Studying abroad in Florence has made me realize that I don’t need to travel anywhere else to have an incredible experience and to see something new. All I have to do is walk right outside my door and get lost in one of the most beautiful cities in Italy!
This past weekend was a long one for “liberation Day” which is basically the Italian 4th of July, so we had a whole 5 days off from class! Many students visited new countries but I decided to stay “home” in Florence and try to explore the city. My friends and I took this weekend as an opportunity to check out the “touristy” spots as well as little areas around the city where we can feel like locals.
Here are the best touristy places to visit:
- Duomo- The famous Duomo is hard to miss when living in Florence! You pass by it almost everyday and the building is breathtaking! As the weather gets warmer, the more tourists come to visit and the area is packed with selfie sticks and group tours. I highly recommend buying the ticket, which costs 15 euro and includes going to the top of the Duomo, Bell tower and a museum in the area. Both the bell tower and the Duomo have an amazing view of the Florence but be prepared to walk up a whole lot of stairs! Don’t worry the view is worth the climb! Also check out the Cathedral, it’s free!
- Boboli Gardens- The Boboli gardens are so beautiful and are a must see in Florence. There is also a combo ticket, which includes entry to the gardens and a few museums within the garden. This area is so relaxing and you can spend an entire day taking in the fresh air and greenery all around! You can catch amazing views of the city while walking through the gardens. The springtime is definitely the best time to visit!
- Ponte Vecchio- The Ponte Vecchio is so stunning and is a staple in Florence. You can enjoy the dazzling jewelry shops and if you are lucky you will catch the live music at sunset. One of my favorite things to do is eat gelato and sit on the Ponte Santa Trinita (bridge right next to the Ponte Vecchio) and watch the sunset!
- Museums- Florence is known for the historical museums and the Uffizi is one of the most famous ones. The Accademia Gallery is also famous as it is home to the David by Michelangelo! It was so exciting to finally see these famous art pieces in person because I’ve learned about it in my art history classes. There is also a Gucci Museum and Ferragamo museum, which are really exciting!
- Piazzale Michelangelo – By far my favorite spot in the entire world! The Piazzale Michelangelo is viewpoint that shows a panoramic view of Florence and is out of this world. There are usually a lot of tourists but enough room for everyone to enjoy. I highly recommend going at sunset and doing a picnic with your friends! It is a place where everyone is happy and it is a perfect end to the perfect day! Every time I go up here I feel blessed and grateful for this opportunity to study in such an incredible city. It is a place where I want to visit everyday before heading home because I can now and soon enough I won’t be able to.
Don’t forget to eat while roaming around town!
Here are the must eats:
- Gusta Pizza- you’ve probably already heard that this place is the bomb.com! Get there before the lunch/dinner rush so you aren’t stuck in line! My favorite is Margherita pizza with pesto! Tip: Take it to go and eat it on the Ponte Santa Trinita!
- Gelateria Santa Trinita- DO IT!! This is by far the best gelato in town! Every time I bring any of my friends here, they fall in love with the gelato. Get the cheesecake and cookie flavor in a cone, of course!
- All’antico Vinaio- best panini ever.. enough said!
I have realized that I will never be able to say that I am a tourist in Florence and will never experience any other city that I have traveled to as a “home.” Florence has become my home these past couple months and I think it is a perfect place to explore and to grow as a person. I encourage every student that studies abroad to spend a couple weekends in Florence instead of traveling every single weekend. Don’t get me wrong, traveling around Europe is definitely a must do but it is ok to hang back and dive into Florence’s rich culture!
Thanks so much for tuning in and I hope you visit all these spots and MORE while in Florence