The Tuscan city of Florence is full of romance and history. No other city in Italy has as many buildings from the renaissance as Florence does. The highlight is the impressive ‘Duomo’. But don’t forget the well-known Uffizi museum, which houses the world’s largest art collection. Or Galeria dell’Acedemia, where you can admire Michelangelo’s famous David. But Florence is more than just art and culture; you can also enjoy delicious Italian cuisine here. In short, Florence is the perfect city trip destination for lovers of art, culture and the good Italian life! To enjoy this to the fullest, I give you my eight favorites in Florence.
1. The most beautiful building in Florence
The Duomo is Florence’s most striking building. This solid, but beautiful building rises high above the city. When you first ‘run into it’ while visiting the city, you will gasp in amazement. Because this church is located right in the center of the city, it seems even larger and more impressive. Therefore, climbing the towers of the Duomo is, both literally and figuratively speaking, a highlight. If you book this online, you can avoid the long waiting lines and enter at the time booked. You can climb both the tower and the dome (Giotto’s bell tower). If you’re afraid of heights, limit yourself to a visit to the cathedral. But if you’re up for the challenge, then make the climb first, because you can already catch a glimpse of the cathedral’s insides during your climb up to the dome, so you can skip going there again afterwards.
Tip: visit the towers late in the afternoon, during ‘the golden hour’ for the best light. I climbed the tower in the bright morning sunlight, which meant, unfortunately, that I had to take photos with backlight.
2. The best Italian ice cream in Florence
You can find a gelateria selling delicious Italian ice cream on every street corner in Italy; the same goes for Florence. But try to avoid the ice cream parlors with lovely bright colors, because this is usually not a good sign. So how do you know which ice cream parlor is truly the best? Well, by testing of course! And I’ve already done that for you :). Given that even the pistachio ice cream at gelateria dei Neri tastes of real pistachios, I can safely say that this is where you can find the best ice cream in Florence. I tried nearly all of the flavors over the course of two weeks and even after all that testing I haven’t been able to point out a favorite, because they’re all so good! So I suggest you try them for yourself…
3. The most impressive museum in Florence
As mentioned earlier, the Uffizi museum (full name: Galleria degli Uffizi) houses the world’s largest art collection. And it’s not just any collection, but one with famous works by great masters of art history such as Botticelli, Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphaël and Michelangelo. And besides all of the famous works of art, the museum itself is also a gem, with beautiful frescos covering the entire ceiling of the museum’s top floor. Book your visit to Uffizi online too, to avoid standing in line.
4. The best sandwich in Florence
You’ll find long lines of people waiting in front of the small sandwich shop All’Antico Vinaio every day. If you want to taste the famous sandwich filled with the best Italian meats, truffle and other Italian delicacies, try going at an unconventional time (around 4 o’clock, for example), so you don’t have to stand in line for too long. Once you’ve got your sandwich, pour yourself a plastic cup of wine at the self-service bar and find a spot on the curb to enjoy your late lunch as well as the great atmosphere in the street.
5. The most delicious prosciutto in Florence
Diagonally across from the sandwich shop, you’ll find a really good Prosciutteria (La Prosciutteria). As in the previously mentioned shop, you can get delicious sandwiches here too, but what’s really a must is to order the wooden board of appetizers with a bottle of wine in the evening, and then eat it on the sidewalk while you people watch. You can easily count on spending a few hours doing this, because you can expect an abundance of Italian delicacies.
6. The best viewpoint (for a sunset) in Florence
Want to truly enjoy the best view across the city? Then visit Piazzale Michelangelo before sunset. Bring a bottle of wine and enjoy a gorgeous sunset over Florence and the Tuscan countryside, while you sit on the square’s steps together with other spectators. From here, you’ll be able to see the well-known ‘Ponte Vecchio’ bridge, the Uffizi museum, the Duomo and some of the city’s other beautiful buildings.
7. The best coffee in Florence
As if it weren’t already enough, Via dei Neri doesn’t just have the best sandwich shop, Gelateria and Prosciutteria, you can also drink the really good coffee here! At Ditta Artigianale, you can relax and enjoy a delicious brew in all shapes and sizes or get a take-away. If you feel like eating a (healthy) lunch, then this is also the place to be. You’ll also find a nice mix of locals and tourists here, unlike most other places.
8. The nicest shop in Florence
Concept store, cocktail bar, lunchroom, flower shop and restaurant; La Menagère is actually all of these things rolled into one. And that’s precisely what makes this such a cool ‘shop’. Things are not only cheap, but the food and cocktails are quite delicious, the wifi is fast and the surroundings are inspiring.
The ‘Urban garden’ hidden between two large shopping streets is also really nice. You can drink a cheap cocktail here while in a mini-oasis in the city and enjoy live music on a warm summer night.