||| useless knowledge of florence | a travel guide |||

Florence Travel Tips & Must-dos

it’s been months since i studied abroad in florence; i’ve had a lovely time reminiscing for this post! it thrills me to be able to share this abundance of knowledge i have of florence. after many facebook message guides to friends abroad, i thought “if only there was a convenient way to collect all my favorite must-sees in florence!”. then i remembered: i have a blog.

the image above includes photos i took of my favorite florentine adventures. from my experience, i’d highly suggest you:

  • climb to the top of the duomo (florence’s cathedral) on a clear morning
    • better than giotto’s tower, in my opinion! the atmosphere is incomparable
  • hang out with the statue of david at galleria dell’accademia
  • browse the galleria degli uffitzi
  • marvel over palazzo pitti & boboli gardens
  • cross ponte vecchio (touristy but fun to see)
    • this is the bridge with all the jewelry merchants
  • visit piazzale michelangelo
    • great views of the city
  • santa maria novella church
    • while you’re there, check out the beautiful officina profumo farmaceutica
  • shop at mercato centrale (i lived near here)
  • take the ATAF bus #7 to the hilltop village of fiesole (gorgeous view of florence & tuscany)
    • it runs every half an hour until almost midnight. the line starts at the santa maria novella train station

…and on to my favorite food experiences:

  • breakfast
    • grab a pastry and espresso at any bar
  • lunch
    • mario trattoria | only open for lunch, so don’t miss out!
    • gusta panino | perfect for a quick sandwich
  • dinner
    • acqua al 2 | great meal with a dessert sampler
    • san michele all’arco | delicious homemade pasta
    • trattoria parione | the restaurant i enjoyed my final italian meal at before my journey home!
    • gusta pizza | grab a pizza and take it to piazzale michelangelo – no use waiting inside for a table when you can enjoy a nice view nearby!
  • apertivo (delicious italian appetizers served with the purchase of a drink)
    • kitsch | begins at 7:30pm | €7
    • negroni | begins at 7pm | €8
    • oibo | begins at 7:30pm | €8

florence is a horrible city to navigate (take it from the girl who wandered three hours dragging luggage on cobblestone streets)… so, I made you a map!
pull the full map (with key) up on your mobile while you have wifi & you can use it around the city!

if you have any questions, feel free to ask!
||| happy travels! | rachel |||

||| the stairs of italy |||

 

as i was reminiscing through photos from italy, i noticed an obvious theme: i (apparently) enjoy photographing stairs. it seems logical, they’re ideal subjects; almost perfect, they rarely move. i rounded up my favorites below (yes, these are the elite stair pictures, there are others). the descriptions are below the collection.

i was going to include a tacky “take the stairs to success” metaphor, but i’ll just leave you with interesting stair pictures.

stairs

||| inside the wall, lucca ||| into the vineyard, montepulciano ||| santa maria novella, florence ||| above our patio, florence ||| to the library, san lorenzo ||| pitti palace, florence ||| winding stairs, the vatican ||| ancient ruin stairs, rome ||| my favorite, the stairs to nowhere, pienza ||| down to a wine cellar, montepulciano ||| across a bridge, venice ||| winding down, san gimignano ||| the land of stairs, cinque terre ||| the most terrifying stairs, duomo of florence

||| Rachel |||

 

||| travel tip thursday | rome |||

dinookay, let’s be honest… most food in italy is outstanding. however, i can recommend the obvious: avoid touristy places/menus with pictures. and, if you can muster up the courage to ask a local where their favorite trattoria is (in italian), you can’t lose.

between italian sentence fragments and hand gestures, we got directions to Hostaria Dino’s Express. they even have a hand-written menu that changes daily, though i’d suggest you take your italian pocket dictionary with you!

open monday-saturday for lunch | via Tacito, 80

||| buon appetito! – Rachel |||

||| reminiscent melodies |||

i adore this song by City and Colour (suggested by our music correspondent, jamie).

the changes in tone throughout the song tell a story. it reminds me of my time in europe. okay, that’s a bit vague; i provided pictures:

thegirl||| enjoy your weekend! – R |||

||| italian puppies |||

puppy

from the first day i arrived in florence, i felt the need to photograph each dog i saw. they were all so adorable, and i missed my own puppy! in fact, one of the first phrases i learned in italy was “posso fare una foto del tuo cane, per favore?” or, “may i take a picture of your dog, please?”. in my opinion, the best way to start a weekend is obviously by adoring puppies and their fashionable owners! (the puppies of italy are quite similar to those of other countries, but their barks do sound significantly more romantic)

happy friday from the puppies of florence!

– rachel

||| gelato: behind the scenes |||

alright, I know I’m technically on break, but i just had to share this with you! i was recently lucky enough to go to a gelateria and see how gelato is made (fyi, fresh gelato is the best kind!). before we get into the process, follow these tips on choosing a gelateria:

the gelato should be deep in the wells so it stays cold, like this:

Imagenot piled high for the tourists, like this:

Image

the colorful flavors are usually fruity and geared toward the tourists (although still delicious!) and the bland colors are usually the more traditional flavors (try them while you’re in italy!). here’s how it’s made! unfortunately, you can’t really make it at home. they use a machine to create the gelato base and a second machine to freeze the mixture and create the gelato.

Image

||| fashion’s night out | florence |||

fashion’s night out, florence: crazy crowds, delicious drinks (and gelato!) & tons of chic stores & outfits. so, rather than trying to organize my photos from the night, i chose to create an equally energetic collage of my favorite moments. such a fun time!

||| first italian purchase {a monumental moment} |||

i am finally settled in italy, and beyond thrilled about it.
sorry for the lack of posts, i’ve been a bit busy flying across the world, eating gelato and sight-seeing, though i plan to keep you posted on my great finds in florence (and anywhere else I travel to, for that matter) as well as restaurants, shops & things to do!

here is my first italian (clothing) purchase, pictured in my new italian apartment on the door of my new italian closet.  i am in love with a country, and not ashamed.  i bought the dress at Promod, an H&M-like chain with locations pretty much everywhere (except the US).  not only is it gorgeous, it’s the perfect excuse to go out and find a new belt and pair of shoes!

||| ciao! rachel |||