A few weeks ago, Michelle, Jillian and I headed to Florence. My mom and I spent three days in Firenze last year and I loved the city – I was so excited to head back!
We took the train down early Sunday, which was easy and efficient. We walked from the train station to our apartment, right by the Uffizi . . . and were met by hoards of people. There were quite a few tourists when we were there in May, but it wasn’t horrible. In July, you can hardly walk because of the crowds. And, surprise, it was hot. We were very (very, very, very) happy for the AC in our apartment.
We essentially ate our way through the city. Our first stop was Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco, a restaurant my mom and I discovered last year that was one of our favorites of our trip. And it didn’t disappoint!
Meal: Pappardelle with wild board sauce
We then walked around the city, taking in the beautiful Duomo and enjoying a beer in its shadows.
Another thing my mom and I didn’t have a chance to see was the Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, one of the oldest pharmacies in the world. We set off to find it and Google Maps took us to the pharmacy in the Santa Maria Novella train station. We walked inside and I was incredibly confused as the pictures I saw online were an ornate, old, beautiful building. This was your run-of-the-mill Italian pharmacy. Which to be fair, pharmacies in Europe are much nicer than the US. But another quick Google search indicated we needed to go around the corner and based on the door alone, we realized we were in the right spot.
It was really cool! They sell incredibly expensive perfumes, but the building is simply gorgeous and you feel like you’ve walked into a department store from the 1890s.
Next up was walking up to Piazzale Michelangelo to watch the sunset, something my mom and I didn’t have a chance to do during our trip. It was so beautiful, and we proceeded to have an extensive photo shoot of the scenery and ourselves, thanks to Michelle’s new selfie stick. I’ve selected a small sampling of pictures to spare you from the massive amounts we took.
Dinner was at Acqua Al 2, one of Jillian’s favorite restaurants from study abroad.
Meal: Balsamic steak with mashed potatoes
We finished off the night with another walk around the Duomo to admire the massive church at night.
Monday, we woke up early to beat the heat and head to the Boboli Gardens. We semi-succeeded with the gardens, but definitely failed with the heat. We sweated our way through the gardens, which offered a gorgeous view of Florence and the Tuscan hills, but none of the flowers were in bloom.
We made our way to the adjoining gardens, Giardino Bardini, which neither Jillian nor I had heard about before. For good reason. There wasn’t really anything there, except a beautiful view of the city. So we took refuge in the shade and enjoyed a coffee.
On our walk to lunch, we went through the Santo Spirito neighborhood, where my mom and I stayed last year.
Our cute apartment from last year with the best hosts.
And then we were off to Salumeria Verdi/Pino’s Panini, Jillian’s favorite lunch spot from study abroad. Pino remembered her and was so friendly – made me excited for the wine tasting we signed up for with him Tuesday night (more on that tomorrow). The panini was incredible, although I was too busy eating to snap a pic.
Since it was Monday, it was time to start the workday. We tried working from Eataly, but couldn’t connect to the Internet. We then tried a café, and still couldn’t connect to the Internet. Hyped up on two espressos, we headed back to the apartment, where the only place to actually get a signal was the corner of the bedroom. So all three of us set-up shop and worked from this lovely set-up.
I have one complaint about Italy – their wireless. You can’t get strong Internet anywhere! Cafés? Forget about it. Apartments? Sometimes. The co-working space? Most of the time, but still spotty. Croatia definitely beats Italy on this front.
We had dinner reservations at Zeb, a restaurant that came recommended by one of Jillian’s friends as well as TripAdvisor. We walked in and it was sterile, quiet and uber-modern; not exactly what we were looking for. After ordering some water (we had to replace the liquids we lost from all the sweating!) we decided we didn’t really want to eat there. So Jillian walked out and Michelle and I tried to explain that our friend was “sick” while slapping a 2 euro coin down. The waiters were none-too-pleased and the entire restaurant and wait staff stared us down as we did a walk-of-shame out of there.
But the awkward exit was totally worth it; we ended up at Francesco Vini, a place recommended by a friend of Jillian’s who informed us that Fabio worked there and if we asked, he would show us their wine cellar. Along with delicious food, Fabio hooked us up and we got the grand tour!
Meal: pici pasta and Vernaccia wine
At dinner, we decided to book a bike tour through Florence for Tuesday morning. I’ll post separately about that as well, but suffice it to say it was an interesting experience.
Lunch on Tuesday was at Gusta Pizza, a place both Jillian and I enjoyed on our previous trips to Florence. What I didn’t know was that they’d make your pizza in the shape of a heart if you asked! Still one of the best pizzas in Italy.
Meal: mozzarella, tomatoes, arugula and parmesan cheese pizza and the world’s best crust
Wednesday consisted of a trip to the San Lorenzo Leather Market to purchase a tote bag, coffee overlooking the Duomo…
and one final meal at All’Antico Vinaio – a panini place recommended by multiple people that happened to be across the street from our apartment.
Meal: panini with freshly sliced prosciutto, stracchino cheese and arugula
What I’ve failed to mention above about our food tour through Florence was the gelato. There was a lot of it. All delicious. And I felt guilty about none of it. Florence definitely treated us well.