Oh, Florence, how I love thee. I’ve been to Florence twice but only for one day each time. I went once in college and all we did was the Hop On, Hop Off bus (fun fact: a group of girlfriends and I stayed at a hostel that didn’t have any towels, so we used the pillow cases & then put them back! Oh college!) and then again with my family during a European trip in 2012. That time it was pouring rain and we only did the Accademia Museum.
This time, Vinn, Copley and I and another couple spent 3 nights in Florence and finally got to be able to experience everything this great city has to offer. We used our time wisely, seeing all of the amazing sites Florence has to offer, eating delicious meals, drinking (probably) too much wine and loving every minute of it. Here’s a recap of our time in Florence.
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Thanks to my sister (shout out, Laura!), we were able to stay at the Westin Excelsior Florence. This is one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. It has a beautiful lobby, a gym that I took advantage of and the most heavenly bed! Even heavenly dog beds.
My mom bought Copley that toy and she loves it. She’s a very fancy dog. In case you want to spoil your dog, here’s a similar toy!
The Westin is also in an ideal location right in the middle of the city and was easy for us to walk everywhere!
Oh my! There are so many things to see in Florence. If you’re a museum person, the Uffizi Museum and Galleria Academia are must-sees. They both offer art and quite a cultural experience. We didn’t do any museums on this trip because wine is much more important but I do recommend both of them. The Academia has the statue of David.
Obviously the Duomo should make it on your list. It is the largest church I have ever seen and is just so stunning in person. None of the photos do it justice. We didn’t climb to the top of it because we had Copley with us and the lines were quite long but it is an option and one that looks really fun. You can buy tickets ahead of time here. Did you know that the dome was built in the 14 Century and without any scaffolding? Crazy!
Another must-see is the Ponte Vecchio Bridge. It is also known as the bridge of houses because, well, obviously it has houses. The bridge itself has jewelry stores and is always packed with people. Seeing it at night is pretty spectacular, too.
I would like to add just walking around to the list of things to do in Florence. There are so many amazing things to see and just walking around, snapping pictures, stopping when you see a cute store or wine bar, there’s nothing better.
This was our first trip with our friends Ross and Stephanie and we just had the best time! We hang out a lot in Stuttgart and it was so fun to explore another city together.
The views aren’t bad either!
And speaking of views, going to Piazza Michelangelo should definitely happen! It offers the most amazing views of the entire city of Florence and has a replica statue of David. We went at night, too, which was also amazing.
Going on a wine tour is also a great idea while you’re in Florence since you’re one of the best wine districts in the world. We did just that and I’ll be sharing all that info. in another post!
Now onto the best part of any trip, where to eat and drink. We had some truly incredible meals and wine during our time in Florence. And if happy hour wasn’t already a favorite, they certainly are now.
Trattoria Za Za – Known for its Tuscan style dishes, this place has one of the biggest menus I’ve ever seen and we all had such a hard time deciding what to order. The menu has an entire page with dishes made with truffle, so that’s what I did, truffle gnocchi! So delicious! When we walked in, I was a little concerned at first because it looks super touristy and there are people outside trying to lure you in. But it’s totally delicious and not as touristy as I thought.
Trattoria Gargani – We ate here our first night based on a recommendation by our concierge. The wine menu here is incredible and we all enjoyed some pasta and a main course. It’s within walking distance to the hotel and their chocolate coconut cake was to die!
La Cova Tapas – If you want to branch out from Italian food, this is a great tapas bar. We ordered some sangria and about half of the menu. It’s a small place but was perfect for an early dinner after a long day of walking and drinking.
Art Bar – This is the place to go for wine or cocktails. The bartender was so knowledgeable and we had a great time chatting with him, learning about wines and drinking quite a bit!
That’s a wrap on Florence. It was an epic trip with great friends. If you are visiting Italy, Florence should definitely make it to the top of your list. More pictures of of our wine tour will be coming this week, so come back for that and check out my travel page for even more cities!
Where did you have a great friends trip?
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