A single day in the city that stole my heart and where I got married is simply not enough time to embrace the magic that is Florence .
The capital of the renaissance is an inspiring and enchanting place adorned with jaw-dropping colossal buildings of grand architecture and historical art. To take in all of Florence within 24 hours is quite an impossible task. However, I have a strong affinity with this beautiful travel destination of mine. I like to refer to Florence as my home away from home. It’s become a regular jaunt for me and this recent trip was the seventh visit I’ve made in the last 2 years.
This time was different, though. I was only going to be in Florence for one night.
I had left behind the Cinque Terre for my stop-off to Florence with a nagging doubt on whether I’d made the right choice to cut my time on the Italian Riviera short.
However, I arrived in at dusk just in time to catch a captivating sunset from my private rooftop terrace. Gazing at the magnificent Duomo as the day transitioned to night melted away any qualms I had.
Inspired, I set out into my adopted city and used my experience of this wonderful place to maximise a magical 24 hours in Florence.
Here are some highlights of my trip that I think are worth sharing:
A Girl Who Blooms’ Florence Highlights: September 2017
Where I Stayed:
Let’s me start this section off with an exuberant ‘WOW!’. Sometimes the Airbnb reviews, pictures and descriptions just don’t quite prepare you. This penthouse apartment was specciiiaaaalllll. And it’s all because of that jaw-dropping terrace. The spacious one bedroom apartment is lovely and ideal for a couple who want to have a lovely breakfast or nurse a glass of wine together while admiring the spectacular cathedral’s dome.
Would I stay there again?
In a heartbeat. Organising my abroad wedding in Florence involved searching for suitable accommodation options for all of my travelling guests. Combined with my frequent visits, I have built up an extensive list of contacts and great places to stay in Florence. And I am ecstatic to add this apartment to the list.
It’s in a great location on the Via dei Servi and getting the keys for the apartment was really easy. The landlord owns a shop across from the train station where you can also leave your luggage for free on the day that you’re leaving. Just make sure you collect your bags before the shop closes.
Where I Ate:
Whether breakfast means to you a good cup of coffee, pastries, something healthy, or all of the afore mentioned, you should start your morning off at La Menagere. This trendy concept space is set in an old warehouse and with its vaulted ceilings, grand piano and integrated florist, this café is quite an impressive place to be.
With only 24 hours in Florence, you should go to Mercato Centrale. There are literally dozens of eateries offering different options, however, you’re in Italy and you’ll probably have an inevitable craving for pizza. Sud make an immense Neapolitan style pizza – I loved the Capri pizza (€10.50) with a glass of prosecco (€4.50). You can either eat in the food court or sit in Sud’s designated seating area on the upper tier.
Time for a midday drink. Wander the streets to Amble and lounge around in their hipster garden furniture in the middle of an open aired piazza. I’m not going to lie, I haven’t yet managed to leave their €5 spritzes at just the one. Oh, and don’t forget to order a €1 brownie treat.
I’ve been gushing about the food so far and the fact is that Florence is a city packed with amazing places to eat. It would honestly be almost harder for you to find somewhere you didn’t like. However, for my one night only dinner suggestion, I recommend, Il Santino Bevitore, which is located in the Oltrarno area. I love how this restaurant offers slow food cuisine and carefully sourced seasonal dishes at reasonably priced dishes. It’s somewhere you could choose to make an evening of and dress up for the occasion.
You can extend the fun by literally hopping next door to their adjoining tiny wine bar, Il Santino. It shouldn’t be missed, if you can grab a high in demand spot, and is great for a glass of wine either before dinner or after. Or both.
Where I Got My Coffee Fix:
I dropped off in Scudieri, which is just adjacent from the Duomo. Ideal when you’re up at sunrise for an Instagram shoot and you need an injection of caffeine to stop you stumbling your way until breakfast. They also have a lot of tasty pastries. Eat at the bar like the locals for a cheaper price.
My go-to-place for my daily coffee fix is Ditta Artigianale, specifically the café branch located near the ginormous Pitti Palace. This contemporary artisan café serves amazing speciality coffee and is a lovely place to go for a respite. Ditta Artigianale attracts tourists, expats and locals and we love it so much that we bought their mugs so that we can use them in our daily home lives.
What I did in Florence:
Crammed in as much as possible. There’s so much to do, however, this particular blog post is dedicated to recapping my most recent trip and how to craft a wonderful 24 hours in Florence.
If you want to see Michelangelo’s David, go either early in the morning or at the end of the day at around 4pm. The queues are long and you don’t have the time to waste.
Admission to the incredible Duomo is free but if you want to climb to the top of Duomo’s cupola or Giotto’s Bell Tower, you must purchase a ticket for a specific time. Buy your tickets online prior to the day you intend on going as you might not be able to purchase a ticket on the day for a suitable time.
It depends on when you’re planning on visiting Florence but if you’re going sometime in mid-March to mid-April, go to Villa Bardini. The gardens are lovely to stroll through as you take in panoramic views of the city and the wisteria creates a gorgeous and vibrant violet frilled tunnel. The ticket also admits you into Boboli Gardens, so if you have the time, you can combine the two.
Florence seems to conjure up an amazing sunset most evenings and you can admire them from numerous locations. If you can afford the time, a wander up to Piazzale Michelangelo to sit on the steps and watch the sunset is a wonderful way to finish a day. If that’s not a feasible option, stand on the Ponte Santa Trinita. You can admire the synonymous medieval Ponte Vecchio while watching the sun set fire to the Arno River as you bid goodnight to this romantic city.
How Did I Get Around:
I’ve never done anything but stroll around Florence. The only time I’ve required a taxi is when I’ve gone to Fiesole. Everything is in such close proximity and wandering around Florence is a joy in itself. However, for when you do first arrive and you’re unsure of your bearings, you can conveniently catch a taxi at the Santa Maria Novella train station’s designated taxi stand. A trip to the Oltrarno area costs me approximately €12 – €15.
How Did I Get to Florence:
On this particular journey, I travelled via the regional train from the Cinque Terre to Pisa. I changed trains at Pisa Centrale and then on to Florence. It cost me €8.40 for a Classe 2 ticket, which is free seating. Don’t forget to validate the ticket before you board.
If you’ve arrived in from Pisa Airport, take the Pisamover and travel to the Pisa’s train station. The Pisamover is a monorail that directly connects the airport to Pisa’s train station. It’s such a convenient mode of transport with the whole journey taking a mere 5 minutes.
What Do I Regret Most:
24 hours is nowhere near enough to do everything you should do, but it’s enough to get a taste of this wonderful city’s magic. The only thing I regret is not staying in Florence for the fourth time this year like I initially planned to do, however, there’ll always be next year.