Getting to know a city is like starting a relationship and choosing how much time to spend with it can be vital and essential, in order to live a dreamy holiday.
A few hours stop in Florence? It will only make you feel like coming back soon.
If you are planning to stay only a couple of nights at the shadow of the David, keep in mind you will constantly be in a hurry and will hardly be able to go under the mere tourist layer.
Let’s imagine you have seven days in the city. What a blessing! I see a huge smile on your face, and I imagine what you could do day after day.
Day one – Discover the center
After checking-in in your apartment, the first mission is to discover the quarter you will be for an entire week. The mission for the afternoon is reaching Ponte Vecchio on foot. Reach halfway and lean to see the Arno river. On one side is the political heart of the city, Piazza Signoria and the Old Palace. The beautiful Loggia de' Lanzi is an open sky museum.
On the other side you can see the bright and always-on-the-move quarter called Oltrarno (literally beyond the Arno,) an ideal place for a drink or a dinner outside. Want to taste the typical dishes a Florentine grandmother would have cooked for you? Book a table at La Casalinga, next to Piazza Santo Spirito.
Day two – The 3 Ms
Every day except on Sundays the local markets bring fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, fish, bakeries. Either you are closer to San Lorenzo or Sant'Ambrogio, wake up and approach those colored stands and stuff your fridge with quality products. In the early afternoon, meet the wonderful works of art. With pre-booked tickets enter Uffizi or Galleria dell'Accademia skipping the long lines. After the hours spent at the museum, a walk on the hill above Piazza Poggi to see the breathtaking view from Piazzale Michelangelo. Every evening a street artist seats on the stairs and plays music. Sundown and its lights will give you a timeless experience with its many suggestions.
Day three – First Escape
If you want to explore the other pearls of Tuscany, Florence is in a strategic position. Siena is just an hour drive, and before getting there you can stop at many wine cellars. Leave right after breakfast and discover the “Chiantishire,” with its olives and vineyards. Watch the medieval walls of San Gimignano and mostly Monteriggioni hen stop and take a sample of the local wine with some cheese or salami.
When back right before the evening, take a refreshing shower, relax, choose a classy outfit and then take a taxi for a night at the opera. The opera program and the new theater next to Parco delle Cascine are absolutely a must, something you should never miss at all.
Day four – Religion and History
Slowly wake up, put yourself together and visit the one and only dome complex: the cathedral of saint Mary of the Flower, the Brunelleschi’s dome, Giotto’s bell tower, the Saint John Baptistry, Santa Reparata and Museo dell'Opera del Duomo.
After a quick lunch at Eataly in via Martelli, head to Piazza San Marco and take the 7 bus to Fiesole. We are about to jump into the far past of this region. The archaeological area of Fiesole feaures a Roman theater, spa, an Etruscan-Roman temple and an archaeological museum. The view from the main square is quie romantic. Look around and choose a place for dinner before taking the bus back to the city center.
Day five – Mix Adrenalin and Laziness
Florence in the morning, before the traffic gets mad, has a charm a few people know. A jogging tour among the monuments and along the river will make you discover the magic of the city and connect places you accidentally discovered when taking a random walk. A light lunch at Tumiturbi (via Lambertesca 22r), a glass of wine in via dei Neri, a visit to the Santa Croce church, a stop at the Wild Boar to touch its nose. Today you deserve a relaxing day, time to gett lost and make you feel like a local in this special place.
At six, in the early evening, a Tuk tuk, a boat on the Arno, a Vespa, a Fiat 500 and some vintage adrenalin. After a couple of hours it is time for a traditional Naples pizza at Caffè Italiano (Via dell’Isola delle Stinche) and the inevitable ice cream at Vivoli, right next door.
Day six – Second Escape
Pisa, Arezzo, Lucca. There are so many options for a one hour rain trip outside of Florence. If the distance is not a problem you may also head to Cinque Terre, with its thousand colors on the sea. These and places like Venice or Verona can be reached and visited within the day. When back, Florence will expect you for a classy dinner. Trattoria Cammilo in Borgo San Jacopo for instance is a very bright example of what real taste feels like.
Day seven - Shopping time
Before leaving, it is time for shopping, besides the souvenirs you already bought at the local workshops in Santo Spirito or in the fashion square around Via Tornabuoni, the lather factories in San Lorenzo and the fantastic products of the Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy. Perfumes, environmental scents, embroidered fabric, statues of Pinocchio. There will be plenty of things that will talk about Florence once you’re back.
After this week you will learn to say grazie and arrivederci, seen how Florentines live, how happy and relaxed people are and also experienced the red sundowns along the Arno. There will be something you’ll be wishing to come for, a course of cooking, an art workshop, a new friend you met by chance while attending a concert and more. For all the wishes you’ve made or still have to, Acacia will be here for you.