places you've visited or the city you live in - I'm always looking for new inspiration too :) All you have to do is send me (via email on my contact page) 3-5 high-quality pictures of the destination you'd like to share, answers to these same questions and thats it!
Can't wait to share more destination inspiration with fun tips with you guys every Wednesday!