From all the places I have visited in Italy, Florence is my second favorite, with the first being Venice.
I stayed in Florence for a week, and it was amazing. Unfortunately, my stay here started out rough as I got really sick, but ended on a good note. Even with spending a few days mainly in bed, I got to see plenty of what Florence has to offer. Florence offered me the best lasagna in Italy, my favorite hotels, and so much medieval beauty that it felt like a dream.
Where To Stay In Florence
Riva lofts – Modern meets rustic Florence just 10 minutes away from the city center. These loft-style rooms are sure to impress you. The first day here I only left once to the market, bought groceries, and cooked pasta in the room’s kitchenette. The rooms are minimalist yet cozy with exposed wooden beams. The property also has a lounge area where guests have breakfast in the mornings and can grab coffee/tea throughout the day. There is also a beautiful outdoor pool, perfect to be enjoyed in summertime.
Villa Tolomei – this hotel is more of a retreat. It is located on the hills overlooking all of Florence. The views you get over the city are amazing! The hotel itself is beautiful featuring lush green grounds, a pool with a view, a delicious restaurant, and spacious rooms. I loved my stay here, and hardly left the hotel. If you do stay here just keep in mind that it is further from the center so you might need a car if you’re not comfortable with walking up hills.
Monna Lisa Hotel – this hotel is in the historic center of Florence, so the location can’t be beat! It has an old charm to it, it’s spacious, and has comfortable rooms although they could use some slight updating. Breakfast is offered every morning which is a plus, yet there weren’t many healthy options so just keep that in mind. The staff is friendly and helpful making you feel at home.
Places To Visit In Florence
Boboli Gardens – My favorite gardens in Florence. Come here for a relaxing day exploring this beautiful place. Here you will find statues and amazing views of Florence.
Plaza Della Republica– a square in the center of Florence lined with streets full of designer shopping, and ristorantes. You can also find some other retailers like Zara here.
Santa Maria Del Fiore (Florence cathedral) – This is THE spot in Florence. Santa Maria Del Fiore is a medieval cathedral, and it’s insta-famous because of it’s gorgeous detailed architecture, and its red dome. This cathedral is the most impressive I have seen to date and looks almost like a cartoon painting.
Palazzo Vecchio – A medieval palace nearby the cathedral. It’s surrounded by a plaza with many amazing statues, fountains, and museums. You can also get a great view of Florence by climbing up to the top.
San Lorenzo Market – Your place to buy Italian leather. This market has a great variety of vendors offering anything from belts, purses, and jackets. It helps if you know a little something about leather, otherwise you run the risk of buying a pleather item (but hey, our planet might thank you).
Places To Eat In Florence
Il Coventino a Marignolle – This restaurant is located inside Villa Tolomei, one of the hotels I stayed at in Florence. It is a fine dining restaurant serving a delicious variety of Italian dishes. Everything is great, but my favorites were the pastas. Try their lobster spaghetti and ravioli – they are to die for! They also make their own wine, olive oil, and bread. I wanted to take a bottle of each home with me along with a huge basket of bread, but instead I just ate all of it during dinner. This restaurant is worth a trip up the hill even if you’re not a guest at the hotel. It also has an incredible view of Florence.
News Cafe – Come here for a great cappuccino, and ask for a duomo on top. This cafe is famous for its latte art as it features drawings of different landmarks in Florence – like the cathedral. Your coffee is not only pretty, it’s also delicious.
Venchi – located in the heart of the historic center of Florence. This is the best place to satisfy your sweet tooth. The place smells like heaven, and seems to always have a line out the door. Get a delicious gelato and maybe a crepe, oh and hot chocolate. Just get it all and love it!
Le Campane – a ristorante and pizzeria located in the center of Florence. It offers a variety of delicious pizzas and fresh pasta specialties. Try their calzones too!
Trattoria Antellesi – I stumbled upon this place after visiting the mercato centrale. It is only a few minutes walk from there and they have excellent pasta. I came here for lunch (they have great lunch specials), and tried the lasagna a la bolognese. It is the absolute best I have tried in Italy! The carbonara looked pretty delicious too. Many of the other guests were eating it, so if you’re a fan, definitely give it a go.
Also try Cinghiale – a local Tuscan dish served at most restaurants in Florence.