Welcome to Florence!
Visiting a city as old as Florence, Italy, you will undoubtedly learn the secrets and hidden treasures all around. A town saturated with tourists, the locals really know where those hidden gems are.
Florence is the capital of Tuscany and is one of the most visited cities, not only in Italy but in the world. Florence was the center of European trade and commerce during the medieval era. During the Renaissance, the city was home to some of the most important people of the time, including Raphael, Galileo, Michelangelo, and Machiavelli. This only scratches the surface of Florence’s list of notable people.
Florence is a beautiful and culturally important city, but the fact is that the city is very popular with tourists from all over the world. This means that there are a multitude of Florence hotels and restaurants, but if you want to experience Florence like a local, declaring yourself as an honorary Florentine, you’ll want to venture to less popular paths. Here’s how you’ll get to see the less touristy side of Florence and become a worldwide local.
Worldwide Local Tip: As with much of Europe, Florence’s public transport is pretty good. Avoid cars by using the tram system instead. There is, also, a bike sharing platform available to rent a bike for 1 Euro/20 minutes.
Where and What to Eat
Italian food is known worldwide as being some of the best. You need not travel far to find a place that serves the classics like pizza or pasta. Locating authentic dishes, as found in Italy, is not quite as easy. There’s no doubt that if you find yourself in Florence you’re going to want some amazing Italian food. Head to the Sant’Ambrogio District, a part of town that is less concerned with tourists and is a lot more local-oriented. The area is vibrant and bustling with food markets and vendors.
Worldwide Local Tip: If you’re traveling on a budget, visit a tavola calda (a stall selling snacks and small meals). You can usually get a sandwich and something to drink for a couple of Euros.
If you’re looking for a more quintessential Florentine thing to do, enjoy gelato like a local. Gelato shops are ubiquitous in the city, but a worldwide local would avoid the more touristy parts of town. You can visit Gelateria La Carraia to pick up a scoop or two. Afterwards, head south of the Arno River to Ponte Vecchio. Here you can sit by the water and enjoy uninterrupted views of one of Florence’s biggest attractions.
Worldwide Local Tip: Food served around tourist attractions will likely be more expensive. To make it easier on your wallet, take a long walk in the lovely Florence weather, and venture outside of the central areas for more affordable dining options.
Florence Hot Spots
Now that you’ve eaten some of the tastiest things around town, why not get out and see the city? If you’re looking for a view like no other, wander over to nearby Fiesole. The town of Fiesole, approximately a 30-minute bus ride outside of Florence, is a great place to see an awesome view of the city. This town itself is rich with history, from the explorable Roman bathhouses to their very own il Duomo (Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore). Fiesole was a favorite summer retreat for the Medici Family, and it’s significantly less touristy than Florence proper.
Worldwide Local Tip: If you’re feeling adventurous, travel to Monte Ceceri Hill to discover the small plaque noting where Leonardo Da Vinci tried to fly in 1506.
Catch the Best Sunrise
Locals know that you can find great photo opportunities in the city by exploring Piazzale Michelangelo. This is a pretty popular spot for watching the sunset over the city, and while it is beautiful, there will likely be a crowd. Arrive in the morning, when it is a little more empty, to catch the sun rising over Florence. When you venture back to town, most tourist-heavy spots will still be empty, so you can enjoy them without having to fight through a crowd.
Appreciate Florence as a Worldwide Local!
Enjoy all the marvels of Florence, without feeling too confined by all the heavily-frequented tourist areas. A worldwide local knows how to find unique items, taste the best food, and experience the best of the city, without getting stuck in a tourist trap.