Thursday, June 28, 2018

Florence Travel Guide

I had a few days off of work following Paris fashion week so I decided to take advantage of the time off and take the train from Milan to Florence. I had heard nothing but incredible things about the city, so it was time to see it for myself and I was not disappointed! The city itself is so beautiful, the food is incredible and there is so much to see/do.

I actually vlogged my entire trip which you can watch here, here and here. In one of the vlogs I mentioned that I wanted to create a Florence guide for my blog, so here we are!

S T A Y 

I stayed at Hotel Ambasciatori and I can't say enough good things about this hotel! It's right near the train station so it is the perfect location and the hotel itself is so beautiful. Since I was traveling alone, I stayed in one of their single rooms and the rate was incredible - $80 a night... I mean who could beat that?

With the location that it was in, I was able to walk pretty much everywhere, which was very needed since I was literally eating my way through Florence! 

S E E / D O 

Gucci Garden: If you are a fashion lover, this place is a must! Its the perfect backdrop for some rocking Instagrams #priorities and it really is laid out so beautifully. You can see the entire history of the brand, as well as how the "new" Gucci came to be. 
Just to warn you, it is 80 euros to get in, which is a little steep in my opinion since it really isn't that big, however, if you are a student and show your student ID, you get in for free! 

Statue of David: Something I didn't know was that there is the real statue of David and then the replica of the statue of David. The real statue of David is in the Academia and then there is the replica statue of David that was right by the Gucci garden. 
Since I'm not a die hard statue fan I opted to see the replica version just so that I could see it. 

Duomo: The Florence duomo was so beautiful! I loved seeing another duomo because I've only ever seen the one here in Milan. It's also MASSIVE which I was not expecting! I really wanted to go inside, but the line to get in was forever long so I ended up passing. However if you are planning on going to Florence and wanting to see the Duomo, get your tickets ahead of time because I believe if you do you get to skip the line!

 Boboli Gardens: I had heard from a couple friends that the Boboli Gardens were not that impressive and weren't worth seeing but I completely disagree! I thought that the grounds were so beautiful and if its nice out, you can't beat laying in the grass to soak up the incredible view of Florence. 
With all of that being said, don't go into it thinking it is going to be like Versailles because what is? I do believe it was worth seeing though!

 Pitti Palace: The Pitti Palace is inside the Boboli Gardens (you have to pay a separate fee to get inside the museum) and was totally worth seeing! It is set up so beautifully and they currently have a fashion exhibit going on which I of course loved. 

The Mall Luxury Outlet: Let me start by saying that if you have ANY interest in fashion/luxury goods, you have to go here if you have time! The Mall is 40 minutes outside of Florence but is SO worth it. I ended up getting a brand new Gucci scarf and YSL wallet for almost 50% off. They have everything from Chloe to Alexander McQueen to Prada so there is something for everyone.
 I didn't realize that there is a shuttle that you can take to the mall for 10 euros so I ended up paying a small fortune for a taxi ride there and back from my hotel. Make sure that you take the bus so you have some extra cash to spend on a fun item! 

What I Didn't See But Wanted To

Michaelangelo Plaza
I wanted to see this SO badly but ended up not having the time to go. I hear it is incredible to see at sunrise/sunset so next time I go to Florence, I want to go then! 

E A T 

Throughout all of my vlogs I kept mentioning Giada De Laurentiis and all of the recommendations that she had for Florence. I HIGHLY recommend checking out the travel section of her website as she has recommendations for almost everywhere in Italy! 

Antico Vinaio: This is the panini place that is famous in Florence, however I didn't find it to be that impressive. I got the 'boss' and I found it so incredibly dry! I personally wouldn't waste your time going here...

4 Leoni: A Giada recommendation that did not disappoint. They are famous for their pear and asparagus tortellini, which is one of the best things I've ever tasted as it is SO unique! I made a reservation about a week out from my trip so I would recommend doing the same to make sure you get a table at the time you want! 

La Bussolo: I found this place on google just from googling "best pizza in Florence" and this was the first to pop up. The crust at this place was some of the best I've ever had - it was almost like they undercooked it slightly so it was a little doughy in the middle. 
I got the truffle pizza and it was pretty incredible. If you love truffle, you will love this pizza. Even if you're not a truffle person, they have so many other choices!

Buca Dell'Orafo: This was a Giada recommendation and she said that it has the best tortellini she has ever had. I do have to agree that it was pretty incredible, however if you are to get one tortellini dish in Florence, go to 4 Leoni just because it is SO unique! 
Just so you know, Buca Dell'Orafo is very small so make sure you call ahead to make sure that they have availability.

SandwiChic: This was another Google find and it was delicious! I think if you are going to get a panini while in Florence don't waste your time going to Antico, go here. They toast their bread (which I think makes a huge difference) and they have a lot more choices than Antico. 

Gelateria dei Neri: This was another Giada recommendation. This gelato was some of the best I've ever had as it was SO creamy and full of flavor. The vanilla was by far my favorite! Also keep in mind that the place itself was packed, so if you don't have time to wait maybe save it for a time you do. 

The Westin Excelsior: This place is fantastic for after dinner drinks! Although a little pricey, the rooftop has such an incredible view and its a great place to watch the sunset while drinking an aperol spritz.

Gucci Cafe: This is in the outlet mall and it is so not worth it! If you are going to make a trip out there just to go to the cafe, save your time and money. It could have been SO much better but it was very average and not worth the overpriced lattes.

Where I Didn't Eat But Wanted To

La Loggia Bar at Villa San Michele
I wanted to go here so badly to watch the sunset and have drinks/appetizers but it ended up being a little too far for me to get to. It was about a 25 minute car ride and at that time I was only wanting a drink so it was a bit far. However, next time I go to Florence I will defineitly be going here as the pictures look incredible! 

Le Volpo e L'uva
This was a place that did a wine tasting and paired each glass with different meat and cheese. Unfortunately, I couldn't do it because you have to have a minimum of two people and since I was alone, I couldn't - next time though! 

I hope that this guide helped you if you are planning on traveling to Florence soon! Since I am working full time I really can only do day trips so I think at the end of the summer I'll do a post about the best places to go for the day and what to cram in during that time! What do you guys think?

Let me know if you end up going to any of these place by tweeting me @AbbeyFHagan

Love from Milan,


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