A day in Florence, Italy

***Warning – long post ahead so grab a drink and a biscuit!***

We left not so bright and not so early on the day we were supposed to go to Florence, and with a fair amount of driving to get there, we arrived around 11am in the city.

Once the car parked, we headed straight into the city centre looking for an early lunch. First stop was Mercato di San Lorenzo, a covered market where the locals do their grocery shopping.

Mercato di San Lorenzo Florence

Don’t get fooled by the market rustic feel at the entrance! Head toward the middle of the building and upstairs where you will find a very trendy indoor food market. You can order from various market stalls and sit down to enjoy your pick. That was lunch sorted for us!

Mercato di San Lorenzo FlorenceMercato di San Lorenzo Florence

Once done with our respective panini and pizza, we headed out toward the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, one of the most famous sights in Florence.

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore Florence

The facade of the cathedral will probably remind you of Siena‘s cathedral. White and dark marbles cover the outside walls. A true architectural wonder!

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore FlorenceCathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore Florence

Make sure to visit the inside which is as impressive as the outside with its ceiling frescos.

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore inside Florence

Here is a little tip for the best view of Florence cathedral! Walk to the back of the Cathedral and head toward the Biblioteca delle Oblate (the public library), enter the library, go to the top floor and tadaaaaah! One of the best views of the cathedral! It’s our little secret now, don’t tell anyone!

Biblioteca delle Oblate FlorenceBiblioteca delle Oblate Florence

Back in the street, we headed to our next stop, the famous Gilli on Piazza della Repubblica for a coffee break.

Gilli Florence

Well caffeinated, we started our walk through Florence streets and markets and walked to the Palazzo Vecchio.

Florence streetFlorence streetPalazzo Vecchio Florence

On the outside, you will find an ‘outdoor’ museum (the Loggia) with multiple statues displayed, some very famous such as David’s statue.

Loggia Florence

As we were running a little bit late that day, we decided not to visit the museum, however, I visited it before and if you have the time it is ABSOLUTELY worth it!

Palazzo Vecchio Florence

We quickly swung by Piazza di Santa Croce to have a look at the Basilica of Santa Croce.

Florence streetBasilica of Santa Croce

Our next stop, Ponte Vecchio of course! If you have only seen one picture of Florence ever, chances are it is one of the Ponte Vecchio.

Ponte VecchioPonte Vecchio

Now, let’s be real here, it is PACKED with tourists so being on the bridge itself isn’t that pleasant. So make sure to dedicate plenty of time to take pictures of the bridge rather than being on it.

Ponte Vecchio

The bridge is famously covered with houses and shops, almost all of them are jewellery stores! Unsurprisingly, you will see women stopping a lot and men pulling them away from the shops’ windows (a little gender cliche but I was myself guilty!).

Ponte Vecchio shopsPonte Vecchio shops

Once on the other side, we took a moment to appreciate the views of the Corridoio Vasariano and the river Arno, before heading toward Piazzale Michelangelo.

Corridoio Vasariano Florence

We climbed, and climbed, and climbed, and started to have a glimpse of the breathtaking view that was waiting for us at the top.

Florence viewFlorence viewFlorence view

Make sure to reach Piazzale Michelangelo for the sunset. You will be in for a treat of a lifetime!

Piazzale Michelangelo

We took a few pictures, but it was getting so busy that we decided to look for a quieter spot and to climb even higher to Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte.

Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte FlorencAbbazia di San Miniato al Monte Florenc

We visited the hilltop church which is tiny so it only takes 10 minutes and then sat to watch the sunset.

Florence sunset

Once the sun was fully gone for the day, we headed back down looking for a nice spot for dinner and ended at Trattoria Cammillo which I highly recommend.

Trattoria Cammillo Florence

Here you go! If you have a day in Florence, follow our steps and you won’t be disappointed!

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Gilli – Florence, Italy

One thing Italians do extremely well, among many other things, is coffee or caffè!

Sitting at a terrace to sip on an espresso is an integral part of the Italian lifestyle. Which is the same for French people! So I just felt at home when taking a sit at a table on Gilli‘s terrace in Florence!

Gilli FlorenceGilli Florence

Gilli is an institution in Florence. It has been serving coffee to the locals since 1733. You will find it on the main square, Piazza della Repubblica, right in the centre of town.

Gilli Florence

The interior is very elegant, real interior goals if you like grand and classic design. But if you are visiting on a warm day, take a sit on the huge terrace and watch the world passing by.

Pick from their selection of coffees – espresso, caffè freddo, cappuccino, the world is your oyster!

Now the most difficult decision you will have to make is if you also fancy a little bit of food and more particularly a sweet treat. Gilli’s shop windows are decorated with the most beautiful and delicious-looking treats. And this is only the outside!

Gilli shop window Florence

Go inside and pick from a huge selection of colourful pastries. Cannolis, fruit tarts, chocolate cakes, pick the best looking one!

We went for coffees only, I picked a cold cappuccino and Andrew went for an espresso with a little bit of chocolate in it (I forgot the name, sorry!). It is good to note that you will be served a selection of biscuits with your coffee, so if you are not very hungry don’t order a pastry, save your appetite for these!

Gilli coffee Florence

So does it really worth visiting Gilli? I would say yes, once, for the experience. The coffees are good, but the place is a little bit pretentious and you can tell the prices reflect some of the waiters’ attitude. We had a lovely time there and I am glad we went, but I don’t feel the need to rush back.

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Trattoria Cammillo – Florence, Italy

Looking for a place for a nice dinner in Florence? Look no further!

But first make sure to enjoy the views of the sunset over Florence from the Piazzale Michelangelo. It is a must if you are ever visiting Florence! Enjoy the best view of Florence Cathedral, also known as Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, and look at the colours changing over the city while the mountains start to appear in the background.

Florence sunset viewFlorence sunset view
Had enough? Feeling hungry? Good!

Head down toward the city centre but stay on the south bank of the Arno river. Walk along the Arno on Borgo S. Jacopo street. After a 15-minutes walk you should reach Trattoria Cammillo!

Trattorio Cammillo outside Florence

The traditional trattoria is something out of a movie! The outside is vintage and very welcoming after a long day walking around the city.

The interior is very traditional and the waiters seem to have worked there their entire life. All of them are very elegant, extremely knowledgeable and their service is delivered with a bit of Italian wit, which oh so charming. You can tell they are very proud to work at Trattoria Cammillo!

Trattoria Cammillo Florence

Pick a glass of wine (or a bottle) from the extensive wine menu.

One tip, if like me you feel overwhelmed when choosing wine, when in Tuscany you can never really go wrong by ordering a Chianti or a Montepulciano!

Trattoria Cammillo

Now the food… Oh the food!!!

Once again, just like in an American romantic comedy where the hero goes to Italy to find themselves, the meaning of life and eat all the food. The plates are simple, the dishes are traditional, and everything is delicious.

We weren’t feeling very adventurous that night and went for classics, and Trattoria Cammillo didn’t disappoint. A caprese salad to start (tomato and mozzarella).

Trattoria Cammillo caprese salad

Followed by the most delicious mushroom pasta, COVERED with fresh truffle and parmesan!

Trattoria Cammillo mushroom truffle pasta

We ended the dinner happy and full, very, very full, as the before and after pictures below demonstrate!

Trattoria CammilloTrattoria Cammillo

We didn’t book a table and were very lucky as Trattoria Cammillo can get really busy! I would definitely recommend making a reservation if you can.

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Italian News

There is something about the Italian language, isn’t it? This headlines may very well be very negative or aggressive (Berlusconi anyone?) but the the letters seem to create the loveliest little chain of sounds. Ah Italy… You have my heart for sure.

Florence – 2010

Florence - 2010