Florence is easily one of the best cities in Italy in which to eat gelato, and there’s no shortage of gelato shops to choose from. Perhaps the most famous gelatera in Florence – if not all of Italy – is Vivoli.
Food is such an important part of Italian culture, and meals are special moments to be shared. If you don’t have family in Italy, however, your dining experiences will all feel less personal. Luckily, some Florence residents are opening their home to visitors through unique programs that allow you to have dinner in a real Italian home. Here are some of the ways you can dine in a Florentine home while you’re on vacation.
Tuscany, a famous territory in Italy known for its beauty as well as its good food and wine, is a place full of gems hidden in the hills. It’s not easily accessible by public transport, so you have two options – renting a car, or doing bus tour day trips from a major city like Florence. As a new driver, I opted against the inevitable financial ruin that renting would have incurred upon me, not to mention the difficulty of driving on the winding Tuscan roads, and chose a day trip from Florence to Siena and San Gimignano.
Walking through Florence at any time of year, you’re made quite aware that the capital of Tuscany is nowhere near an undiscovered tourist destination. By contrast, Perugia, the capital of the neighboring region of Umbria, lives a quieter life for much of the year – and it’s an easy city to visit from Florence.
Any must-see list in Florence undoubtedly includes a church or two, but many visitors overlook one of the most beautiful churches in the city because it’s not right in the historic center. The lovely San Miniato al Monte church sits atop a hill high above the city center, but it’s absolutely worth the climb to see it.
Prior to the 1966 flood of the Arno River, a visit to the interior of Florence’s Duomo was a chance to see the cathedral’s collection of in situ artwork. After the flood, however, when the art treasures were recovered and restored, when all the mud was removed, much of the artwork was moved to the nearby Museo dell’Opera del Duomo – the Museum of the Works of the Cathedral.
The Duomo in Florence is the city’s historic heart, but it’s not the only important structure on the piazza. The cathedral’s free-standing bell tower, or campanile, is equally beautiful and offers view-seekers a chance to get an almost-bird’s eye view of the famous red-tiled cathedral dome. Here’s what you need to know about climbing Giotto’s bell tower.
If you’re at all interested in the world of fashion, chances are good that you’ve heard of Italian shoe designer Salvatore Ferragamo. What you may not know is that, in addition to the Ferragamo company being based in Florence, the city is also home to the Ferragamo Museum. It’s open to visitors and an interesting look at fashion history.
The latest in the continuing saga of Robert Langdon’s adventures in the world of art history is set largely in the city of Florence. Dan Brown’s “Inferno” wasn’t the major hit of “The Da Vinci Code,” but Brown’s (and Langdon’s) fans happily followed along on this romp, too.
Italy is the ideal place to indulge your inner gourmet, and few cities reward that agenda better than Florence. Florence offers multiple options for day trips into wine country, cooking classes in Tuscan villas, historic markets, food festivals, and more. Here are some of the things to do if you’d like to add a foodie flavor to your Florence trip.