As you Soak in the Renaissance of Florence make sure have plenty of time for Italian Treasure Hunting and Tasting Tuscan’s Finest!

* Italian Treasure Hunting

There’s plenty of shopping to be done in Florence no matter what your treasure of choice may be.

  • Leather: The place to go is San Lorenzo Market and make sure you bring your best bartering skills. Surrounds San Lorenzo Church.
  • Jewelry: My favorite treasure! For every day unique pieces and great gifts, visit Fiori del Tempo (Via del Corso, two blocks off Piazza della Repubblica). This TINY shop has fabulous handmade creations and reasonable prices. For the really special treasure, visit S. Vaggi at the end of the Ponte Vecchio (Ponte Vecchio 2/6R). After literally shopping every store the bridge, this was where we picked out my engagement ring!
  • Toys: Bartolucci Wooden Toy Store (Via Condotaa, 12/R) is like Gepetto’s workshop.
  • Handmade Paper: Stationery shops can be found on every street. Pick up beautiful paper, a journal or photo album. Always great gifts!
  • Menswear: We bought terrific jackets at Roberto Biagini (Via Roma between Piazza della Repubblica and the Duomo) and Boggi (Via della Vigna Nuova 27/R).
  • Apothecary: Officinia di Santa Maria Novella (16 Via della Scala) is a 300 year old pharmacy near Santa Maria Novella and just a cool place to visit.
  • Italian labels: Ferragamo’s flagship store and museum. Gucci. Emilio Pucci, Furla, my favorite purses, and bags. In Florence, you’ll find them all.

Taste Tuscan’s Finest

There are so many restaurants to chose from but here are some of my favorites.

  • Ristorante Acqua al Due (Via della Vigna Vecchia 40R, 55 284 170): This is our favorite restaurant in Florence. Casual and fun with incredible food! Order the Assagio menu…it’s the tasting menu and make sure to eat light the rest of day. Yes, they have one in San Diego and now Washington, DC, but this is NO chain! Make reservations as they only do two seatings per night. Assagio dinner for 2 with wine 90 euro. Say hello to owner Giani for me!
  • Il Latini (Via dei Palchetti 6R, 55 210 916, closed Mon): Tuscan rustic cooking. Fun upbeat atmosphere. Great for groups. Make reservations!
  • Trattoria Cammillo (Borgo San Jacopo, 57/R, 55-212-427): Incredible homemade pasta and desserts, we had a lunch here after we got engaged. :) Three-course lunch for two with wine 86 euro.
  • Caffe Pitti (Piazza Pitti 9, 55 239 9863): Just across from Pitti Palace, we had a yummy pasta lunch outside one afternoon.
  • Trattoria Pallottino (Via Isola delle Stinche 1R, 55-289-573): Simple delicious food. We stumbled upon this place on Valentine’s Day and couldn’t believe the yumminess!
  • Ristorante Paoli (Via dei Tavolini 12R, 55-216-215): Opened in 1824, very old world Italian, dine under vaulted ceilings on classic Italian dishes. Just off Piazza della Signoria. Three-course dinner for two with wine 90 euro.
  • Cantinetta Antinori (Piazza Antinori 3, 55 292 234): Great place for a glass of wine from Italy’s great wine family, Antinori. The 26 generation wine family opened this wine bar in a 15th-century palazzo 30 years ago.
  • Caffe Gilli: This lovely outdoor caffe, opened in the 1850s, is a perfect spot (a little pricey) for people watching over a gelato and aperitif on the Piazza della Repubblica.
  • Coronas Cafe (Via dei Tavolini 18-20/R): A must for a pastry and espresso in the morning or stuffed sandwich quick lunch.

Where to lay your head during your stay?

  • Hotel degli Orafi: My favorite hotel with rooms overlooking the Arno River and Ponte Vecchio. Fabulous rooftop bar to enjoy views over a drink day or night!
  • Hotel California: On the second floor of a historic building 150 meters from the Duomo and 100 meters from Galleria dell’Accademia. We stayed here once and had a nice experience. Ask for the double room with views of the Duomo.
  • Hotel Pendini: Their website says they’re “an antique hotel in the hearth of Florence.” I’ve stayed here a couple of times for a one night stay. It’s definitely an older hotel with small bathrooms, but price and location off of Piazza della Repubblica are great!

Visit the gallery for lots of great photos from my visits.

Enjoy your visit to this incredible Italian gem!