During my two months studying abroad in Florence, Italy, I’ve grown a deep love and respect for the city of Florence and Italian culture. I’ve eaten far too much gelato and slept far too little, but in the process, I’ve learned a thing or two about this city. Here are my Florence Favorites:
Located north of the Duomo, this small shop features fresh, rich, and unique flavors such as black sesame, mint and basil, and rose. They offer a variety of sizes at great prices. Just make sure to bring some euros, as they only accept cash.
Although I’d usually recommend avoiding gelato shops right next to the Duomo, this is an exception. Eduardo features classic artisanal gelato with a twist. They feature many amazing flavor combinations such as ricotta and brownie and hazelnut and salted caramel. They also feature some amazing vegan options and homemade cones!
Located in the center of town, this gelato shop offers your classic Italian gelato. With rich family history and even richer cream, Vivoli is a local favorite. On certain days, it even features a small market outside.
Il Rifrullo is located on the other side of the river and just down the hill from Piazza Michelangelo. This restaurant and bar is an Italian favorite. Make sure to arrive a little earlier than the Italian norm in order to find a spot! Il Rifrullo serves a classic Italian aperitivo and drinks on a beautiful terrace accompanied by live music.
This restaurant and bar is a bit north of the center of town and features one of the widest selection of aperitivo options in Florence. With its dimly lit interior, you’ll feel like a true Florentine while trying many different Italian specialties.
Located in the heart of town, Soul Kitchen features fresh food from a variety of cuisines. Along with classic Italian bread and pasta, they experiment with a variety of flavors to create a fun experience every time you dine.
Although Florence is the heart of the early Renaissance, it’s also the heart of current fashion brands. Gucci Gardens features rotating exhibits and artwork done by local artists which changes every couple of months. Unlike a typical Gucci store, the boutique, which accompanies the museum, features items for all price points to include all present and future customers. Book a tour for an in-depth experience that exposes the authenticity and progressive nature of the brand.
Churches and Plazas
Many churches and monasteries throughout Italy are free and contain amazing art done by the masters. As the Renaissance coincided with the peak of the Roman Catholic Church, churches are often filled with amazing artwork by local and national artists. A few of my favorites include Chiesa di San Salvatore in Ognissanti, Santa Apollonia and San Miniato al Monte.
Located on the far side of the Duomo, this plaza is a classic Florentine spot. Although it can get crowded at times, the sunset view of the city is always worth it. Grab a panini and a bottle of wine and settle on the stairs for a beautiful night.
Florence is home to an inexpensive bike rental service called Mobike. For just 1€ for every 20 minutes, you can speed past the crowds and across Florence. This is a cheap and fast way to explore the city.
My favorite time in Florence is early in the mornings. If you’re able to pry yourself out of bed around 6, you’ll have the city practically to yourself. Enjoy Ponte Vecchio, the Duomo and Piazza Michelangelo all to yourself! This simple and cheap trick will allow for a calmer and more intimate experience in Florence.
One of my favorite things to do is to find a quiet spot by the river and have a picnic. My friends and I have spent many nights munching to music over the Arno and painting on the riverbank. Simply putting in a little more time to find a nice spot is the key to a beautiful night.
I hope you’ll find these tips for Florence helpful and enjoy the city as much as I have!
Sofia Filip is a CEA Summer Content Contributor studying abroad in Florence, Italy. She is currently a student at the University of Utah.
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