Florence Travel Guide via A Lo ProfileMy love for Florence is truly beyond words. In fact, we love it so much, we got married there. The last time we visited Italy, Florence was hands down our favorite and we kept saying we wish we had more time there. We loved the relaxed and romantic vibe of the city, as well as the cuisine.  I’ll share more about our wedding details soon, but for now, I’m sharing my Florence travel guide including where to stay, where and what to eat (always the most important), and what to see and do while you’re there.

Florence Travel Guide via A Lo Profile

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Florence Travel Guide via A Lo ProfileFlorence Travel Guide via A Lo Profile

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WHERE TO STAY

Florence is full of amazing hotels ranging from quaint bed and breakfast style hotels like Hotel David to stunning villas like Villa Cora or luxury hotels like the Four Seasons, St. Regis, or the Westin Excelsior. There are classic Florence hotels like the Portrait Firenze to the famous-for-its interior design hotel J.K. Palace. While any of these are great choices, hands down my recommendation is to stay at the insane boutique hotel/villa where we had our wedding, Riva Lofts.Florence Travel Guide via A Lo Profile

We prefer to stay at boutique hotels when possible because the overall feel of the hotel tends to be much more up our alley and the service is usually much more attentive. Riva Lofts is no exception. Located just across the river, Riva removes you from the hustle of the city, but is such a short walk or tram ride away from anything you need. We rented the entire property of Riva Lofts for our wedding weekend and each of our guests who stayed there loved it! Riva was built in 1880 and served as a collection of craft workshops. Since 1999 it has been a hotel that combines the old, classic charm of Florence with modern decor. Each space is amazing, the pool is perfection, and the breakfast served each morning is amazing. I cannot recommend Riva Lofts enough. We will stay no where else when returning to Florence!Florence Travel Guide via A Lo Profile

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WHAT & WHERE TO EAT

Florence is all about the red wine and the red meat. As with any city in Italy, be sure to get tons of pasta, pizza, gelato, tiramisu, Aperol spritzs, and espresso.

  • LA GIOSTRA: this is our favorite restaurant in the world. It is so romantic inside and has the perfect Italian vibe. We had our rehearsal dinner here! Last time we were in Florence and came we loved it so much that I tried to reorganize some of our trip so we could eat here again. You absolutely MUST get the pear and walnut ravioli. It is the best pasta I have ever eaten and every time I think or talk about it, my mouth waters. You can’t go wrong with their steak for your main course and be sure to get the tiramisu for dessert. It is the best one I’ve ever had!
  • MAMA GINAI had seen this restaurant recommended time and time again, so we went here our first night with a big group in Florence. The food was classic Florence-Italian style and everything was delicious from the pasta to the steak. The tiramisu was also so good!
  • TRATTORIA CAMMILLOthis is another restaurant I had read about countless times. It’s a go-to restaurant of so many who visit Florence. The atmosphere is so charming and cozy inside and the service is some of the best we had. One of my girlfriends couldn’t decide between white or red sauce, so the waiter suggested she get them mixed together, which ended up being one of our favorite dishes.
  • RISTORANTE DE FAGIOLI: we ate here last time we were in Florence after it was recommended by our B&B host. It is phenomenal. I highly recommend going here! The pasta with red sauce and meat dishes were so good. It seems like such a local spot, but since we went I’ve also seen it recommended by others who must have found out about it when traveling there.
  • ACQUA AL 2: another classic choice when visiting Florence, this restaurant is known for their blueberry steak. They also have some samplers for items like pastas and different desserts so you can get a good taste of everything.
  • CAFE LA TERAZZA: this restaurant is known for their wonderful view of the Duomo, plus the food. It’s a great spot to grab a drink and some snacks before dinner.
  • ANTICO NOÉ: This little spot is known for their sandwiches, which are simple and delicious.
  • GUSTA PIZZA: the best pizza you’ll find in Florence in a perfect setting. The pizza here is wood-fired stone oven pizza and its amazing, as you’ll notice since the place is always busy!

I’d recommend making reservations for dinner. You can e-mail the restaurant if they have a website, but not all of them do! If they don’t e-mail your hotel and have them call and make one ahead of time for you. At Antico Noé, they don’t take them so just show up and wait in line, its worth it.Florence Travel Guide via A Lo Profile

WHAT TO DO

I love Florence just for finding a piazza to sit in and people watch. We went to the some of the lesser known, more local ones when we were there last and sat outside with a bottle of wine both before and after dinner and had so much fun! Florence obviously has some amazing sites to see as well. My favorites are below.

  • Ponte Vecchio: there are a ton of amazing shops, especially jewelry ones, along here
  • The Duomo: go inside & climb all the steps to the top, it has an amazing view
  • Accademia Gallery: go inside to see the statue of David
  • Uffizi Gallery: one of the most visited museums in the world
  • Piazza della Repubblica: the carousel is here
  • Piazzalle Michelangelo: the best panoramic view of the city
  • Boboli Gardens: beautiful, classic Italian gardens at the Pitti Palace, which is stunning
  • Piazza di Santa Maria Novella: beautiful church and a nice piazza to stop and grab an espresso or gelato while out and about in the city.

If you have a few days in Florence, consider taking a cooking class or a day trip out to Tuscany for wine tasting. There are tons of great options for both and they are a must when visiting Italy! We did a big group wine tour the Thursday before our wedding including a several course lunch at one of the wineries and it was such a fun experience. Last time we visited we actually went on to spend a few nights in a small town called San Miniato in Tuscany. If you do that, check out Hotel 7047. It’s amazing and San Miniato was such a charming town!

For nightlife, there are tons of fun places to go out in Florence. Following our rehearsal dinner we all sat outside at a little bar a street or two away from La Giostra off of Borgo degli Albizi. Following our wedding, we all went out to an outdoor nighclub called Flo that was so fun! Another one we read a lot about was Space. Italians party all night, so we were there from around 1AM until the last man was standing. Its so fun to go out and get a feel for the nightlife!Florence Travel Guide via A Lo Profile

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PS: I was obsessed with this LWD c/o of Scarlet Clothing we wore for our wine tasting day. So comfy, too!

Florence Travel Guide via A Lo Profile

TRAVEL TIPS
  • Per usual, we haven’t done in guided tours in Florence since we like doing our own thing. You don’t need a tour to see the sites here in my opinion, but do buy your tickets ahead of time! If you want to see some of the best sites of the city without all the people, go early in the morning when nothing is really open. As you can see from these photos we took the day before our wedding around 7:00 in the morning, there aren’t any people around the Duomo or the carousel at the Piazza Della Repubblica, so you can have your photo opps then and go back later to actually go inside. Around he Ponte Vecchio is the same way if you’re trying to snag a shot without as many people, but it doesn’t get quite as crowded as the Duomo or carousel.
  • Go shopping for leather around Florence, but be careful around the actual San Lorenzo leather market, as some aren’t as great of quality and they are just targeting tourists.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. You don’t walk quite as much here as Rome, but the streets are still lined with cobblestones or bricks, so it can be tough on your feet.
  • Many sites are closed on certain days of the week, typically on Monday. You won’t be able to see the David on a Monday, so make sure you plan accordingly! Booking your tickets ahead of time will help you plan this out and ensure you don’t miss a major site while you’re there.

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