Visiting Florence

Hotel Recommendations

Hotel Davanzati (www.hoteldavanzati.it)
Via Porta Rossa 5
+39 055 286666

Hotel Pendini (www.florenceitaly.net/pendini)
Via Strozzi 2
+39 055 211170

Hotel Aldini (www.hotelaldini.com)
Via dei Calzaiuoli, 13,
+39 055 214 752

Pensione Pendini (reasonable)
De Rose Palace Hotel, www.hotelderose.it
Le Tre Stanze bedrooms, Via dell’Oriuolo, 43; +39-347-7959-297
Hotel Montebello Splendid, Via Montebello 60; 055-239-8051
Domus Florentiae Hotel, www.domusflorentiahotel.com

Sights
Rick Steve’s Overview

Tickets for all of Florence’s museums can be reserved in advance by calling +39 055 294 883.  This way you skip the long lines (especially in the summer) and can get right into the museum.  The reservation charge is €4/ticket, paid at the time of ticket pick-up.

The Accademia is the home of Michelangelo’s “David” – a must-see for any visitor to Florence.

The Uffizi Gallery houses a huge collection of beautiful Renaissance art, including Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus.”

The Duomo and Baptistry are not to be missed.  You can climb to the top of the Duomo or the campanile (bell tower) – pick one or the other, as the view is the same.  I’d recommend the campanile because, although it’s slightly higher, you get a nice view of the Duomo, as well.  The cost to climb up is roughly €6/person.  It can get crowded, as there’s only one staircase for people going up and down.

Palazzo Pitti has the beautiful Boboli Gardens in its backyard.  Definitely worth a stop if the weather is nice; gorgeous views of Florence and the Tuscan countryside.

Ponte Vecchio (literally “old bridge”) dates to the 1300s.  It’s now home to many expensive jewelry shops and is one of Florence’s best-known landmarks.

Restaurants

Il Latini. Via dei Palchetti 6/r.  +39 055 21 09 16. www.illatini.com Quite the dining experience.  There’s no written menu; the waiter just tells you your options for the various courses.  Known for its Florentine steak (which is served extremely rare, almost still mooing!) and it’s lively atmosphere.  There are two seatings each night – one at 19:30 and one at 21:30.  Reservations are a must and smaller parties are often grouped together at large tables, so you might even make some new friends!

Da Garibaldi. Piazza del Mercato Centrale 38.  +39 055 21 22 67.  Delicious traditional Italian food.  Located not far from the train station.

I Due Frattelini.www.iduefratellini.com. Via dei Cimatori 38/r,  Well-located near the Duomo; great place to grab a quick sandwich and a glass of prosecco/chianti for lunch.  No formal seating available, but most people just stand and eat/drink or sit on the curb.  The pecorino, arugula, and truffle sandwich was to die for – and less than €3! It’s just off their main Corso between the Duomo and Piazza della Signoria (second to last left off Corso coming from the Duomo, you’ll see it immediately on the left when you turn…probably because you’ll run into the line). The sandwich place is a great quick stop during a day of touring.

La Giostra. Borgo Pinti 12/r. www.ristorantelagiostra.com.  +39 055 24 13 41.  A bit pricey, but very delicious Tuscan food.  The pear and pecorino ravioli is amazing.  Complimentary prosecco and appetizers.  If you’re a young American woman, you might even find yourself with some free dessert wine, courtesy of the waiters.

Santo Bevitore. www.ilsantobevitore.com. – sleek and swanky with beautiful people and food; also means you must make a reservation.

Osteria De’ Benci Cafe’, Firenze, via de’ Benci, 9r
Tel: 05/5216887
The pasta was great, and the Chianina beef (Florentine specialty – thick beef, usually cooked rare) was amazing.

Moyo via dei benci, 23
Tel:055 247 9738
Trendy Aperitivo on the same street as Osteria De Benci.

“Osteria di Giovanni” in via del Moro. Run by Giovanni Latini and his American daughter Caterina.

On via Santo Spirito in Oltrarno- Olio and Convivium,  Santo Bevitore, Cingiale bianco – all great. Next door to Santo Bevitore they have an amazing wine bar/ deli. Really tiny though, so you’d want to go on the early side.
Also in the Oltrarno, Osteria Quattro Leoni – amazing pastas.

Gelato

Gelateria dei Neri. Via dei Neri 20.  My personal favorite gelateria in Florence.  Delicious, creamy flavors.

Vivoli. Via Isole delle Stinche 7.  Another excellent gelateria – some say better than Gelateria dei Neri, but you’ll just have to try both and decide for yourself!

A Panoramic View:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piazzale_Michelangelo