Pasta, Pizza, Ice Cream – The best things to do in Florence

So, Florence is great. It’s
amazing, it’s a buzzing, beautiful city that is overwhelming you with the
amount of historical sights and museums it has to offer. Same with food, there
is so many restaurants and little hidden spots where you can enjoy some
delicious pizza, pasta, or, their famous Florentine steak (we were 3 girls and
shared a piece of 1.4kg. You can do it! – ok, parts of it was bones, but

There is just one “but” about this city; it can get very, very crowded,
up to the point where you have to push through the crowds. Maybe that’s because
we went in July, but apparently it doesn’t become much less in spring. So chose
a wise time to go, to avoid huge crowds. We stayed for 2 days, which I found
perfect, but if you want to visit all the museums you should probably plan in
some more time. Before coming to Florence we stayed for 1 day in Bologna (Guide
Here) and for one night in a beautiful Agritourismo in the Tuscan countryside,
which I’ll talk more about further below. Enjoy!

Which areas to go and what to see:

Walk in Santo Spirito, San Niccolo, go for a drink in Santa Croce,

See Ponte Vecchio, Piazzale Michelangelo, Il Duomo – Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Mueseo Leonardo da Vinci, Palazzo Pitti, Galleria dell’Academia di Firenze, Piazza della Signora, Museo di San Marco, Santa Maria Novella, Galeria delle Uffizi

Where to eat:

Il Pizzaiuolo

Delicious Pizza with all kinds of topics for a fair price.
The waiters are rather short in
their answers and quick in actions, but the Pizza maker (pizzaiuolo) seemed
like a very nice and fun guy. A simple place (reservation recommended) in a
cool part of the city, where many other nice restaurants are located. The Pizza
here is the one with the thicker dough: Napoli-style. We were three and shared
three different Pizzas to try something different with every bite.

Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco

Located on a street just to the
right of Ponte Vecchio, this restaurant is visited by some tourists, but also
by native Italians who are meat lovers. You can get pork, wild boar and of
course the famous Florentinian steak here; not less than 1.25kg though, so
start thinking how much of the aged meat you could eat. You pay per grams
(100g/5E), so you’ll end up paying around 70E for a piece if you take the
smallest amount possible. Their burratina con tartufo is not to be missed and
neither is the traditional dessert: a sweet dessert wine and some Cantuccini,
to be dipped into the wine and then into your mouth. Waiters are nice, maybe a
bit hectic, but overall it was a nice experience. The interior is quite rustic,
dark with a lot of dark brown wooden details and furniture, so if you wish to
sunbathe while eating, better chose another place.
Price: 8-15E for starters, around
70E for 1.3kg of meat, which is enough for 3 people

4 Leoni:

This place was recommended to me
by an Italian, so I figured it must be worth to go. Delicious starters, we had
burrata and bruschetta, good selections of wines (and very patient waitresses
and waiters to advise you on them) and traditional main dishes, sometimes with
a twist. I had Tortelli, filled with pear in a sauce from taleggio with green
asparagus and it was very delicious, a great mix of flavours. The fried polpo
(octopus) with pea puree was very tender and flavourful, too, unfortunately not
fresh though but frozen before being prepared. There’s seating outside and
inside and our waitress was incredibly nice, the others looked a bit as if in a
bad mood, but can’t tell.
Price: Around 8-12E for a
starter, 14-20E for a main dish, 12-25E for a bottle of wine
Well, there’s not much to say,
just that the ice cream here was amazing and price-wise very fair. Think I had
a scoop of passion fruit and some red fruit flavor, both delicious melting down
my hands while I was looking at Ponte Vecchio from far.

Website: La Carraia

Other recommended places

The following places were on my to-do list, recommended by Italians, but unfortunately in one and a half days it’s impossible to try 10 different restaurants. But I put them on here anyways.

Lunch at Il Latini – Touristy but historical place in the heart of the city
Lunch or dinner at Buca Lapi – Make sure to try their Fiorentina steak
Lunch or dinner at L’Brindellone – Family run restaurant with excellent Tuscan food

Where to shop

Aquaflor: Beautiful, romantic perfume, room scent and soap shop. Big couches and leather airmchairs, dark wooden drawers and petals everywhere. My favourite soaps here are verbena, rose and cinnamon.

Mercato Centrale: 

The food market reopened in 2014. On the first floor, there’s a
modern food hall, featuring several stands that offer everything from Pizza, to
truffle dishes, to antipasti platters, to meat and fish. Have a Cappuccino and
cannoli (crispy Italian pastry filled with ricotta cream) and sit down at one
of the high tables in the middle of the buzzing place. In case you can’t get
enough, there’s an “Eataly” shop just at the end of the hall where you can buy pasta,
oil, wines and other Italian products to bring home.

In case you want to escape from
the city, a nice Agritourismo on the countryside is the perfect thing to do.
They can differ from each other to some extent, but in general Agritourismos
are family run guest houses on the countryside, which very often offer
homegrown and regional food and usually also a bed to sleep in. They can be
more luxurious or simpler, but so far I’ve only had great experiences no matter
which option I chose.

Casale Pergole:

Located in the heart of Tuscany,
surrounded by olive groves and small mountains, this place offers a beautiful
view. It has around six rooms I’d say, offers breakfast, lunch and dinner
prepared from ingredients growing in the owners’ own little garden. The
breakfast was a lovely selection of homemade cakes, jams and homegrown fruit
and for dinner we had a simple but honestly delicious 4-course menu. A spinach
tart, fusilli with peppers, the best roastbeef I ever had and a semi-freddo
dessert. The wine list gives you some variety to choose from, too and the
prices are more than fair.
They are overly friendly making
your stay a true pleasure. I should also mention that there is a decent pool
with a beautiful view at the region.

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