Florence is a city to want from end to end. This Guide to Loving This Art Paradise At All Hours is my summary of how to enjoy this wonder of the city. Visiting Florence is one of the best experiences you can have in Italy and I hope to help you.
Florence is very easy to walk around. Nothing is far so it is worth walking through its streets and limiting the taxi to the larger distances.
We start our route by visiting the most famous set of the whole city: the Dome, the Baptistery and the Cathedral together with the Campanile. It is best to buy tickets in advance, although you can buy them in Florence itself, behind the cathedral, in the ticket office. You can set aside time to climb the dome which is always the most crowded. To enter the rest of the buildings the queues are short and in any case you can not book the visiting time, so I recommend that you go in the morning first thing that is when there are less people.
Climbing the Bell and the Dome is an experience you won't forget, especially if you have a little vertigo like me. But it's all worth it in this town.
Visited the whole of the cathedral, you will be hungry. A great place to eat is the San Lorenzo Market, conditioned like many of the markets in the big European capitals and where in addition to shopping you can eat with many different options. We ate at The Pizzeria de Marco Fierro, a Neapolitan pizzaiolo that makes some pizzas that you won't want to stop eating, and some tortellini at The Fresh Pasta where they make fresh pasta of the day.
If you want to try the most famous sandwich in the city, then you must go to the Ponte Vecchio area. Porchetta's panino is a sandwich made of stuffed suckling pig roasted over low heat and sliced. It is served with different options. You can try it at Osteria All'antico vinaio where you can have snacks in many different ways. My favorite with pecorino, arugula and cherry tomatoes.
Another option more fashionable and very appealing but that depends on the budget you have, is the Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura. The Italian fashion brand has in Florence a 17th century palace, the Gucci Garden, and its restaurant is run by Massimo Bottura, the new three-Michelin-star chef at Osteria Francescana who has been chosen in recent years the best restaurant in the world. Eating in the restaurant is quite an experience and its tasting menu changes with the seasons. The best we have is the rissotto, for which this chef is known all over the world.
After lunch, a good ice cream. I have two favorites in Florence. Gelateria Edoardo where ice creams are 100% organic and very creamy. It catches you near the center and the San Lorenzo Market. The other is perhaps the most popular in Florence, Gelateria La Carraia which is one of the best ice cream shops in Italy and where you'll think you've touched the sky with your mouth. Simply spectacular.
To start with the visits, it is advisable to visit the Palazzo Pitti, the Galleria degli Uffizzi and the Academy to see the David. They are museums very rich in works of art especially in Baroque and Renaissance painting and the most recommended is buy tickets in advance to avoid queues. They can be visited with or without guides depending on our taste.
As in Rome, in Florence there are several places to watch the sunset. My favorite is the Piazzale Michelangelo, a place across the river. To get there the easiest is the taxi that arrives in about 15 minutes. The site is usually crowded but because it is very large everyone can see the wonder of landscape. the view over the whole city and unforgettable sunsets.
A more central place to watch the sun fall is the Ponte Vecchio, a place that you can not miss at any time of the day but at sunset is magical.
And if you do not want to move, you can always go to the terrace of the large warehouse Rinascente in Piazza della Reppublica, which has a very appetizing terrace to have a drink at sunset, enjoying the views having an aperitif.
For dinner you have to book but the options are endless. If you are looking for unpretentious but very authentic home-cooked food, your site is the Osteria dei Pazzi in Campobasso. You don't need a reservation and upon arrival you will see a mix of tourists and locals, but you will take the pasta as you have never taken it: pici con le brociole (a spice of fat spaghetti with a delicious breadcrumb sauce), spaguetti carretiera (with spicy homemade tomato sauce ), and spaguetti with pistachio pesto (the best I've ever taken with a cheeseless pistachio pesto that's much lighter than we can think). For dessert, the creamiest panna cotta and a pistachio biscuit with incredibly soft cream.
But you can't leave Florence without taking the famous bistecca, a steak like a beef t-bone about 6 cm thick and at least 1200 g in weight that roasts on the embers and that is delicious. Served with potatoes and vegetables. My recommendation is Perseus and although when you arrive you find it the most touristic place in the world, the reality is that the meat is very good. Tickets are nothing of the other world but the meat is very rich.
And we ended our visit to this city to which we have returned and to which I am sure we will return sooner rather than later. Long live Italy!