48 Hours in Florence: What to See and Where to Eat
Full of history, tradition, art and culture, but also good food and warmth – both meteorological and human. Florence is only one thing: a dream. I was there for the long weekend recently and I put together these notes for a truly memorable trip. Here’s what to see and where to eat in the town of Ponte Vecchio, Michelangelo and the Medici! Oh, and a tip: for everything I’ll be telling you about, whether a monument, a museum or a restaurant, do not forget to book: Florence is relatively small and constantly full of tourists… don’t be caught unprepared!
WHAT TO VISIT
THE BREATHTAKING VIEW FROM PIAZZALE MICHELANGELO. You absolutely can’t miss the lovely view from Piazzale Michelangelo. From the historic center, cross the Arno on one of the bridges and climb up. The view will be one of the most indelible memories you’ll take home. And while you’re there, go visit the Basilica of San Miniato al Monte and the adjacent Rose Garden. Romanticism in its purest form.
VISITING THE CHURCHES. In Florence, there is a myriad of basilicas and cathedrals to visit. If you enjoy this kind of tour, start with the Duomo – as beautiful as it is imposing – with its Giotto bell tower will offer another unparalleled view. Continue your “spiritual” tour, visiting the Basilica di Santa Croce and Santa Maria Novella, with their wonderful cloisters: you’ll be amazed!
A WALK IN THE SANTO SPIRITO AREA. One of the most characteristic and “young” neighbourhoods is Santo Spirito: taking a walk in the streets is always a pleasure, without mentioning how relaxing it can be to enjoy the square packed with bars and nice restaurants. It’ll always feel like Sunday!
THE GARDENS OF BOBOLI AND PALAZZO PITTI (AND ALL THE OTHER MUSEUMS). One of the cultural places I preferred are the Boboli Gardens, giant and green, enclosed in the Palazzo Pitti. Buy a ticket, which will give you access to the Palatine Gallery, a gallery crammed with works of art by Caravaggio, Raffaello and Rubens, just to name a few, exposed within sumptuous and frescoed rooms as it rarely happens. Are you a lover of art? It might seem obvious, but don’t forget to add a visit to the Uffizi and the Accademia Gallery to your list!
THE SHOPPING THROUGH THE WONDERS OF DOWNTOWN. Piazza della Signoria, Brunelleschi’s Dome and the Ponte Vecchio are just some of the wonders that live in the historic center of Florence. Allow yourself to be transported through the streets of downtown and take the opportunity to do some shopping. Some of my favourite store includeRichard Ginori, Nadine Boutique, Gerard and Il Papiro to buy wonderful cards!
WHERE TO EAT
MERCATO CENTRALE. If you love the city markets and especially street food, don’t miss a trip to the Central Market, perhaps even at lunchtime. Having recently undergone renovations on the first floor, it is now more commercial and less traditional but still the Florentine institution it has always been. The advice is to wander through the counters on the ground floor, where you can make stock up on wine, local cheese and salami, with the lamprey and various other delicacies to take away or eat right there. Prices not cheap, but in line with Florence.
TRATTORIA MARIO. If you want to sit right next to the Central Market, in Via Rosina, there is this restaurant where the wait can take up to a few hours. I recommend you get there at 11 (or earlier if you can) and leave your name, then come back at the right time. The place is literally packed but not without a reason: the menu proposes traditional Tuscan dishes, just like your grandma would make them. Ribollita, bean soup, beef peposo, mixed boiled meats and the classic Fiorentina. The price is about 25 euros a person, “authentic” experience included.
LA MÈNAGÈRE. If you’re a little hipster and enjoy hotspots, La Mènagère is the place for you. A former home design shop transformed into a stylish restaurant, this place in the heart of downtown has a bar and restaurant and a corner dedicated to flowers. Preferable for breakfast or for a snack, you can even enjoy Italian dishes. Stop by even just for an Instagram worthy picture!
FISHING LAB ALLE MURATE. If after a few days you’re (understandably) tired of meat, try out the fish at Fishing Lab Alle Murate, a recently inaugurated restaurant that I’d love to have in Milan also. Raw offerings, crustacean soups, fish burgers, fried seafood and a variety of deserts one would expect to find in Sicily or in Romagna. Yet we’re in the heart of Florence: don’t miss it!
DIM SUM. If you love Oriental cuisine (like me!), anywhere you find yourself you’d be happy enjoying a dinner of dumplings and noodles at Dim Sum, a great Oriental outpost in downtown Florence. Sit back and enjoy the delicacies and the staff spreading the dough right in front of your eyes!
‘INO and ALL’ANTICO VINAIO PER I PANINI. The specialty of Florence appears to be the sandwiches, stuffed with delicious salami of the territory. My favourite places to enjoy one were ‘Ino and All’Antico Vinaio. The latter will be easily recognizable by the distinct lineup at any time of day or night. But the wait is worth it: don’t miss the “La Deliziosa”, a true bomb made of pecorino, spicy eggplant and sbriciolona, an even more gorgeous variant of finocchiona. Buon appetito!
Other restaurants I heard good things about but didn’t have time to try because I would have needed a month, but I trust your suggestions:
* BRACIERE MALATESTA
* ANTICA TRATTORIA DA TITO
* PANINI TOSCANI
* CACIO VINO TRALLALÀ
* BUCA DELL’ORAFO
* IL MAGAZZINO
* TRATTORIA LA CASALINGA
* ALL’ANTICO RISTORO DI CAMBI
* LA BEPPA FIOAIA
* DA GHERARDO OR BERBERÈ (for pizza)
* LA GIOSTRA (I went here for dinner, the atmosphere is delicious but no comment on the price)
* CIBRÈO (I tried the bar for a spritz, truly characteristic)
* DITTA ARTIGIANALE (Had coffee here, it’s cute but nothing more)
Find all the pictures and geolocations of my Florentine places on social networks, with the hashtag #ConoscoUnPostoinFlorence
What is your favourite place in Florence? Comment here below or on social media using the hashtag #APlaceinMilan!
Read the original article on Conosco un Posto. This English version was translated by Kelsey Rivett.