One of my favourite things about Italy is that no matter what part of it I’ve been to it’s always been beautiful and the food has always been incredible! A few weeks ago me and James took a break in Italy, we stayed in Pisa, rented a car and explored Cinque Terre and Florence while we were there. In case you missed it, you can see our guide to Cinque Terre here with lots of helpful tips! Today though, we’re going to be talking about Florence!
As I mentioned before we rented a car and it took us just over an hour to get to Florence from Pisa. Parking there can be a little tricky due to the ZTL. Basically, you can’t drive into the City walls unless you are a resident or have a permit. If you cross into the ZTL then it’s a costly error as you can incur a fine of up to €100 each time you enter it. (yikes)
That being said, after a bit of research we found two spots to park which were within walking distance from the the centre of Firenze and wasn’t too expensive. Firstly, wherever you park, make sure it’s within the blue lines as they are general parking. White spaces are for residents or people with permits.
We parked at the Piazza de Michelangelo which offers stunning panoramic views across the Florence skyline which is great to get a few snaps! It was more expensive to park than the train station, €2 for the first hour then €1.50 after that, and make sure you’ve got plenty of change because the machine will not take notes. We made that mistake so James had to make a big old trek up the hill half way through the day to pay for more hours!
Another option is Porta Romana, which we drove past on our way up to the Piazza De Michaelangelo…but despite the trek into town, it was worth it for the views. If you want to park further away from the centre, then look at Via del Sansovino. You can get a tram in and parking is a lot cheaper.
Once you’ve made your way into the city it’s time to explore! Our first mission was to find a restaurant to have lunch in because quite frankly, I get hangry if I’ve got an empty stomach! We ended up in a cute little place called Trattoria Alfredo quite by accident, but I was glad we did! The food was reasonably priced and very tasty! I had the creamy tomato and mushroom tagliatelle while James had his all time favourite Italian dish, cannelloni!
We then spent most of the day just wondering through the streets turning whichever way took our fancy! If you’re there on a Thursday make sure you check out the flower market on Piazza Della Republicca (under the arched portico), unfortunately we just missed it because it runs from 9am – 4pm and after we had changed our car park ticket it had all packed up but i’ve heard it’s absolutely beautiful! Even if you don’t plan on buying flowers it’s worth it just to stroll through and admire all of the pretty blooms!
Obviously you HAVE to see The Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore! It’s made in the most incredible gothic style with dainty pink and green details and is just one of those pieces of architecture that makes your jaw drop! The detail in the design is unbelievable, we didn’t get chance to go inside but I would recommend it if you have time.
Also, keep an eye out for the old fashioned photo booths! We found one just around the corner from the cathedral and it was only €2 for a strip of four photos! I absolutely love keeping little souvenirs from trips and this one was perfect!
We stopped for some gelato as we were exploring (you really can’t go to Italy and not have gelato) & then headed to The Ponche Vecchio, which is the most famous bridge in Florence, not only is it very beautiful but it has shops all the way along it making it one of the craziest and unique bridges I’ve ever walked across!
Once it was time for dinner we looked at various menus of different restaurants until we decided on Tavernetta Della Signoria, there was so much choice on the menu and once we finally decided what we were having we were not disappointed! I opted for a classic bruschetta to start while James picked a bruschetta that came with cured Italian metals. Then for the main I had the most INCREDIBLE seafood linguine with clams, mussels & prawns & James had a pork tagliatelle cooked in truffle oil. Honestly the food was incredible and we topped it off with coffee and probably one of the richest and dreamiest hot chocolates I’ve ever had! The staff were also very friendly and accommodating!
All in all I think we walked over 16,000 steps that day (according to the ol’ fitbit) so make sure you wear super comfortable shoes as in my opinion one of the best things to do in Florence is simply wander through the streets admiring the character and charm of this beautiful city! xx
Don’t forget if you have any more tips for fellow travellers and honeymooners then please drop us a comment below with your suggestions, the more advice the merrier! And if you want to see more of our travel pieces, then click here! xx