I love Italy and have had many fantastic trips around the country, from my very first time in Garda in 1992 to the latest trip to Cinque Terre, Florence and Pisa. Florence has long remained a favourite of mine, the architecture, the food and the weather as well as the ability to walk without the need to take public transport make it for me a winning city for a short break.
In order to get our bearings we opted to take a Food Tour.. .and also because we love food! I always like to take a food tour in new cities – it does give the sense of how everything is laid out and also makes you braver to try foods you may not even consider! We took the Sunset tour with Eating Europe, which explored the Santa Spirito area of the City. We enjoyed an abundance of Italian cuisine from the delicious Fiorentine Steak, to Biscotti and Marsala, Parma ham, Burrata, Tripe Stew and tasting some fantastic wines and making our own Negronis! We left the tour pretty full but still managed to find room for a little gelato on our way home!
Besides food, we did do other things! Florence is a great city to wander around, beautiful piazza’s, cute little streets and of course art, sculpture and the Iconic Duomo. But, no trip is ever complete without a look at Michaelangelo’s David. My advice, book tickets in advance for the Galleria dell’Accademia to see the real thing, otherwise head over to the Piazza della Signoria and see the replica along with many other statues and the famous Uffizi Gallery. Also make sure you book tickets in advance for the Duomo, and climb the Duomo Tower for Great views over the city. A walk along the River Arno takes you to the Ponte Vecchio, and its worth having a wander across to check out the Jewellery and Watch shops that sit on the Bridge.
If you like food, then another great place to wander is the central market – Mercato di San Lorenzo, a warren of shops selling meats, cheeses, wine, fruit and veg as well as local delicacies like Pesto and Truffles or Truffle Oil. Needless to say, room was made in our bags to bring back quite a few purchases!
Within easy reach of Florence is Pisa, having been several times I wouldn’t recommend staying here and instead take a day trip from Florence. The Leaning Tower is about a 25 min walk across the River Arno and through the little streets of the town, before opening up to the Piazza del Duomo and the Leaning Tower. Booking tickets in advance is a must to climb the tower – be warned, the angle of the tower can you make you feel a little queasy as you climb, but it is worth it for the views.
Florence and Pisa always make the perfect long weekend break or the end point of a fabulous Italian holiday, I know I’ll be back again very soon!
We Travelled: Direct from Edinburgh to Pisa with Ryanair. British Airways now do a direct flight from Edinburgh to Florence.
We Stayed: At the Glance Hotel in Florence, a lovely central hotel with a rooftop pool and bar.
We Ate and Drank:
Bitter Bar A speakeasy style bar , with good music and cocktails
La Botteca del Buon Caffe A beautiful Michelin Starred restaurant, totally worth a visit for their tasting menu