I had read “Under the Tuscan sun” and was hoping to live the Tuscan dream myself at least for a few days. The public holidays in May were a perfect timing to plan a sunny weekend in Italy.
One of my dear friends had spent 2 years in Firenze and kept telling me how beautiful the city is. I was lucky to get her hotel, museum and restaurant recommendations for my trip, which made it even more special.
If you do want to stay in the city centre and enjoy some really nice views, I strongly recommend the hotel Della Signoria. It is ideally located close to the Vecchio bridge and the main Piazza della Signoria. The rooms are large, clean and very comfortable. One of the highlights is definitely the breakfast view.
When you stay in Florence, do as the locals and enjoy the “passeggiata”. It is very common to go and stay out late at night, walking around the city, enjoying the views and the pleasant weather while tasting one of their delicious gelati. For authentic gelati, head to Neri on the other side of the piazza della Signoria or to the gelateria Santa Trinita right at the end of the Santa Trinita bridge. Most of those places are open till midnight.
If you feel a need for a good coffee and a delicious torta del nonno or a torta della nonna, Gilli is the place to stop by.
Another common Tuscan habit would be the “aperitivo”, which is like the local happy hour. Right after work, you can head to a bar like Zoe, have a drink and enjoy a delicious antipasti buffet for only a few euros.
To escape the city centre and enjoy the greenery, the Boboli gardens are worth a visit. For the best views above Florence, you can head to Fiesole with the bus number 7.
As for museums, it is best to book your tickets a few months in advance, especially for the Uffizi, or even the Galleria dell’Academia, where you will see the beautiful David from Michelangelo.
If you like antiques, leather shoes, jewelry and wish to see local craftsmen work, don’t forget to visit the Oltrarno. You can also walk around one of those traditional Sunday markets on Piazza Santo Spirito and stop for lunch at Gustapanino.
Another beautiful town to visit is Sienna. While Florence offers a nice combination of medieval and Renaissance buildings, Sienna is definitely a medieval city, with lots of traditions and events, such as the famous Palio race. In this city, it is best to wear sneakers and be ready for a little hike as most streets can be quite steep.
When you come to Tuscany, you should allow for some time to explore the Tuscan countryside, villages such as San Gimigniano, taste the famous Tuscan wine and enjoy the dolce vita.
What did strike me the most in Tuscany, apart from the delicious food, were the vibrant colours : from ochre houses to the green countryside. It is definitely a place worth exploring and where I could picture living myself for a few months.
Some of my favourite places in Tuscany :
Hotel Della Signoria – Via delle Terme, 1 – Firenze
Gustapanino – Piazza Santa Spirito – Firenze
Caffé Gilli – Piazza della Repubblica – Firenze
Gelateria Dei Neri – Via dei Neri 26 – Firenze
Gelateria Santa Trinita – Piazza Frescobaldi 11 – Firenze
La Martinicca – Via del Sole 27 – Firenze
Zoe – Via dei Renai 13 – Firenze
Osteria Le Logge – Via del Porrione 33 – Siena