Art, architecture, food, culture and history….Florence has it all. The nucleus of the Renaissance should be at the top of your travel list if you haven’t already visited. Unlike Rome and Milan, Florence has a much more “homey” feel to it. It’s easy to immerse oneself in the Florentine lifestyle and find yourself never wanting to leave. This guide is a compilation of our favorite attractions, restaurants, accommodations, and things to do. Plus we also provided a few helpful phrases that you’ll want to leverage not only in Florence but all throughout Italy. We have built this Florence city guide over the last few years after living in Florence and having returned on an annual basis. If you have any specific questions about Florence, please feel free to contact us.
Updated June 2018
Skyscanner commissioned us to put together a blog featuring the best hotels in Florence, so it’s safe to say we have pretty thoroughly vetted the best hotels in Florence.
As far as location within the city, we suggest one of the following areas: Piazza del Duomo, Piazza Santo Spirito, Piazza Santa Croce, Piazza Santa Maria Novella or Piazza del Carmine. Each piazza has a unique vibe and is within walking distance to any of the main attractions in Florence.
The best hotels in Florence include:
Plus Hostel is also one of, if not the most, popular hostels in Florence and offers a unique location a bit outside the center. With more of a local vibe and a short 5-minute walk to the train station, this is a great option for young travelers.
We have never actually stayed in a hotel. They are quite honestly overpriced and a bit touristy. While opulent, they provide a type of experience we are not typically looking for in Florence. We leverage Airbnb in Florence (and most parts of Italy) for a number of reasons. Italian hosts are the kings and queens of Airbnb. They do a fantastic job of cultivating the type of experience that Airbnb intends to create. They often provide breakfast, tend to your needs, and one time our favorite host even came over to teach us an Italian cooking class! Airbnbs in Florence also provides you the opportunity to stay in more local neighborhoods and have more of a local vibe during your stay. The Piazza Duomo is lovely, but it is crowded and loud. We prefer Oltrarno (other side of the Arno) where it is more local, quiet, and peaceful. The only noises you tend to here on this side are Vespas echoing on the brick buildings.
The food you’ll eat in Florence will definitely be some of, if not the best, food you enjoy on your trip to Italy. This is one of many reasons that Florence is one of our 20 best destinations for couples. We make an effort to update this Florence guide as often as possible, as we are always trying new restaurants and caffes when we visit Florence each year. This blog does not include all of our favorites restaurants in Florence, because we choose to only promote the ones that are already popular. A number of our favorite restaurants are hole-in-the-wall osterias and trattorias that we do not include in blogs and social media posts. These restaurants are local favorites where you will likely never see another tourist. To keep them that way, we keep them out of the blog and social media.
Our current list of best restaurants in Florence is:
1. Buca Lapi – Our favorite restaurant in Florence
Buca Lapi opened in 1880 and has been serving Florentines the best bistecca in the world ever since.
2. Osteria Santo Spirito – Hand-made pasta, bistecca, fish dishes, health options
3. Il Latini – For the family style offering and the history
Il Latini is over 100 years old and is a traditional family style Tuscan restaurant. They have a flat rate of 50 EUR/person which is all you can eat and all the wine you can drink. Remember, it is a marathon, not a sprint.
4. Gusta Pizza – (Neapolitan style pizza that will blow your mind for only about 6 or 7 EUR. Be sure to get your pizza to go and eat it on the bridge over the Arno River.)
5. Riva D’Arno – The second pizza opening under the Gusta Pizza family
6. Yellow Bar – Hand-made pasta and delicious brick oven pizza
7. All’Antico Vinaio – Best Panini in Florence
Other favorites: Borgo Antico, Acqua al 2, Gusta Panino
Florence is the birthplace of gelato. Having been created for the Medici family, it remains the most popular dessert in Florence. The top spot is highly coveted, but 3 gelaterias deserve to be mentioned along with the best flavors at each spot:
Gelateria de Neri
Florence has something for everyone. Some of the most popular museums in the world and some of the most fun pubs you’ll find anywhere. Some of the best attractions in Florence include:
Florence has a number of night clubs/discoteques as well as many local pubs. If you’re looking for a fun night out, try any of the following venues:
From Florence, these are the 5 best Italian day trips you can take.
Knowing a few phrases and words in the local language is always very important. Here are a few to help you get around Florence.
Ciao – Hello
Buon giorno – Hello
Come stai? – How are you? (Informal)
Come sta? – How are you? (Formal)
Bene – Good
Ciao – Goodbye (see, this is easy)
Vorrei ____ – I would like ____
Posso avere _____? – May I have _____?
Grazie – Thank you
Prego – You’re welcome
Parli inglese? – Do you speak English?
Dove ______? – Where is _____?
Be sure to avoid tourist traps in Florence.