The semester is wrapping up and I have gone from depending on Google Maps to successfully giving directions to others – wait for it – in Italian! I have hosted friends and family from home and have gotten great reviews as a tour guide (just check on tripadvisor, tips not included). Here are my top 3 must-sees/dos/eats in Florence to show my guests.
Best View: Piazzale Michelangelo
Piazzale Michelangelo is located at the top of a hill in the Oltrarno district bordering the Tuscan countryside, giving a panoramic view of the entire city of Florence. For some exercise, take the hike all the way up- it will be a little tiring but so rewarding. If you’re not into hikes, there is a shorter route with (steep) steps that takes you directly to the square. And, in any case of an injury or disability, there is also a bus that will take you to the top. Piazzale Michelangelo is a crowd favorite for taking pictures and picnicking. Plan ahead to bring light snacks and refreshments and sit with your friends as street musicians set the tone, and you watch the sun go down, behind the entire city.
Best Pizza: Gustapizza
This is Guy Fieri approved pizza guys, I’m talking business. Gustapizza is also located on the other side of the Arno around the corner from the Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens. It is well-known throughout the city as the “best pizza” and I have to agree, it is great.* This being said, the dining room is typically full, so my suggestion is to take it to-go and take it to the steps of the Pitti Palace, bask under the sun, and people watch as you enjoy the deliciousness. And, for being so well-known, it is actually still easy on the wallet! Definitely worth the wait. (oops, did I not mention there’s a small wait?)
*This is not to say that other pizzas in Florence are not just as tasty because, trust me, there are so many places to choose from, and very little chance of disappointment.
Best Day Trip (within Florence): Fiesole
Fiesole is a little town north of central Florence, in the Tuscan hills, with ancient Etruscan and Roman ruins, and, again, a great view of the whole city. It is a bit of a distance from the center, but it’s an easy bus ride away. In Fiesole, it is popular to hike in the hills and experience the beautiful surroundings. Around the town you can find small shops and cafes, and you can dive into history search for ancient ruins like the Roman amphitheater.