Florence Has It All
If there’s one city I could get lost in for hours… or days, it’s Florence. Even after you’ve covered all the major attractions such as the Uffizi, the Duomo, Piazza Michelangelo, Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens to name a few, exploring the hundreds of side streets away from the crowds always offers something wonderful.
Even though I want to explore new areas when I visit, there are a few places that I go back to time and time again.
Just around the corner from the Ponte Vecchio is the Continentale hotel. Take the hotel’s elevator to the terrace to experience one of the best views in Florence. Sip on prosecco while they serve bowls of chips, nuts and cured olives. This experience is hard to beat.
A few steps from the Continentale will have you on Borgo s.s. Apostoli. This quiet street houses one of my favourite wine bars and caffe called Mangiafoco. Run by a husband and wife team Francesco and Elisa, this is a great spot to pop in for an antipasto plate and glass of wine. A bit further along is a lovely shop dedicated to everything olive. La Bottega Dell’Olio is filled with beautiful oils, olive wood products, soaps and linens.
Keep walking and you will come to Via Tornabuoni, a beautiful, prestigious wide street that has some of Florences luxury fashion houses. A short walk north and you’ll come upon Procacci, one of Florence’s oldest “delis”, founded in 1885. You’ll find some exquisite truffle products and it’s a great spot to have an espresso. The little truffle sandwiches are a “must try”.
Right next door is a wonderful mozzarella bar called Obica. Housed in a grand building, this expansive operation now has restaurants in Tokyo, New York, and London.
The selections of fresh mozzarella di buffalo are brought in daily from the best producers and the pizza and salads are first rate. This is another one of my “must” visits when I’m in Florence, especially when I want to get away from the crowds and have a quiet meal.
There are two major markets in Florence. The most popular with tourists is Mercato Centrale in the San Lorenzo district. The inside market houses many of the typical products you’d find in a large European market along with many stalls that cater to tourists wanting products to take home.
On the second floor is an EATALY, that extravaganza of all things Italian. Outside the market are hundreds of vendors selling everything from scarves, leather jackets, purses etc. It’s jammed packed with tourists but a fun place to shop.
If you prefer a less crowded market experience head to San Ambrogio. Here is where you will find more of the locals. While much smaller, it’s still has lots of great produce and meats to offer. It’s close to the beautiful Basilica of Santa Croce where you will also find the Florence Leather academy. Another “must” while in Florence.
More Travel Notes from Jill
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Perfect sunny California weather set the stage for the 38th Fancy Food Show in San Francisco in January 2014.