Every time I travel and come back, people ask me if I get lonely traveling alone. NO. When you are visiting a place for the first time, a place you have never been to, food you have never tasted, people you haven’t met and views to cease – how can you get bored or lonely?
I booked my Florentian trip just 2 weeks after returning from my magical holiday in Venice. Some may say I have gone mad, but I hope to inspire the other half of the world and yes, I have gone a bit madly in love with Italy! I spent 3 full days in Florence and made a quick trip to Cinque Terre that was just spectacular, even in winter and under gray sky. If you are planning a trip to Italy, a short getaway or Italian trip, love music, art, amazing pizza and views, keep reading…
Florence in winter
Yes, it’s possible and you get to experience a wonderful Christmas market! I traveled at the end of November for a long weekend, Wed. to Monday. The first two days were absolutely freezing, but I discovered the Christmas market in Santa Croce piazza, right in front of the spectacular Santa Croce basilica in white. Small, but charming, the holiday market is a great idea for a night out in Florence. warm cider and wine, Pretzel and Christmas souvenirs are only a few of the things sold in the decorated stands. I went back twice to the market, about 20 minutes’ walk from my amazing hostel, Gallo D’Oro.
Museums and art
I definitely enjoy more street art, live music and even graffiti. Florence is really impressive and I can honestly say that on the first day, when I got to Florence Cathedral, I just stood there, in awe, unable to take my eyes off the spectacular architecture. With golden embellishments and carved in stone and marble decorations, the cathedral, opera house, clock tower and Duomo are remarkable. I highly recommend visiting both in the evening and early morning to enjoy the view at night time and day, and it’s also less crowded at these hours, so you will have it all to yourself for some amazing shots.
I also recommend booking your visit and tickets to the clock tower and cathedral, to climb all the way up, 400+stairs for some epic views of Florence and amazing art work on the ceiling.
Epic views of Firenze
Whether you are in the Uffizi Gallery, Pitti Palace or Duomo, the views are absolutely beautiful and there are great views of the city in every each of these landmarks. For a free and romantic view, visit piazzale Michelangelo, on the other side of the river and on the way enjoy Vecchio bridge.
As to museums and galleries, I personally prefer walking around the city and explore its streets, where life is really happening. However, I always choose to visit at least 1-2 museums for art & history and I simply loved Uffizi and Pitti palace with Boboli gardens. Painted the ceilings to the floor with biblical stories and Renaissance’s classical paintings on the walls, I was reborn as Venus in my appreciation of art and museums. Dedicating a full day or 2 to these landmarks is a must if you are visiting Florence for the first time.
Italian Food – mi amore
All stories are true- Italian food is simply divine! I can honestly say and proudly admit that I can and always finish a complete Italian pizza. Gusta pizza in Florence is my absolute favorite so far. I chose Gusta’s classic and can still taste it. Gusta pizza is right across from the Pitti palace.
If you are in the center and have some time to kill before your visit to the cathedral, Panini Tuscany will be my choice. This culinary gem is a bit hidden so it might take you a while to find it among the boutiques and cafes, but once you get in a treat awaits. four different tastings of meat, cheese and bread, before you choose the combo of your choice.
Another great and cheap eat option is Self Service, with a great view of the cathedral and an amazing selection of dishes. Their Lasagna is divine, and went great with my tomato toast and personal wine bottle – all for 10 Euros!
For great coffee and amazing cheese cake, visit La Menagere, a cute floral cefe with great atmosphere and music.
Those Florence nights…
twinkling lights, live Italian music, chili and sky full of stars, those romantic nights…just walking down the streets, following the music to discover a sexy Italian man singing “I can’t help falling in love…” or Italian classic, or Jazz, and looking around, realizing you are happy. Simple bliss, and so little is needed to bring joyful tears to my eyes, but that’s just me.
I spent 5 days overall in Italy this time with a budget of 300 Euros for food, museums, train tickets to Cinque Terre and souvenirs. A meal is about 10 Euros, including a drink.
Hostel Gallo D’Oro is superb and just 20 minutes from the city center with great breakfast and dinner. I stayed in a dorm for 20 Euros a night.
Florence is super safe and I didn’t worry for a second and felt completely comfortable walking around in the evenings as a tourist and woman.
Getting around to and from the airport
A shuttle bus from the airport to the city main station Santa Novella, is 7 eoros and a taxi is 22 euros. From Santa Novella.
Travel always & enjoy Florence!