Second stop, Florence, Italy. Paul’s favorite city in Italy is Florence and he was so excited to share it with me. We decided to spend a couple extra days here to make sure I had enough time to enjoy the city to the fullest and also do a day trip to Tuscany. My take away from Florence: the food is next level. Wine country (Tuscany) is next level. Overall, a must-see city with plenty to do, see, & eat.
The weather on this part of the trip was kind of funky. Since we started further North (Venice & Florence) there were major almost-Fall vibes. It wasn’t cold but it wasn’t hot, either. If I had packed accordingly it would have actually been really nice weather to explore in, but I wasn’t ready to let go of my sun dresses quite yet. It rained one day and was a little overcast and gloomy for most of the days. However, on our last full day in the city it was sunny, warm, & beautiful, just how I like it. In addition to discovering the difference between traveling and vacationing, I’ve also discovered that prime weather dictates my mood. So fingers crossed it’s always sunny & lovely, or else…
Just like in Venice, you guys supplied with me some of the best recommendations in Florence that made for some truly memorable meals. If you haven’t caught on yet, 80% of my excitement about traveling has to do with the food. I can honestly say I got curvier on this trip & I’m not mad about it. I’m just working extra hard to turn those soft curves into toned ones (hi, Joey!).
Lastly, before I get into all the details, I wanted to say that it was SUCH a pleasure to meet some of you in Florence. I was amazed to run into readers across the world (some that are studying abroad, some that live in Florence, some that DM’d me later saying they saw me LOL). It’s a very hard feeling to describe, but when a reader approaches me I’m almost star-struck to meet someone on the receiving end of my content. I’m not used to this & it’s seriously the most rewarding feeling. Hopefully one day I’ll be less awkward about the whole thing but know that you can ALWAYS come say hi if you see me out & about :) Plus, Paul [Richard] loves it!
Below is the full breakdown of everything I did in Florence. View the Italy vlog here!
-Hotel: Palazzo Castri 1874. Boutique hotel with a cute courtyard / pool area, and the breakfast spread was great! It’s hard to find breakfast usually so I was very impressed. The rooms are small, but that’s pretty standard in Italy.
-Restaurants: We made reservations for dinners since the spots we went to were popular. Our hotel helped us with this.
-Osteria Santo Spirito- My favorite meal of the entire trip! Well worth making a reservation. 3 words: truffle, mac & cheese gnocchi…DIE! It came sizzling on the plate. The entire meal was exceptional, must try!
-Trattoria 4 Leoni- We had planned on eating there for dinner but accidentally stumbled across it during lunchtime and couldn’t resist. I’m not a big meat eater, but their lasagna al forno was out of this world. I think I’ll dream about that for the rest of my life.
-Simbiosi- I picked this spot for lunch because the vibe was too cute. It looked like a wine cellar inside and they were playing this super dramatic opera music that just worked. I was really into it. The best dish here was their melon gazpacho with prosciutto & figs. It might sound a little bizarre, but trust me, you need it. Also, they were VERY generous with the truffles on my truffle pasta.
-Wine Tour- Since the countryside (Tuscany) is just a short drive outside of the city we definitely wanted to spend a day seeing the vineyards. We went with 13 Chianti Road (@13chiantiroad on IG) and the owner is a certified sommelier that will teach you so much fun wine knowledge. The 3 vineyards we hit were beautiful and offered such a lovely experience. Obviously we bought tons of wine!
-Cooking Class- I’d been dying to do this & since one day was going to rain we figured it was the perfect way to spend the day. We worked with Chef Luciano at ….. and it was one of the best days of the trip. So much fun learning to make authentic Italian food & we met some lovely people, too. I highly recommend taking a cooking class while in Italy.
The Views- Obviously Paul is addicted to sunsets so it was a priority to see as many as possible. Piazzale Michelangelo has breathtaking views of Florence but it’s very touristy. You can order a cocktail at the little restaurant up top and watch the sunset, which was very worth it. We also went up to the rooftop of the Westin Excelsior one evening for happy hour spritzs & the sunset. Super beautiful & picturesque.
The sights- The Duomo in Florence is simply unbelievable. I couldn’t stop staring at all the detail and marble on this monumental building. Honestly, aside from this I don’t think we went out of our way to see anything else. We explored across the river, which I found to be so charming, and I’m sure we saw some historic buildings along the way. I’m kind of terrible about that stuff, but you already knew that.