8 Things to See, Do & Eat in Florence
A beautiful, old city in the Tuscan region of Italy, Florence has the churches, cuisine, nightlife and Renaissance charm to make you fall in love with the city's culture. A first time visit to Florence isn't complete without seeing, doing & eating the following things.
1. Visit the Duomo & Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
I loved seeing the intricate and colorful Duomo peeping in between Firenze's alleyways and right up close. It's one of the most beautiful pieces of architecture I've ever seen in Europe. Make sure to book a reservation in advance to enter the Duomo and Giotto's Bell Tower for the perfect view of it. Also remember to dress appropriately to enter the cathedral or they will stop you. Not what you want to have happen after waiting in line!
2. Cross the Arno River
Florence has a few bridges with unreal reflections that connect Florence and Oltrarno, the neighborhood across the Arno River. These bridges are the perfect place to stroll or enjoy a panini any time of day. The most famous of which is the Ponte Vecchio for its bright colors and jewelry shops. For a view of the Ponte Vecchio, be sure to cross Ponte Santa Trinita.
3. Get a glass of Chianti & people watch at Piazza della Repubblica
You're in Tuscany so why not enjoy a glass of Chianti and relax in one of Florence's prettiest squares?
4. See David
Sculpted by Michelangelo in the early 1500s, David is an enormous statue at Florence's Galleria dell'Accademia and was a must-see for me, even though I'm not a huge fan of Renaissance art. I was in awe of the talent and skill it took to make this. Definitely reserve your tickets in advance so you don't wait for hours in line and can walk right in.
5. Wander around the Boboli Gardens
With a view of Florence's terracotta roofs and rows of trees that beautifully meet in the middle, it's a lovely place to stroll and bring a picnic.
6. Watch the sunset from Piazzale Michelangelo
Piazzale Michelangelo is across the Arno River and a light hike away. It's the perfect ambiance to enjoy a bottle of wine and watch the sunset over the city. I felt like Florence was visually one of the oldest looking cities I've been to. That's not to say that it wasn't beautiful, it just has its own vibes and charm. It made the USA seem like such a baby of a country! In my opinion, Florence is prettiest from above so this place is not to miss!
7. Get rooftop drinks at the Westin Excelsior
Easily my favorite view of the entire city, the views of the Ponte Vecchio and Arno River from this hotel's rooftop just can't be beat, and you don't have to be a hotel guest to enjoy them.
8. Indulge yourself
Gustapizza (so good we went twice), Il Mercato Centrale for all your Italian cravings (make sure you know what's in your raviolis before you order them or else you'll eat beef stomach like I did, ha!), All'Antico Vinaio for paninis, gelato everywhere you can find it & Florentine Steak which is tender like filet mignon but much bigger.... soo delish!