Kevin and I found a really great deal on flights (to/from Florence) to Italy for Thanksgiving Break, so we took advantage of it! Plus, the week of Thanksgiving is always our favorite time to travel. To get this particular deal on flights, we traveled from Tuesday to Tuesday. For the first half of our trip, we stayed in Florence and then spent a few days in Rome (see next post).
Firenze is what the Italians call Florence, and this city is just a magical place. We loved how easy it was to walk around the city. We will definitely go back to Florence for a couple days when we can take advantage of wine-tasting and food in the Tuscan countryside, but we didn’t have time for it on this trip because we wanted squeeze Rome in too.
As I’ve mentioned in previous blog-posts, the hotel we stay at can make such a difference in our overall experience. Kevin found a deal through booking.com at a new boutique hotel called Ottantato Firenze, and it was incredible. A few weeks after we booked it, we saw it in an issue of Conde Nast Traveler (a travel magazine), so we were excited. During peak season, the hotel is quite pricey, but since we were off-season, it was very affordable at $190 a night. This price included breakfast, and the service was wonderful.
The hotel used to be a bakery several hundred years ago, so it had the old-building charm but offered brand new amenities. Ottantato was not in the touristy district of Florence, rather it was in the Oltrarno district. It was worth the extra ten or fifteen minute walk to be in a neighborhood with restaurants and bars that weren’t at tourist prices. To get there from the airport, we grabbed a cab. Rates to the city from the airport are fixed, and we paid 22 Euro.
Florence is a very walkable city, even for directionally challenged folks! The Dome (Duomo) is visible throughout the city, so if you ever were to get lost, you’d head toward the Dome.
Below are some of our highlights and tips from Florence:
- Trattoria Sabtino – family-style local restaurant (not touristy at all so little/no English)
- Berebere Craft Pizza (Kevin says he’d fly to Florence just for the pizza)
- Finding local bars/wineries was the way to go! For just a couple of Euro, house wines were amazing. Not at all like the three-buck-Chuck you get for that price in the States!
- We were given a local tip that if you climb the 500 steps of Giotto’s bell tower you can see the Duomo and the entire city – what a view! Don’t wait in line to climb to Duomo.
- The statue of David is worth the hype. It’s really quite remarkable. You can find him in the Accademia Gallery.
I look forward to going back to eat and drink my way through more of Florence. Saluti!