Walking route for a day visit in Florence
Firenze is a city that continues to amaze and surprise us. Like quite a few Italian cities, its heart is pedestrianized so it’s a wonderful opportunity to get rid of your car and take to the streets on foot.
This itinerary begins at Porta Romana, where there is a decent car park, so even if you are coming here for a day trip during part of your holiday it should work out well.
There is nothing more invigorating than beginning a day of site seeing in a garden and so I suggest you enter the Bobboli Gardens at Porta Romana and walk down through nature towards the Pitti Palace. Exit the gardens here and head north towards the Ponte Vecchio to admire the jewels as you cross over the River Arno
Many people wish to visit the Uffizzi Gallery of course, and it is highly recommended for a visit, but you really do need at least 3 hrs for this, so it’s a good day #2 appointment if you plan to stay longer. Instead continue north from the Ponte Vecchio towards Piazza della Repubblica where you can enjoy a good (if rather expensive) coffee at Gilli, which is brilliant spot to ‘fare la splendida’ (a wonderful Italian pastime where sunglass wearing is obligatory). From Pza della Repubblica head North East towards the Piazza Duomo to take in the wonders of Brunelleschi’s incredible Cathedral, Baptistry and Bell tower.
With the Duomo behind you head further North East towards the Accademia in Piazza della SS. Annunziata – if you have limited time in Florence and just plan to visit one museum, this is the one to choose. It’s not massive but Michelangelo’s sculptures will stay in your memory forever.
Close by is a wonderful lunch stop, La Menagere with inventive, seasonal dishes served in a beautiful setting behind a flower shop (details below). You need to book a table to avoid disappointment.
Near to the Accademia, the church of S. Marco shouldn’t be missed. Home to the Dominican monk and painter Fra Angelico whose haunting frescoes adorn the chapel and monastic cells and transport you back to the 1400s, S. Marco is full of treasures.
Heading due west of here, a good foodie stop is the Mercato Centrale with stalls on the ground floor selling local ingredients and a series of informal cafes on the first floor selling anything from pasta to plates of cold cuts to grilled meats or it’s even a good place to stop for a glass of wine if you need to rest your feet.
From here you will be tired and may feel as if you have seen enough, so a stroll via Piazza S. Maria Novella to admire the architecture will probably suffice on your way back down South to the Ponte alla Carraia. Having crossed the Arno once more, you will find the truly brilliant gelateria La Carraia just on the South side of the bridge – an essential stop.
Getting lost in the oltroarno (south of the river) deserves a day in itself as this is the artists’ quarter of the city where a glance in doorways gives a glimpse of the artisans that still practice their ancient crafts. It’s also the most dynamic area of the city and there are lots of interesting boutiques to browse. If you have the energy, a visit on your way back to Porta Romana of the Brancacci Chapel in Santa Maria del Carmine is highly rewarding with its Masaccio and Filippino Lippi frescoes.
We feel very lucky to have Firenze as our closest significant city. If you plan to visit, drop us a note and we would be happy to meet up for an olive oil tasting during your visit firstname.lastname@example.org
Entrance to museums should be booked in advance to avoid queues: www.b-ticket.com/b-ticket/uffizi/default.aspx
Private tours of Florence or its museums are available via a number of agencies, the best we have found is Freya’s Florence: www.freyasflorence.com
Vik Adventures do great tours for kids (and their parents) www.vikadventures.com
Our Top 5 places to eat in Florence
– Il Santo Bevitore. Good evening stop in the oltroarno, great wine list and food is consistently good. ilsantobevitore.com Their bakery down the road S.forno makes wonderful breads.
– Alla Vecchia Bettola. If you’re looking for a traditional, busy trattoria that is full of locals and serves great Tuscan fare then look no further. www.florence.ala.it/bettola (closed sunday and monday)
– La Menagere. Great lunch spot between the Duomo and Accademia. They have a modern and uplifting take on Italian classics. www.lamenagere.it
– Vini e Vecchi Sapori. Super busy trattoria just off the crowded Pza. Signoria, you think you choose this lunch stop for its location but the food is stunning. Book a table and arrive early. T. +39 055 293045
– Enoteca Pinchiorri. It’s an obvious choice but it really is as good as its reputation. This is where you go for highly memorable meal. enotecapinchiorri.it