Florence is the obvious travel destination for all epicureans. Whether you’re in it for the food, the wine, the art, the architecture, or the fashion, Florence has it all. Especially in the spring, when the light “beautifies” the typical terracotta buildings. A few weeks ago I was in it for all of the above – plus the bachelorette of one of my best friends who wanted to celebrate the art of living well in Italy before getting hitched!
There’s only one piece of advice one can give to anyone who visits Florence: walk around. Leave your uncomfortable shoes at home (Italy is the mothership of leather shoes so you’ll definitely find some beautiful ones to buy on site – we did at Gilardini’s!) and take the time to stroll around the city.
Florence is one of these places you have to make time for both during the day and the night. During the day, its streets can be so crowded by tourists (irrespective of the time of year) that you will likely miss out on some narrow alleys or architectural embellishments on its buildings. That’s the best time to visit one of its museums. The combination of architecture and art will make you wonder how locals are not constantly distracted by the surrounding beauty when they walk to work.
Once the city empties at night, one gets to see a completely different side of the city, romantic and quiet, almost melancholic. Walk along the Arno and enjoy the silence on Piazza della Signora; the feeling is almost mystical and I’ve often asked myself whether the sculptures come to life when the Piazza is completely empty.
As you wander around the city, don’t hesitate to cross the Arno. The river’s south bank is home to many delicious restaurants where Florentines go to, the Palazzo Pitti, Piazza Michelangenlo and its stunning view. Make the detour to Piazza Santo Spirito, where the party happens. With its affordable cocktails and improvised live concerts, Volume is the place to be. This is where I’ve recurrently had my best night of partying in Florence.
For foodies like me, walking around Florence is like a culinary treasure hunt. All bars serve apperitivo in the afternoon (Le volpi e l’uva offers an excellent selection of Tuscan wines), the local produce is bound to make your taste buds dance and the gelato will make you forget any other ice cream you’ve tasted before. In Florence, it’s all about indulging.
But Florence wouldn’t be Florence without Tuscany. If you have time to explore the beautiful countryside, head to Villa Medicea di Lilliano at only 20 minutes from the city centre. Hidden between vineyards and olive trees, the renovated former Medici farmhouse has become the magical setting for weddings and parties. We took the guided tour and wine tasting; a good opportunity to learn more about Chianti wines (we were drinking them throughout your stay after all). The setting is absolutely gorgeous; the perfect location for an improvised “photoshoot” between the bride-to-be and her friends!