||| 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 |||

||| travel tip thursday | chicago |||

for those of you in the windy city this weekend, chicago restaurant week starts saturday! restaurant week is (besides the greatest idea ever) an ideal time to try out the city’s hottest restaurants through pre-set brunches, lunches and dinners at reasonable prices. here’s the list of participating restaurants.

also this weekend is randolph street market, discussed last summer here.

||| travel tip thursday | london |||

dishoomyou know you like a restaurant when you eat at it more than once on a weekend trip. that was my experience with Dishoom, a bombay café in london (two locations: one in shoreditch, one in covent garden)

dishoom provides an eccentric, yet cozy, environment perfect for meeting up with friends or grabbing lunch with a co-worker. their dishes are quite unique (i LOVE unique, it usually means i can’t make it at home); ask your waiter/waitress to give recommendations, i took them and was definitely pleased!

oh, and their pastries are out of this world : )

happy traveling! – Rachel

||| pancake pantry | nashville |||

you’re sure to want an encore of this delicious breakfast in music city.  it really sets the tempo for other breakfast joints to keep up with.  pancake pantry offers a medley of pancakes (as you may have expected).  okay, i’m done. but seriously:

the lines can get extremely long, so arrive early and avoid the crowd (see below).  i ordered the sugar & spice pancakes, and they were the best pancakes i’ve had in my entire life.  it was one of those food moments that makes you want to cry because what you’re eating is so unbelievably good.  i didn’t have my camera with me at the time, so i snagged this shot of the line from their website.

*note: we tasted each others’ pancakes, and it seemed that everyone liked what they ordered best, so trust your instinct and don’t listen to what others tell you to get!* – R

||| cali days | coit tower |||

though jamie and i tried our best to avoid any tourist-trap locales, we couldn’t resist the historic coit tower.  the view from the tower was stunning, but the line was quite long and there is a small fee to enter.  we enjoyed the walk up telegraph hill more than the tower itself.  so, if you don’t have enough time to go into coit tower, i suggest at least taking the stairs up the hill.  walking up over 300 stairs may sound exhausting, but the views of the bay and the beautiful gardens along the way are worth it.

my best directions: head to sansome & greenwich, then head west. you’ll see the stairs, I promise.

||| ciao! – R |||