Florence, or Firenze as it’s said in Italian, preferably with a flawless rolling “r”, is my favorite city in the world. This extraordinarily beautiful Tuscan capital city is the place that Rob and I plan to live for 3-6 months of the year once our daughter is in college. For me living in Italy is not a dream, it’s a necessity. I’m drawn to the Italian culture, history but especially the Italian people that inhabit this historic city which was developed by Julius Caesar himself. There is just something that is perfectly imperfect about the Italians. Maybe it’s the passionate way that a verbal quarrel can ensue like clockwork over a shared weekly dinner between friends, where the topic is which local farm produces the best olive oil. Maybe it’s the ridiculous red-tape that you encounter when you need to do something as simple as cash a travelers check; it can make you feel like you’re on an medieval Italian hamster wheel where the end result is surely to end in domani or tomorrow. Maybe it’s the arts and how, regardless of age, income or education, Italians have seemingly read and can passionately discuss the most important pieces of historical literature; just as we discuss who should have won the American Idol. Maybe it is the way the crema sits perfectly on the espresso. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s the effortless designs in my cappuccino that makes me feel like the local barista is a descendant of Botticelli or da Vince. The reality is that I love Florence for all of these reasons. Simply put, I have fallen head-over-heels in deep amore with Florence and it has become impossible for me to ever become satiated. Therefore, there is only one remedy for this love-sickness. Book another wonderful week, which is never enough, in Florence!
The planning of my upcoming trip has my head spinning with excitement. So, I thought I’d share with you my perfect Florence experience!
When to Go:
Personally, I love Florence in the fall or winter because it’s not overrun with fanny pack wearing tourists crowding the Michelangelo’s David and the temperatures are relatively mild year round.
Best Place(s) to Stay:
Florence is a perfect walking city, nothing is too far away and you want to avoid having to take taxis. For me, staying in the city center of Florence is important. I like to skip the hotel breakfast and head to a local cafe for a pastry and cappuccino with the locals. The experience of breakfast in a cafe is memorable and addicting, as are the chocolate pastries! Here are my Florence hotel favorites:
Lungarno Hotel: The Lungarno is on the River Arno. From some of the rooms you will feel like you can actually reach out and touch the Ponte Vecchio. The Lungarno has multiple properties with different prices ranges and locations. There is one to fit every taste and budget.
The Savoy: Located on my favorite square in Florence. The Savoy sits directly on the Piazza Repubblica about a block or two from the famous Duomo. This is a five star, ultra luxurious property where you can always expect the best.
JK Place: The hippest boutique hotel in Florence is the JK. Don’t expect a traditional Italian decor. This place is as funky as it gets.
Best Place to Eat:
Food in Italy can never be bad, especially in Tuscany! The olive oil that you’ll taste here is like nothing you’ve ever experienced. The one thing I love about Italy is that the restaurants only use the freshest ingredients. The result is once again perfection.
La Giostra: All I really have to say is that during my last trip to Florence, I ate at this restaurant 4 times. It’s my personal favorite for ambiance, food, unique EVERYTHING! If you go to Florence and skip this restaurant, you will be making a HUGE mistake. This little dark restaurant is owned and operated by a father-son team who just happen to be Hapsburg Lorena princes. Everything on the menu is delicious and cooked to perfection!
Best Place to Splurge:
Shopping in Florence is obviously amazing. The tiniest of children look like they had a stylist put together their daily attire. One of my favorite things to do is go with my husband for a custom made Italian shirt, or two, or three!
Simone Abbarchi: Simone is the best of the best. He is a true tailor, and knows the ins and outs of designing the perfect men’s shirt or suit. You pick the material, color, buttons, collar, cuffs…everything. It’s a fun experience. He’s so amazing that he customizes the shirt down to allowing room on the cuff that you wear your watch so it fits just perfectly.
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