Monday, May 23, 2016

FLORENCE MASTERPOST


Hey friends!! Now that it's been a few weeks since my semester has ended, I'm going to relay to you my favorite places I've gone in Florence. None of these places are in any specific order, but I'll be describing my favorite things about each place, and putting a "*" next to my favorite in each category. If you are visiting Florence for a short time or studying abroad here for an entire semester, I hope my list of places helps you have the best possible experience in Firenze!

Caffè
  1. *La Ménagère (Via de'Ginori, 8) - The most beautiful caffè, flower boutique, restaurant, bar, etc. I come here almost every day to study and enjoy my time with friends. This is the typical slow-paced Italian caffè. When I come, I expect to be here for hours. I spend my time here listening to the amazing jazz music and I people watch and enjoy admiring people's fancy outfits. This is my favorite place in all of Florence.
  2. La Milkeria (Borgo degli Albizi, 87) - This is one of the only places in Florence that gives you the opportunity to give you coffees to go! This place offers gelato, crepes, coffee, and more! I always get a cappuccino with vanilla. And it tastes soooo much better to enjoy it in the store than to take it in a cup to go.
  3. News Cafe (Via del Giglio, 59) - For 1.20 euro, you can get a beautiful cappuccino decorated perfectly by one of the barristos. I've seen decorations of the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, Happy Birthday Messages, and more as cappuccino art. 
  4. Astor (Piazza del Duomo, 20R) - This is one of the more American Caffes but still very fun. 
  5. Shake Cafe (Via del Corso, 26) - Very Americanized cafe, very many located all around Florence. Great for a quick stop and bite to eat!! You'll find sandwiches, drinks, and gelato that you can pick up on the go. 
  6. Find your own local cafe in your neighborhood and become friends with the owner!
Tips: Italians are the biggest lovers of coffee that I have ever seen, but they are disgusted of the idea of drinking milk after breakfast time. If you don't want to stand out as an American, don't order a cappuccino after noon.
Also, taking items "to-go" is a very American concept. You will not see Italians walking around with coffee or sandwiches on the go. They love to sit down and enjoy their meals, so if you want to blend in as much as possible, enjoy your caffè inside!!



Lunch
  1. *Pino's Sandwiches (Via Giuseppe Verdi, 36) - Definitely my favorite panino place in all of Florence. For only 4 euros, you can get any sandwich on the menu, and even customize your order! There's indoor seating, but you can also take it to go. Pino, the owner, is there every day with a smile on his face. Be prepared for a large portioned sandwich!! 
  2. All'Antico Vinaio (Via dei Neri, 74/R) - For 5 euros, you can get a huge delicious panino! You can order off the menu but you can also customize it a bit. The employees may suggest that your order isn't good though, and they'll tell you what to order to make it delicious.  Be careful not to go here on a weekend though, because the tourists will be lined up for what seems like miles long.
  3. Antico Noe (Volta di S. Piero, 6/8/r) - This was one of my favorite panino places as well. All of the panini on the menu is under 5 euro!! The owner and employees are all very nice and it doesn't take long for the panini to be made and taken to go on your walk around town! 
  4. Oil Shoppe (Via Sant'Egidio, 22/R) - Wide variety of panini and close to the center of town!
  5. El Chico (Via dei Benci, 15/r) - Cheap and delicious burritos, just what you were missing from home!
  6. *Central Market - (Piazza del Mercato Centrale dell'Ariento) - In the morning before noon, there is a huge market on the first floor with hundreds of different options of vendors for fruits, vegetables, bread, pasta, and meat. In the afternoon, head upstairs for the food court with dozens of places to get yourself panini, pizza, and more!! I could spend hours walking around and trying to decide what I want to eat. Everything is super cheap as well! 
  7. Kebab (Corner of Via Della Scala and Via Santa Caterina da Siena) - While there are hundreds of Kebab places around Florence, the place close to my house was the one that I called home. For 6 euros I could get every possible topping in a box or burrito to go, and this place was open until 6am. 
  8. The Diner (Via dell'Acqua, 3) - If you're looking for a taste of American food, The Diner is a great place to stop by. It's a little bit more pricey than any of the Italian options but it's not a bad decision if you're really really craving some bacon and fries.

Restaurants
  1. *Pandemonio (Via del Leone, 50/R) - I went here on my roommate's 21st birthday and it was the best experience I had in all four months. This restaurant is completely family-owned, the food was excellent, and the waiters will bring you out a complimentary bottle of home-made limoncello at the end of your meal. They won't let you leave until you finish the bottle. If you go at the end of the night, there will be singing and dancing around the restaurant from the employees and they might ask you to join in the fun. We didn't want to leave! They made me feel like I was at home enjoying a dinner with my family. 
  2. *Gusta Pizza (Via Maggio, 46) - One of the most popular pizza places in Florence, this pizzeria has such amazing flavors all in one cheap pizza. You can get a pizza for 5 or 6 euros. Take it to go and eat it with a bottle of wine at the steps outside of the Santa Spirito right around the corner!
  3. 4 Leoni (Via de' Vellutini, 1r) - Order the Pear Pasta!!!!!!!!! This restaurant is located on the quieter side of the Arno, and you can sit outside and people-watch the locals and enjoy the more serene streets.
  4. Acqua Al' Due (Via della Vigna Vecchia, 40r) - This place has so many different options but the number one plate by far is the Blueberry Steak!
  5. Zaza's (Piazza Mercato Centrale, 26r) - Quality restaurant and everyone in my study abroad program was talking about how they were eating there!
  6. Il Gatto e la Volpe (Via Ghibellina, 151/r) - Very cool restaurant with great location on Ghibellina where everything always seems to be located. 

Gelato
  1. *Gelato Dei Neri (Via dei Neri, 9/11) - For the love of God, please order the cookies and cream flavor. It's the best thing that has ever happened to me in my entire life.
  2. Festival del Gelato (Via del Corso, 75/red) - Friendly staff, very close to the Piazza della Repubblica but still very good! Favorite flavors, cheesecake and banana. 
  3. La Milkeria (Borgo degli Albizi, 87) - As I mentioned in the cafe section, this is an adorable little place to get many different flavors of gelato!
  4. Venchi Ice Cream (Via dei Calzaiuoli, 65/R) - Pretty good gelato, usually my go-to when it was late at night because they were still open!! Has a beautiful chocolate fountain on the inside and is located in the heart of the city!
Tip: When looking for a place to buy gelato, the smallest size should be around 2 euros. Anything else is definitely a tourist trap, especially if you are buying it around the Duomo or Ponte Vecchio. Also *VERY IMPORTANT* don't buy gelato that is displayed very colorfully and tall stacked because it's a tourist trap as well and will definitely be more expensive. Go for the gelato that is more of a pastel color and is not really visable from outside because it will be pretty much almost gone because it's only home-made once a day (opposed to being shipped in). I've had good experiences with all of the places above.


Shops
  1. Central Market at San Lorenzo - The Mercato Centrale is the best place to go to get cheap fresh food that mainly only locals know about. I would spend 3 euros on a whole meal and even shop for some groceries in the morning when the market is open.
  2. Leather Market at H&M - Literally RIGHT outside the Central Market is the Leather markets that seem to run miles and miles long. Make sure you negotiate for your leather bags and new souvenirs but make sure you stop by one of my favorite shops and new friends Luigi who has a leather bag shop in the market called "Florence Leather". Go there to find awesome real leather bags and make sure you ask for Luigi and say Peyton sent you!! He's great with faces and names and was so friendly!! My mom loved him and bought herself a new leather bag when she came to visit me :) 
  3. Apple Store Market - Every Thursday, dozens of vendors come to sell their flowers and cactuses right next to the Apple Store at Piazza Della Repubblica. If you have a couple euros on you, you can get several baby cacti or colorful flowers! 
  4. Market at Piazza Santa Spirito - On weekend mornings, there is a market in Piazza Santa Spirito featuring vintage goods that you have to check out!! 
  5. 99 Cent Stores - Scattered all around the city, these are the best places to find little necessities, like scissors, notebooks, glue, tape, brushes, nail files, pens, etc. Anywhere else they'll be a little more expensive, but you can't beat 99 cents!


Grocery Stores
  1. Sapori & Dintorni Conad - The best place to go when trying to cook dinner. My roommate and I would spend 3 euros each and have ourselves plenty of pasta and chicken and vegetables each night we cooked. Also, you can buy GIANT water bottles for 25 cents. The only bummer is that they are only open until 9pm so you gotta make sure you get in there before it closes. Dinners are so late in Italy so sometimes you won't realize its so late. The two that I always go to are right next to the Duomo (Borgo S. Lorenzo, 15/17), and near the train station (Largo Alinari Fratelli, 28). 
  2. Conad - Same as the Sapori Conad, this is the same type of grocery store but will be a little smaller!! Find these all over the city!
  3. Quick-Marts - When the grocery stores are closed, head to the closest quick mart in your neighborhood to get things like water bottles and snacks. It'll be significantly more expensive than at the grocery store, but if you make friends with the owners, they might give you neighborhood discounts! 
Tip: A lot of my friends said that after eating out for dinner every night, they become tired of Italian food. I'm glad I stayed in and cooked a lot because I still appreciate every bite of Italian Margherita pizza, gnocchi, truffle sauce, and panini. And I don't know what I'm going to do at home without it!



Clothing Stores
  1. Patrizia Pepe (Piazza San Giovanni, 12r) - One of the higher end clothing stores in Florence, but always has beautiful window displays that I observed every week.
  2. Gerard Loft (Via dè Pecori, 36) - Airy loft full of designer clothing and inspiration around every turn!! 
  3. Boutique Nadine (Via dei Benci, 32) -Vintage and airy clothing shop with pricey but quality clothing!
  4. Ootod'Ame (Via della Spada, 19,) - This shop was right on my walk to class and I always checked out the new front display every week. A little on the expensive side, but it won't hurt to invest in some quality Italian pieces when you're in one of the most fashionable places in the world.
  5. Zara - (Via Calimala) Visit Zara's TWO locations that are right across from each other to find the cute clothing that is way less expensive than it is in the states. My school was right around the corner and I would always find myself wandering in after classes. 
  6. H&M (Via Por Santa Maria) - Always packed, but I loved visiting to see what H&M is selling in Italy.
  7. Melrose Vintage (Largo Fratelli Alinari, 8, or Via de'Ginori 18) - Both locations are amazing places to wander around to look for priceless vintage finds and take some cool pictures! In the first location, there's a huge bin full of $5 old band tees! In there I've found and purchased old Backstreet Boys and Jonas Brothers concert tees! 
  8. Floreiza (Via Borgo San Lorenzo 25)
  9. Flow Shop (Via Vecchietti, 22) - Clothing store with an awesome interior that I would walk inside often to get inspiration for clothing and interior decoration!! 
  10. Crazy Shirt (Borgo S. Lorenzo, 40) - Awesome store under the street that sells vintage tees and jewelry!! 
Tip: Everyone on the streets of Florence is always dressed up so nicely. They take fashion very seriously! When packing, I would avoid packing sweats or yoga pants because people will stare at you if you're not dressed up on the streets. Dressing up for classes is definitely very typical. Investing in a leather jacket is also recommended!




Bars
  1. Kikuya (Via dei Benci, 43R,) - This irish pub had the best throwbacks playing every time I came. It's really small and homey, and we came here every night that we just wanted to hang out. Order a dragoon, and make sure they don't forget to give you a lollipop with it!!
  2. Red Garter (Via de' Benci, 33/r) - Karaoke Bar!! At the end of the night, this place will be packed with people, but their is so much fun if you come and get up on stage for some karaoke! 
  3. Lion's Fountain (Borgo degli Albizi, 34) - This irish pub is probably one of the most packed at any time. 
  4. Shot Cafe (Via dei Pucci, 5) - Cute cafe turned bar at night. Awesome but can get crowded very quickly!!
  5. Astor Cafe (Piazza del Duomo, 20R) - Located right next to the Duomo, this place can be very convenient to get to whether it's in the morning for caffè or a drink at night! 
  6. *Amblè (Chiasso dei del Bene) - CUTEST little cafe/Bar. I went and enjoyed drinks with friends at night while sitting on their lounge chairs outside. Their slogan literally is "Fresh Food and Old Furniture". Highly recommend! 

Sightseeing
  1. Top of the Duomo - For 15 euros, you can enter in the side of the duomo and climb the hundreds of stairs to the top to see the whole entire city! 
  2. Boboli Gardens (Piazza Pitti, 1) - The beautiful gardens of Florence designed by the Medici family.
  3. Ponte Vecchio - Take a walk along one of the city's most important landmarks. 
  4. Galleria Dell'Accademia (Via Ricasoli, 58/60) - See Michelangelo's David and many more pieces of renaissance art! 
  5. Uffizi Gallery (Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6) - See The Birth of Venus and thousands of other famous renaissance art! 
  6. Inside of the Duomo - It's free to go inside and admire the beautiful decorations on the inside of the dome! 
  7. Santa Croce - One of the main churches in Florence, located on the south-east side of town.
  8. Santa Maria Novella - One of the main churches in Florence with a beautiful facade. Located right in front of the SMN Train Station.
  9. Piazzle Michelangelo - One of the best views overlooking the city, it's a hike to the top though!
  10. Loggia dei Lanzi - An open air museum full of ancient and modern Roman sculptures
  11. Piazza della Repubblica - The main piazza in Florence! 
  12. Santa Spirito - This church is one of the most unique looking in Florence since it doesn't have the same signature marble look. 
  13. Piazza Pitti - Located on the other side of the Arno, this is a hot spot for tourists and located right next to Forte Belvedere and Boboli Gardens! 

Useful Knowledge
  1. ItaloTreno - This and the two names below are the names of the websites that I used to find cheap train tickets around Italy!! Travel to Naples, Rome, Venice, Milan, and more by using these train companies!! 
  2. FrecciaBianca
  3. TrenaItalia
  4. Santa Maria Novella - This is the name of the Train Station in Florence. Located a little north-west of the Duomo, this is the place where you'll be coming in and out of for trips. You can also find a bus station that will take you to the Florence airport for 6 euros.
  5. Easy Jet, Ryan Air - These are the best (and cheapest) airways to use when you are traveling around Europe. If you're planning on spending your weekends hopping from country to country, these flights are definitely going to be the cheapest, especially if you book way in advance. Definitely try to get around to as many place you can, but don't travel too much and forget to explore and get to know Florence while you're here. 




I really really hope my list could help you! I hope you enjoy Florence even half as much as I did, because personally I can't wait to get back. Every day in Florence is so different and you can either decide to stay in or really get out there and learn as much as you can about the history of the city. If you have any questions, feel free to leave me them in the comments!! You can follow me on Instagram to check out my pictures from Florence and any other places I went to that I posted. Arrivederci!

Side Note: If you have any hidden gems from your visit to Florence, please leave suggestions in the comments below!!

2 comments:

  1. I went to Florence about three years ago, and when I was there I stumbled upon a little shoe store named Sabatini (not to be confused with the restaurant). It was so inexpensive and had such an amazing selection of shoes, most of them being Italian leather boots. It takes a while to find the store because it is in a back alley, but it is worth it

    ReplyDelete
  2. two places that were a godsend when I was studying in Florence last year was MySugar on Via de'Ginori, 49/red they are fantastic and are the best Gelateria in the San Lorenzo area! also Sandwichic on Via S. Gallo, 3/r, those guys are sandwich artists and they have a student deal thats only 3.50 euro for a great sandwich and a bottle of water

    ReplyDelete