Monday, 24 March 2014

My most special town: Florence

Last Saturday, an almost summer day in the mid-March, we took a little trip to Florence, to see friends and spend some time in our most special town! Florence is a very important place to us! It is where we met, we fell in love, and afterwards got married (well, in fact we got married in Toscany but Florence is Toscany afterall!). 

I have been there countless times, yet everytime I visit Florence, I get dazzled by its beauty. It is such a magical city! I have always the feeling to travel in time, while strolling through its streets and alleys, I expect to come upon Buonarotti, Boticelli, and Da Vinci or that Roberto Benigni would pop up around the corner on his bicycle..

Besides Ponte Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria e la piazza della Reppublica, which are the star attractions, there are so many hidden corners in Florence, challenging the visitor to be explored! .. Every time I wander around its lanes, I stumble on something new! An unknown osteria, an interesting gallery, a local bar, a delicious gelateria or special store windows of contemporary art or unusual clothes that intrigue me.

If you see Florence from above, It seems like a puzzle composed of thousands of pieces. There are several places to admire that spectacular view: climb up the stairs of the Duomo on the top of the cupola, walk up the hills until Piazza Michelangelo or even head to Fiesole, these are the top-notch spots for a breathtaking panorama!

Here are my top picks, along with those of my good friend Maya who shares her experience as an expat (well, she is almost a local already :) in the city:

All the highlights of course reported on all tourist guides:  such as Duomo & Campanile, Galleria degli Uffici, Santa Croce, Palazzo Pitti, Palazzo Vecchio, Galleria dell' Academia...

1. Don't miss the local markets that are abundant in Florence. Apart from the most famous markets of the Mercato Nuovo (don't miss to rub the Porcelino's snout for good luck!) and the San Lorenzo Market, check when and where on the web (or here). 

Track down artisans with this app

2. Get tickets for a concert or an italian opera (especially during the summer time there are a lot of events, see here for tickets)

3. Visit off beaten museums: Museo della Specola (the oldest scientific european museum), where among others, welcomes a precious collection of gems, jewels and crystals, Bargello, Stibbert Museum 

3 Go for a picnic! The gardens are among the city’s finest gems: Orto Botanico, Giardino Torrigiani, Giardino di Boboli (during the summer, don't miss an Italian Opera there!), Giardino BardiniGiardino delle Rose,.. 

4. Do not miss the aperitivo! It is similar to happy hour; most of the bars offer a drink with a wide buffet of finger food for few euros! You will feel the italian way of socializing! (from 7-9pm)  
A very nice place for it is thCaffetteria della Biblioteca dell Oblate with a marvelous look at Brunelleschi's dome and the campanile, Moyo (my fav) or others here. Try the Caffetteria della Rinascente in piazza Repubblica (I am not sure that they give aperitivo), at the last floor, you can get your cappuccino or your Negroni while savouring a spectacular view over the city...

5. Even if you are not a big fan of meat, you should absolutely try the bistecca fiorentina (Tuscan steak) while on Florence! Try this one or this or this
Not the best for fiorentina, but surely a unique place, is the Restaurant- Museum Alle murate, where you can eat under the lunettes hanged on the splendid frescos among those Dante, Petrarca and Boccaccio figures. The food is refined, and the prices are consequently higher than the usual tratorie. 

6. Shopping is a must while in Italy. Close to Florence there are plenty of designer outlets, which you can reach by car or with buses. My favourite is the Mall (Burberry, Prada, YSL, Valentino, Armani and more... Check it out!

More Florence reviews from expats who live there you can find here, here, here

What about you? Do you have any hotlist for Florence? Do you have a most special city, and where is that? 


  1. Ευχαριστουμε για την ξεναγηση! Στη Φλωρεντια ειχαμε παει 5ημερη στην Γ λυκειου κ νομιζω δεν την ειχα εκτιμησει οπως επρεπε, γιατι ειχαμε αλλα στο μυαλο μας τοτε (χαχαχα). Θυμαμαι φοιτητρια ειχα πει στην καθηγητρια ιταλικων μου οτι δε μου ειχε αρεσει η Φλωρεντια κ επαθε σοκ! Πρεπει να την επισκεφθουμε ξανα κ ως ενηλικες πλεον!
    Καλη βδομαδα!

  2. Oh friend!! This just sounds so amazing! I will be pinning your post in hopes that one day when I do go I will be able to refer to this post for advice and suggestions! Just amazing! What a city to fall in love in! A wonderful week to you! Nicole xo

  3. Γεωργία μου, πόσο χάρηκα την ανάρτηση σου και τις υπέροχες φωτογραφίες σου!
    Έχω πάει και την θεωρώ ολόκληρη ένα μουσείο!
    Να ζήσετε και να είστε πάντα ευτυχισμένοι!

  4. ισως σου έχω ξαναπει ότι αγαπώ οτιδήποτε Ιταλικό..Η Φλωρεντία είναι από τις αγαπημενες μου πόλεις, έχω κ φίλους που ζουν εκεί κι επίσης οι γονείς μου πέρασαν εκεί το 1ο τους χρόνο ως φοιτητες..
    Απολαυστικό ποστ!!!

  5. What a dream! Would LOVE to visit one day.

  6. Πόσο θέλω να ταξιδέψω σε αυτές τις περιοχές! Φλωρεντία, Σιέννα, Τοσκάνη! Είσαι πολύ τυχερή που έχεις πάει και πολύ όμορφες οι φωτό σου!

  7. Georgia, thank so you so much for sharing this and stopping by my blog :) We have never been to Europe, but Italy is definitely on our bucket list along with Greece. Great tips so I will keep this in mind for when we go.

  8. It's a year and a half since I've been to Florence and I have great memories of it. I definitely haven't seen everything there is to see and I need to go back one day.

  9. its such a dream ... I love it !! xx

  10. Ah wow, Florence looks like a dream, the beautiful architecture and stunning gardens, Id love to visit! I appreciate your kind visit

  11. Con Firenze è stato un colpo di fulmine! E per quel poco che ho visto, amo tutta la Toscana! E' una regione meravigliosa, ricca di arte, cultura e bellissimi paesaggi.
    Oriana xx

  12. Going to Florence is one of my dreams, I really have to go!
    Mafalda ❤

  13. I just found out about FirenzeCard, a 72hours-validity ticket to many of city' museums and all the public transport! Could be a good idea for those who come here for a week-end

  14. Oh, how could I forget the Florentine T-bone steak!
    By chance I was at one of the places you've named here, at Mario's near the Central Market. Actually, I didn't hear about it before, my friend brought me there for her "laurea celebrating". I didn't eat bistecca but a roastbeef and it was fare, but not excellent. Still it's an interesting place and is situated in center. It's closed in the evening, they serve only lunch.
    We often eat bistecca in a trattoria Angiolino near our home

    1. where they have an excellent Chianti wine to match bistecca named"The King of Meats"
      And they say that at Brindellone bistecca is awesome but there is never a spare place, you must reserve it in time

  15. And pizza is sooo delicious at 'O Munaciello (open only in the evening) and in a take away at Via de Serragli n.100 red

    And thank you for your visit, Georgia, it was so nice!

  16. Θα θελα παρα πολύ να την επισκεφτώ κάποια στιγμή!

  17. Oh how romantic! I'v never been there, but after seeing these beautiful pics I'm def gonna go this summer since it's so close :) Thanks for sharing hun!

    XO from Malta,

  18. Auguri, e complimenti per il blog post. Firenze è la mia città preferita in Italia! Grazie di esser passata dal mio blog :)

    E da Helsinki, Finlandia

  19. Love,love,love your post!
    Just remind me how much I want to visit Florence!