By now, I have travelled within Italy enough to see many of the main cities and experience the individual cultures of each region. I am always shocked by the differences in culture that you may experience between the ten main geographical regions within Italy. Although I may be biased, so far, the Tuscan region is my favorite and, in my opinion, most livable place for students. Within Florence, you can maintain both a big city and small-town feel all in one. There is an endless number of restaurants, coffee shops, and bars that support both local cuisine and food from all around the world. You can spend a day wandering within the city and shopping or hop on a bus for 15 minutes and end up at the base of a nice hiking trail. Florence is also conveniently located in a central part of Italy, so travelling to the North or South is possible and potentially cheap. Below is a list of my top recommended sites in Florence!
1. Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore—main duomo in Florence, absolutely stunning from the outside!
2. Uffizi Gallery—national gallery that holds some of the most significant art pieces from the region
3. Piazzale Michelangelo—beautiful scenic overlook where you can take the best pictures of Florence! I recommend heading up at sunset with a bottle of wine and snacks.
4. Mercato Centrale—the central market that offers a large variety of produce on the first floor, and you can head up to the second floor for a large selection of restaurants
5. Pitti Palace & Boboli Gardens—for art lovers, check out the inside of the palace. For people looking for a nice scenic stroll or to watch the sunset from another pretty location, head to the gardens!
6. Accademia Gallery—if you go to Florence and don’t visit David, you did something wrong!
There are only a few of the main sites to see in Florence. If I listed all my favorite food and wine locations, we would be here a while! Finally, the best way to see Florence is on foot, so ditch the Ubers and MyTaxis and start wandering!