There are so many spectacular cities within the country of Italy, yet most people will make sure that they make a stop in Florence when they are vacationing there. After all, this city oozes romance, even though no one needs to be there with their significant other to completely enjoy the sights before them. Everyone will love exploring the city, as they look at the extraordinary architecture, shop at the boutiques, and devour delicious foods and wine.
- Things to Do
- Do’s and Don's
- Money Saving Tips
Hotels are plentiful in Florence, yet it always possible to stay in one for a lot less than the going rate. Here are the three favorite budget friendly hotels within the city:
This wonderful hotel can be found only five minutes away from the Duomo, which is perfect for those who plan on spending their time sightseeing while on vacation. The outside of Hotel City leaves quite a bit to be desired, but every guest will dismiss their initial thoughts once they step inside to find Murano glass ceilings, hand painted frescoes, and a plethora of antiques. The rooms are not as elegant as the main spaces, but they have everything that guests will need. Breakfast is also included in the rates, which means that every guest can save money while eating pastries, meats, cheeses, and fruit every morning.
Hotel Crocini is a boutique hotel that is only approximately twenty minutes from all the popular attractions in this city. The same family has been running this hotel since 1926, which means everyone will receive excellent service, as well as have all their questions answered about where they should go and what they should do when they are there. Breakfast is served every morning buffet style, and while many guests will stay in the dining room, a few will venture out to the beautiful courtyard, especially on warmer days.
This charming hotel can be found on the top of a multi-use building and guests are encouraged to see if they can reserve one of the rooms with a balcony that overlooks the city. Some of the rooms will look out over Brunelleschi’s Dome, while others will simply have guests staring at the red roofs that seem to be everywhere in Florence. Breakfast is available every morning and coffee and tea can be enjoyed all day and night long. Every guest will love the fact that there is a self-service laundry room at this hotel, as it makes it easier when packing.
Visitors can find numerous restaurants tucked away on the streets of Florence, but everyone will want to dine at the ones that are reasonably priced and serve local cuisine. This is possible at these three restaurants:
This amazing local restaurant can be found just steps from the Uffizi Gallery and the Piazza dellaSignoria. The restaurant has been open since 1991 and it is the first of their four locations. They serve wonderful street foods that include a dry meat plate with vegetables and cheese, flavorful sandwiches, tasty pasta dishes, and wine.
This restaurant, well, actuallyfood truck, can be found near Santa Croce and they also serve fabulous street foods. In fact, visitors may want to stick to street foods for most of their meals out, as they end up being cheaper than meals in fancier restaurants, and they normally taste better too. The favorite amongst past guests is the lampredotto, which is served in a tomato-based sauce and bread.
Florence is definitely not Naples, but that doesn’t mean that visitors shouldn’t try the pizza when they are in the city. This restaurant only serves pizza, so anyone looking for a larger variety of choices will need to go elsewhere. They have more than forty different pizza options, varying from traditional Italian pizzas to the newer gourmet pies.
Things to Do
Duomo and Bell Tower
Visitors are encouraged to climb to the top of both the Duomo and the nearby Bell Tower for breathtaking views of the city. The Duomo has four hundred and seventy-six stairs, which makes many people skip the stairs at the Bell Tower. However, everyone can only see unique views of the Duomo from the top of the Bell Tower, which is why some people will climb up another four hundred plus stairs there as well.
Eat a Lot of Gelato
Not everyone realizes it, but Florence is considered to be where gelato was first created. Therefore, it seems to taste better there than anywhere else in the country. Traditional flavors like chocolate, crema, and seasonal fruit are best enjoyed from Vivoli, which has been family-run for more than eighty years. Anyone looking for more unique flavors will want to venture over to Perche’ No, which has been in business since 1939. They offer flavors that include salted caramel, Tuscan grown rose, and lavender.
Enjoy Picnics at Giardinodelle Rose
The Giardinodelle Rose is a little garden and park that is conveniently tucked away in between San Niccolo and Piazza Michelangelo. The park is approximately a hectare in size, which gives everyone just enough space for relaxation in the middle of the large city. Either before or after enjoying a complete picnic lunch, visitors will want to see the three hundred and fifty different varieties of roses, the lemon groves, sculptures, and the Japanese garden.
Visit Mercato San Lorenzo
The Mercato San Lorenzo is a covered market, so people can visit even in the coldest weather. Vendors sell everything from meats, cheeses, and baked goods to spices, olive oils, and wines. There are plenty of free samples, which makes it easy for people to buy only what they love. Anyone looking to save some cash will want to stay away from the vendors who have their signage written in English. They often charge higher prices in hopes that tourists will buy exclusively from them.
Visit the Piazza dellaSignoria
This open-air museum is completely free, which means everyone can wander around looking at the designs from the 14th century. There are dozens of sculptures for everyone to enjoy, although the most popular one is the replica of Michelangelo’s David. People can spend hours wandering around this Piazza, especially if they take the time to sit down and watch the others that are walking past, as they drink a cup of coffee from a nearby café or enjoy a cup of gelato.
Visit Piazzale Michelangelo
The Piazzale Michelangelo has the best viewpoint in the entire city, which is why it needs to be on every visitor’s must-do list. Everyone will want to be prepared to climb a treacherous flight of stairs to see those views, but the climb is worth every step, especially at night as the sun is setting over the buildings of the city.
Visit the Uffizi Gallery
The Uffizi Gallery was the first modern museum in all of Europe and it was created by the Medici family back during the end of the 16thcentury. The family’s art collection is still on display to this day, so visitors will see magnificent masterpieces that include Raphael’s Madonna of the Goldfinch, Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, and Titian’s Venus of Urbino. There are so many pieces, forty-five halls worth to be exact, that everyone is encouraged to take their time as they look around.
There are numerous replicas of Michelangelo’s David throughout the city of Florence, but the Galleria dell’Accademia is where everyone can see the original. This is quite the popular work of art though, so everyone will want to be prepared to wait their turn to capture the best view.
The Ponte Vecchio is the bridge that replaced the one that was washed away in the same location, early in the 14th century. In the beginning, this bridge was where butchers and bakers sold their items, just like they did with the old bridge. However, after some time, those people were forced out to make room for the jewel and gold trade, and those stores have been there ever since. This is now one of the oldest bridges in Italy, and it always has the crowds to prove its popularity.
Do’s and Don’ts
- Don’t try to rush through the sights or the rest of the city. This destination should be savored.
- Do plan to walk everywhere to see the intricate details of the buildings and other attractions.
- Do stay near the center of Florence if possible.
- Don’t rent a vehicle unless exploring the countryside. Parking in the city is expensive and sometimes difficult. It can also be extremely difficult to maneuver through the narrow streets.
- Don’t wear high heels to explore! The cobblestone streets and uneven sidewalks are an accident waiting to happen to anyone that attempts to wear them.
- Do buy entrance tickets prior to going to the attraction. This allows everyone to skip the lines and start having fun sooner.
- Don’t hire a guide off the street. They will be more expensive and not as knowledgeable as the ones that have their credentials.
- Do stand at a counter while eating breakfast at restaurants and cafés, as it is cheaper than sitting down and eating at a table.
- Don’t dine in tourist restaurants. Instead, seek out the restaurants that the locals venture to, as the food is more authentic, and prices are much cheaper.
- Don’t attempt to hail a taxi. The only way a person can hire a taxi to drive them places is by calling or going directly to a taxi stand.
- Do venture out of the central part of Florence to find streets filled with small trattorias, artisan shops, and gardens.
- Do begin adventures early in the day before the crowds start to form.
Money Saving Tips
- Venture off the beaten path to find restaurants and cafés that sell traditional foods for less. Street foods are also a better option than some sit down restaurants, as the prices are often cheaper.
- Enjoy free entertainment by watching those who are wandering around the piazzas and attractions. This is a great way to experience the local culture without spending a dime.
- Walk everywhere to avoid paying for public transportation. Most attractions in Florence are not too far from each other, plus everyone can enjoy the ambiance of the city more as they are strolling along.
- Order tap water when in need of a drink or risk being served expensive bottled water instead. To save more money though, it is recommended that everyone has a reusable water bottle that they can fill at the drinking fountains throughout the city.
- Purchase bottles of wine instead of wine by the glass. The bottles can then be enjoyed during picnics or during the evening when back at the hotel. This option is much cheaper than heading to a bar.
- Utilize one of the free walking tours to learn the most about the history and attractions within the city. There are at least two walking tours a day, so everyone should be able to attend one of them during their stay.
- Purchase the Firenze Card, which is a city card that covers admission to most of the major museums, allows people to skip the lines, and also provides free rides on the local buses. These cards are reasonably priced and are valid for seventy-two hours.
- To save money on souvenirs, everyone should purchase them at market stalls instead of the pricier boutiques.
- Visitors can save a ton of money on their hotel rooms, attraction tickets, and more when they travel to Florence during the off season, which is normally October through March.
Florence can be a very expensive city, as they want to charge for every little thing there. However, smart travelers can find ways to save money for everything during their visit, which means that no one needs to sacrifice anything during their vacation. Instead, most people will find that they can do more than what is on their list of must-do items in Florence, because they have extra money available from managing to save on everything that they have been doing.