How to Spend a Saturday in Firenze
Need a break from the hustle and bustle of Roma? You cannot come to Italy without exploring the city known as the Birthplace of the Renaissance. Whether you are spending just a day in Florence or an entire week, this charming Italian city will keep you pleasantly captured by its historic presence, abundance of restaurants and cafés, and Renaissance artwork. With the help of Roman Candle Tours, enjoy a fulfilling day in Firenze with a fascinating tour, breathtaking views of the Duomo, a look at Michelangelo’s David, and a refreshing glass of Chianti Classico. Here is my advice on how to spend the perfect Saturday in Florence.
After a good night’s sleep at one of Florence’s many Air BnBs, hotels, or hostels, head out for a hearty breakfast at one of Florence’s most trendy cafés. La Ménagère (Via de Ginori 8), Ditta Artigianale Oltrarno (Via dello Sprone 5R), or Le Vespe Cafè (Via Ghibellina 76). Here you can find a variety of breakfast options for a traveler’s budget. Warning: the classic Italian breakfast including a cornetto and a cappuccino might not be enough for your full day in Florence, so be sure to order enough fuel for an exciting morning. I highly recommend the pancakes at La Ménagère, yogurt with granola and Croque Madame at Ditta, and rice bowl at Le Vespe. You can’t go wrong with a caffè, caffè latte, or cappuccino at any of these places!
For your first morning activity, enjoy a stellar, three-hour tour provided by Roman Candle Tours. Roman Candle Tours offer exquisite tours of the Accademia and other must-sees in Florence in addition to the Uffizi and Santa Croce. With Roman Candle Tours, you will have a private guide to inform you all about Florence’s history, answer your questions, and even take a photo of you in front of the Duomo and admiring the David. Roman Candle Tours covers all the main attractions in the city of Florence. Sites include the Accademia, the Duomo, Piazza della Signoria, the Ponte Vecchio, the Uffizi, and Santa Croce. Don’t waste your precious time in Florence waiting in line and not knowing what beauty and history surrounds you. Your guide will have you covered. Roman Candle Tours conveniently meet at your hotel, the train station, or in the city center. Convenience is the number one priority for your vacation!
After an exceptional tour ending near the Ponte Vecchio or the Uffizi, take a very short walk to All’Antico Vinaio for a snack. Be prepared to wait in line; this is Florence’s most popular spot for a panino! For 5 euros, you will indulge in an amazing sandwich loaded with meat, cheese, and vegetables. The Summer is my personal favorite with prosciutto, arugula, tomato, and balsamic! All’Antico Vinaio attracts locals and travelers alike. Afterwards, take a stroll to the Mercato Centrale in the San Lorenzo neighborhood. Here you will find the downstairs a busy, live market with vendors selling their fresh produce (cheese, bread, baked goods, fish, meat, vegetables, fruits, pantry items) to local Italians. Buy some artisan pasta, olive oil, and wine to commemorate your trip to Florence. If you find yourself still hungry after your panino, take the escalator upstairs to choose from a variety of classic and modern Italian dishes. Pizza, pasta, meat and cheese platers, hamburgers, cannoli. There is a full wine bar offering 5 euro glasses of Chianti Classico in addition to a bar serving beer and an afternoon pick-me-up in the form of a rich caffè (espresso). The Mercato Centrale is a must-see in Florence. There is also a new location in Rome that opening in fall of 2016.
Burn off your lunch calories by climbing the Duomo or Bell Tower. At the top, you will discover breathtaking views of Florence and beyond. Prepare yourself to be in a tight space for half an hour on your way up and down. The stairs are narrow with lots of climbers, but it is so worth it to see Florence from above. There’s a 15 euro ticket you can purchase online or at the GrandeMuseo (located behind the Duomo). This includes access to the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Brunelleschi’s famous Dome, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Baptistery of San Giovanni, the Crypt of Santa Reparata, and the Opera Museum. It’s mandatory to make a reservation to climb the Dome and highly recommended to make a reservation to climb the Bell Tower and see the Museum. Try to plan you climb for 4 PM, because golden hour is truly magical in Florence, especially with the unreal views. 15 euros is a bargain to climb and explore! Don’t forget your camera for this excursion!
Following a brief nap and shower, partake in the Italians’ tradition of aperitivo, a drink and light refreshments prior to dinner with friendly, Italian personogi. Many hotels and restaurants in Florence offer aperitivo which is served typically between 6 and 8 PM. Remember Italians enjoy their dinner ‘piano, piano’ at a later hour! You can’t do aperitivo without a spritz, the aperitivo drink. Aperol spritz is a refreshing cocktail consisting of aperol, sparkling wine, and club soda. Many Italians sip on spritzes and munch on potato chips during aperitivo. For aperitivo in Florence, try Irene Firenze overlooking Piazza Repubblica. Make reservations to solidify your spot!
For dinner after your fantastic day in Florence, devour a pizza at Santarpia . It is a bit of a walk but fairly close to Santa Croce. This is the best pizza place in town! Costs range from 8-11 euros for a handmade pie. Reservations are a must here (you can’t eat without one), and the place is packed every night with Florentines. The modern interior, mouthwatering pizza, and cordial wait staff makes this place the ultimate pizza dining experience. La Margherita Gialla is my personal favorite here! Red wine pairs perfectly with a delicious pizza.
Gelato is a must for dessert in Italy. Gelateria Edoardo’s is a very popular spot, and you can enjoy your artisan gelato in a handmade cone right in front of the Duomo! Cinnamon or chocolate and pistachio is a great combination. Does it get any better than that? Practice your Italian by ordering: Io vorrei un cono piccolo con…
Finish off your Saturday with an evening passeggiata (walk or stroll). If you have enough energy, try and make it up to Piazzale Michelangelo. You have a stunning, panoramic view of the city at night, and there are often live musicians playing on the steps to set the mood. If climbing up a relatively large hill is too much, a nice stroll along the Arno to admire the Ponte Vecchio and neighboring bridges is just as nice. Florence certainly comes to life at night, especially on Saturday nights when the local and study abroad students emerge from their apartments to hang out at Florence’s local bars and clubs.
You certainly can’t squeeze Florence into one day, but this day has the main attractions covered. Enjoy your Saturday with a five-star tour, unforgettable food, and awestriking scenes. Florence looks forward to your return!
Written by: Emma LeMay
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