If you're traveling to Italy soon (or even thinking about it!) Florence should definitely be a stop on your list. 

I was surprised how much I would like Florence. The city is beautiful and for my first stop in Italy I was very impressed. There is plenty to do, see and eat here!

Hotels:

  • Westin Excelsior.  This is where I stayed. It’s a great location where you can walk pretty much everywhere. I would recommend the Deluxe river front room so when you open your window you’re overlooking the beautiful views of the river!

    This was my first look at Italy, and I was super impressed.

 

This was my first look at Italy, and I was super impressed.

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 Aperol Spritz at the Westin Excelsior, Florence, Italy

Aperol Spritz at the Westin Excelsior, Florence, Italy

The breakfast buffet in the morning won’t disappointment and I recommend getting it with your room (hint: I can get this for you).

They have a station for eggs made your way, tons of pastries, cereals, and of course a mimosa area where you can pour a glass or 2 or 3 of champagne. The restaurant on the rooftop has amazing views, and do order the aperol spritz. It was the best one the whole trip.

Other hotels worth looking into:

  • The St. Regis (which is across the street from the Westin) The spa is intimate, with 2 treatment rooms but they have a silver and gold treatment room suites that blew me away. If you need a massage during your trip please go here!

 

 

 The beautiful entrance to the St. Regis in Florence, Italy. 

The beautiful entrance to the St. Regis in Florence, Italy. 

 The Gold Treatment Room at the spa at The St. Regis Florence, Italy.

The Gold Treatment Room at the spa at The St. Regis Florence, Italy.

Considered the best in the city. I didn’t get a chance to check it out this trip but from what I know its amazing!

Also: Hotel Lungarno and  Villa San Michele 

Food:

 Trattoria 4 Leoni

Trattoria 4 Leoni

Its in a little court yard type of street. Get there a little early and get a glass of wine across the street for 4 euros while you wait for your table (reservations recommended) you can bring your wine to the table if you haven’t finished it. The food is amazing here and I let the waiter order for me. Just got the signature pasta dish which changes all the time but this is the type of place you can ask the waiter for suggestions. Also highly recommend their Lasagna.

 

It's adorable with flowers and candles on each table and food was the best meal I had in Florence, actually the best in Italy. I just stumbled upon it and walked by and then kept thinking about it and went back! I'm SO glad I did! The Buffalo Mozzarella Caprese and Pesto Gnocchi were to die for! They are both a MUST HAVE but I’m sure everything is good.

 Buffalo Mozzarella Caprese at I'l Paiolo

Buffalo Mozzarella Caprese at I'l Paiolo

 Pesto Gnocchi at I'l Paiolo

Pesto Gnocchi at I'l Paiolo

Other Restaurants to check out: Osteria Santo Spirito, La Giostra

 

Exploring:

  • Views:  

Piazzale Michelangelo is the spot for beautiful sunsets. It's very touristy though but it's worth it to take a bottle of wine and sit and take in all the view as well as people watch! As mentioned before the Westin excelsior has the best rooftop for views. Order a aperol spritz there for happy hour.

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  • Sights:
 The Duomo, The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy

The Duomo, The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy

 The Duomo is beautiful to see, it has beautiful marble and detail all on the outside.

The Markets are the best in Florence and they have one right in the touristy section with great prices for hand bags and leather jackets. I thought I would keep seeing more places like this throughout Italy and didn’t - so be sure to stock up here!

 

  • Daytrips:

Pisa is an hour away but to be honest I wasn’t very impressed. If you have the extra time or are really into history and seeing the leaning tower then go but its basically just 20 minutes of shops and than you see the leaning tower. Its just 8 euros each way on the train so super easy and cheap.

The Prada factory is 1 hour away and everything is 50% off. There are buses that take you there.

Milan is a 1.5 hour trip on the train- an easy day trip if you are into fashion and want to check out this fast paced city.

Venice is a 2 hour train ride away.

Tuscany is very close, only an hour away and you'll have access to some of the world's best wineries. 


Favorite Photos from my visit to Florence: