Three Days in Florence, Italy

three days in florence, italy

Hi friends! As you know, Boyfriend – who has subsequently become Fiancé!! – and I visited Italy recently for a week long trip to celebrate a big birthday with his family. Naturally, we tacked a few days on to each end of the week for a little holiday time to ourselves – three days in Florence beforehand and three in Bologna on the way home. Now, my love for Florence is already well documented on the blog – here and here – but there is always something new and wonderful to discover in the Tuscan capital! Most recently, we spent our three days in the city trying out as many new eateries as possible. And by ‘new’, I mean new-to-us, because often the best restaurants are the oldest. You know, the ones filled with bickering locals, a never-changing menu, and perhaps a grandparent leading the way in the kitchen.

I could barely wait to start writing this guide and share everything we loved, so there’s heaps of information below – maybe too much. Where we stayed / had coffee / ate all the things / drank / and tourist-ed. If you’re looking for information on getting to and around Florence, this post here might help you. If you only take one recommendation away with you, please let it be the butter chicken from Sostanza – aka: the chicken of dreams!

Enjoy!

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where we stayed

Soggiorno Pitti // fantastic location and lovely owner/staff! This cozy little hotel literally sits facing the Pitti Palace – an unbeatable location in the heart of the Oltrarno! We stayed two nights, but due to a booking error on our side of things, ended up in two different rooms: first a double room in the attic, and then a double room with balcony. Although both were extremely good value for money, I’d avoid the attic room in the future – the ceiling was quite low and the room was a hotbox. Our balcony room was lovely and spacious, and it was quite a treat to have our own balcony in Florence. Added bonus: it’s extremely good value! Would recommend. Address: Piazza de’ Pitti, 8, 50125 Firenze

three days in florence, italy
three days in florence, italy

where we had coffee

Caffe Gilli // an old fave. Listen, if you’re in Florence at breakfast time, you just gotta go here. Stand at the bar – al banco – order a cappuccino, and eat the best sfoglia con crema in the city. Think: croissant dough folded into a pouch and stuffed with lusciously smooth crème pâtissière, the outside laden with enough sugar to rival the best kouign-amann, and baked until crispy perfection. Read about past visits here. A must-visit. Address: Via Roma, 1r, 50123 Firenze

three days in florence, italy
three days in florence, italy

where we ate

Okay yes – this is the largest piece of writing in this guide. Eating your way around a city is the best way to get to know it, and I will defy anyone who says otherwise. For ease, I’ve divided this section into four different categories: sandwiches, lunch, dinner, and gelato. If you’re up to the challenge, you could probably fit in one spot from each category for a truly epic day of eating! 😉

three days in florence, italy
three days in florence, italy

sandwiches

Ino // our favourite sandwich experience of the trip! We went for the ‘Ale’: lightly toasted focaccia with finocchiona, sliced pecorino, and a house-made rosso salsa toscana. Spoiler alert: it was super delicious! The bread was warm and pillowy, the finocchiona was more meaty and paste-y than your average salami slices, and Fiancé’s favourite aspect was actually the salsa! At a somewhat steep €10 per sandwich, we opted to share one to-go, and thank goodness we did because – although not as ridiculously large as the ones below – it was huge! We’ll definitely be returning! A must visit. Address: Via dei Georgofili, 3r/7r, 50122 Firenze

All’Antico Vinaio // the most famous sandwich shop in Florence. However, with that title comes a long, long queue, and a military style ordering system. Have you ever seen a sandwich shop with security guys to keep the queue in order? All’Antico Vinaio has several. I went for the ‘La Summer’ – mozzarella, basil, tomatoes, and proscuitto – and Fiancé went for the ‘Firenze’ – pecorino cream, sun dried tomatoes, and salami; his was better. Both were €7 and twice as large as the sandwich described above, almost comically so. We queued for 25-minutes in the 37°C heat, and while our sandwiches were really very good, I’m not sure I’d do it again. Address: Via Ricasoli, 121r, 50122 Firenze

three days in florence, italy
three days in florence, italy

lunch

5 e Cinque // a fantastic vegetarian restaurant! We stopped here for a big lunch one day, and honestly didn’t want the meal to end – it was sublime! To start, we shared the ‘Focaccia Col Formaggio alle Ligure’ and devoured it! Nothing like a traditional focaccia, it was more of a thin crispy pastry, stuffed with melted stracchino cheese. It was salty and cheesy and downright amazing! For mains, I went for risotto with saffron & parmesan, while Fiancé went for linguine with pesto from Pra’. It’s hard to describe how mouthwateringly delicious the mains were because they sound so simple, but it was anything but – especially the linguine! Including wine – I had a particularly nice Vernaccia – water, coffees + coperto, the whole thing came to €71.50. A must-visit. Address: Piazza della Passera, 1, 50125 Firenze

4 Leoni // we tried to stay away, but we’re weak! Like always, I went for the pear, taleggio, and asparagus pasta dish, while Fiancé branched out and tried the meatballs. My pasta was as amazing as ever, and the meatballs were a revelation – we’d definitely get them again! Sadly, however, the cheesecake standard has dropped slightly; the base was definitely different, but the actual cheesecake filling was still melt-in-your-mouth perfection. Read more about our love of 4 Leoni here. Address: Via dei Vellutini, 1r, 50125 Firenze

three days in florence, italy
three days in florence, italy

dinner

Trattoria Sostanza // two words: butter! chicken! Chicken breasts, skin on, fried in butter until browned and crispy all over, served straight from the pan with a generous squeeze of lemon. So, so insanely good – easily the best chicken we’ve ever eaten at a restaurant! We had a portion each (obvi), and shared sides of fresh beans in EVOO and chicory salad. We love a good fagioli as much as the next person, but the chicory salad stole the side-show! It was drenched in olive oil and seasoned justtt right – the perfect accompaniment to the buttery chicken! We also had a litre of house wine – red, only – and a bottle of frizzante; all of which, including coperto, came to €90. Not bad! Pro tip: apparently the bistecca fiorentina is also great here, but we couldn’t resist the chicken; next time! A must-visit. Address: Via del Porcellana, 25/R, 50123 Firenze

Trattoria La Casalinga // a lovely traditional trattoria! Fiancé & I both opted for crostini to start – bruschetta for me, fagioli for him; both were good, but mine was better. We shared a bistecca fiorentina for mains, with a side of roast potatoes. It was everything I dreamed it would be and more: charred and salty on the outside, pink and perfectly tender on the inside. Di! Vine! The roasties were equally delicious – I actually stole a couple off Fiancé’s plate when he wasn’t looking. We were with the larger family group when we ate here so I’m not exactly sure what the cost of our meal alone was, but I think it would’ve been around €75, all in. Extremely good value! Would recommend. Address: Via dei Michelozzi, 9/R, 50125 Firenze

three days in florence, italy
three days in florence, italy
three days in florence, italy

gelato

Sbrino // home to the best pistachio gelato I’ve ever had! Now, I’ve eaten a LOT of pistachio gelato in my time, so that’s a pretty big statement! It’s perfectly salty and nutty and so addictively moreish! I opted for a cone – €3 for a small – and it was honestly a life-changing gelato eating moment. I’d also like to shout-out to the nocciola and chocolate + peanut, both of which were also delightful. Added bonus: located conveniently close to the red retro photo-booth, below! A must visit. Address: Via dei Serragli, 32r, 50124 Firenze

Gelateria dei Neri // a really very good second place to Sbrino! I went for a small €2.50 cup with nocciola and pistachio – I’m a creature of habit! – and they were both excellent! Not as salty as the above, but still very creamy and delicious. Added bonus: conveniently close to All’Antico Vinaio, above. Stop by for a gelato dessert after your epic sandwich – that’s what I did! Would recommend. Address: Via dei Neri, 9/11R, 50122 Firenze

three days in florence, italy
three days in florence, italy
three days in florence, italy

where we drank

There are an abundance of great drinking places in Firenze – be it for an aperitivo, glass of wine, pint of beer, or an after-dinner cocktail. We didn’t get to try as many new places as I’d hoped on this trip – we were usually too full and tired after walking and eating all day long. Anyway, here’s where we stopped:

Bulli & Balene // still the best spot for a spritz in the Oltrarno! €4 a pop and generous on the Aperol. More here. Would recommend. Address: Via dello Sprone, 14/R, 50125 Firenze

Enoteca 4 Leoni // a lovely little wine bar/aperitvo spot! We went in for a spritz one afternoon to avoid the sun and snagged the table just inside the door – it was the perfect people watching spot! The spritzes – €6 each – came in large fancy goblets with side-snacks of crisps + peanuts. I can think of worse ways to stay out of the sun! Would recommend. Address: Via dello Sprone, 15/r, 50125 Firenze

Archea Brewery // an old favourite beer haunt. We basically visit every time we’re in Florence, and it’s always reliably good. This time around, we opted for pints of the AltaVia Pilsner – €6 each -, which was rather delightful. Read more here. Address: Via dei Serragli, 44R, 50124 Firenze

Volume // a buzzy place to stop for a cocktail in the evening. I went for a Pilgrims, which was a tad too bitter for me, but Fiancé went for an Old Fashioned, which was a much better choice. I wouldn’t necessarily rush back, but you can hardly go wrong when it’s only €17 for two cocktails. Address: Piazza Santo Spirito, 3, 50125 Firenze

three days in florence, italy
three days in florence, italy

where we tourist-ed

There are so many wonderful touristy things to do & see in Florence, but we’ve done most of them before. Absolute must-visits include: The Uffizi, Duomo Complex, l’Accademia, Palazzo Pitti, Boboli Gardens, Piazzale Michelangelo, Museo Vecchio, Medici Chapel – the list is seemingly endless. This time around, we focused on visiting free attractions: beautiful churches, and the Loggia. The wonderful thing about visiting churches is that they’re pleasingly dark and cool – ideal during a heat-wave! Here’s where we hit:

Retro Photo-Booths // not a church and technically not free, but such a fun little souvenir! There are several of these refurbished retro booths located around the city, and at only €2 for a strip of 4 cute photos, I can’t think why you wouldn’t want to visit one! We used the one located at Via Santa Monaca 1r – the only red one in the city – not once, but three times!! Such cute keepsakes! A must-visit! Find the others here: Via del Proconsolo 19r / Via dell’Agnolo 117 / Largo Fratelli Alinari 30 / The Student Hotel

Chiesa di San Salvatore in Ognassanti // we visited this church for two reasons only: Botticelli’s tomb and fresco. The tomb is marked by a non-descript circular emblem on the floor, at the foot of another grave: Simonetta Vespucci. Who is she, you might be thinking? WELL. Vespucci, a young married noblewoman from Genoa, is widely considered to be the beauty that inspired Venus and Primavera. Venus and Primavera!! Apparently, Botticelli – and half the male population of Florence in the 1470s – fell in love with Simonetta, and even after she died, continued to paint her face from memory, her beauty so ingrained in his mind’s eye. His longing for the muse was so strong that, on his deathbed, he sought permission to be buried at her feet for eternity. How! Romantic! A must-visit! Address: Borgo Ognissanti, 42, 50123 Firenze

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Santa Felicita Church // the second oldest church in the city! We mostly visited because I am obsessed with all things Vasari Corridor, which passes right through the back of this church, behind a thick railing. Apparently the Medici’s would attend mass without ever being seen by the plebs below. How cool is that? Address: Piazza Santa Felicita, 3, 50125 Firenze

Basilica di Santa Trinita // perhaps the cheapest church I’ve ever been to. Don’t get me wrong, it was nice and all, just stingy. At every point of interest around the church – frescoes, sculptures, even down to the crypt! – the lights were purposely turned low & you’d have to pay €1 to be able to see properly. Now, I know €1 isn’t a lot – but it is if you wanted to see all of the artwork and oh, I don’t know, walk down the stairs into the crypt without dying! If that doesn’t bother you, points of interest include: a terracotta relief by Donatello and Ghirlandaio frescoes. Address: Piazza di Santa Trinita, 50123 Firenze

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Basilica di Santo Spirito // technically I wasn’t actually allowed to enter this church – my promiscuous knees were on show – but Fiancé went in and said it was pretty nice, but nothing spectacular. It does have a crucifix that is supposedly attributed to a young Michelangelo, but they charge you to see that, and it isn’t even 100% certain he did it…. so. Address: Piazza Santo Spirito, 30, 50125 Firenze

Loggia dei Lanzi // my absolute favourite attraction in the city. Home to my favourite sculpture of all time, The Rape of the Sabine Women, I simply couldn’t go to Florence without visiting it! It’s free, it’s open-air, and the sculptures are all originals. It’s honestly just incredible. A must-visit. Address: P.za della Signoria, 50121 Firenze

three days in florence, italy
three days in florence
three days in florence, italy

There we have it, my latest guide to the Tuscan capital: Three Days in Florence, Italy. What did you think? Have you tried any of these new-to-us spots? Is there anywhere I left out/absolutely need to visit next time? I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below!

Ciao for now!

Vicki & Rob xo

PS, guides about both San Donato in Poggio and Bologna will be hitting the blog shortly – I can’t wait for you to read them!

three days in florence, italy

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24 Hours in San Gimignano
A Quick Guide to Siena, Italy
Bologna, A Love Letter



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