florence

From Antibes, my travel buddies & I took off to Florence. 

We stopped in a cute little town on the way called Sestri Levante (in Italy), because I refused to leave the Linguria Region without having tried their pesto & focaccia bread… Literally, it is all I talked about for hours until we stopped (S.O. to my travel buddies for not murdering me & for letting us take this detour). The drive to Florence was SO beautiful, but it was a serious pain the ass to rent the car, so BEWARE when trying to drive from France to Italy or vice versa. We kept talking about how we felt like we were in Avatar driving under mountains with these houses hanging off the mountain, so if this interests you, make the drive and be sure to stop in Sestri Levante for life-changing (literally) pesto. 

sestri levante (pesto: not photographed because it was in my belly after I ate it as if it was chips and guac)
sestri levante (pesto: not photographed because it was in my belly after I ate it as if it was chips and guac)
sestrie levante
sestrie levante

Once we got to our AirBnB in Florence, my bestie & blogger-mentor, Alex, had a spread waiting for us from the local market (are you sensing a theme here? ALWAYS hit up the local markets). We ate, caught up, & then hit the streets. My favorite thing to do when I get to a new city is just roam & get lost. This way, I get my much needed steps in & can orient myself better. I told myself I would do this by going for a run in each new city, but….. that may or may not have happened on this trip.

a pretty bad pic of the AMAZING spread alex put together for us (RIP decanter)
a pretty bad pic of the AMAZING spread alex put together for us (RIP decanter)

The next day we went on a wine tour in Chianti, Tuscany; that was the highlight of our trip. More about this on my next post, because I plan on gushing about it. 

The rest of our time in Florence consisted of more roaming, finding the best eats, & managing to fit only one touristy sight into our schedule, though it could be argued that the places we ate & sunset views were pretty touristy. Oh & don’t forget the many aperol spritz we were able to fit into our schedule…

aperol spritz is a traditional italian aperitif (served before or after a meal) cocktail with prosecco, orange bitters & soda water. we had a billion thanks to hallie's obsession :)
aperol spritz is a traditional italian aperitif (served before or after a meal) cocktail with prosecco, orange bitters & soda water. we had a billion thanks to hallie’s obsession 🙂

where to stay:

  • San Giovanni
    • Our AirBnB was really nice and in the best location. It came equipped with Nespresso, which is always so appreciated (Aryan probably appreciates it most, because I am a MONSTER without my coffee). The description the owner wrote describes it best… 

“It is located on a charming road crossing the main Via dei Calzaiuoli (the street famous for its many awesome stores) and connecting to the Piazza della Signoria and Duomo. The Uffizi Museum and Piazza della Signoria are 50 meters from the apartment and within 100 meters you will be in Piazza del Duomo. You will reach The Ponte Vecchio after a 5 minute walk.”

You are probably thinking (after you stopped reading the first line)… wtf does all that mean? So in Shushu terms: You are really close to everything & won’t want to leave your neighborhood & you are really close to all the best gelato. 

what to see/do:

  • Wine tour in Chianti (more on this on my next post) 
  • Watch the sunset at Piazzale Michelangelo
    • Shushu’s tip: Bring a bottle of wine (+cups +wine opener) or a beer to see great views & a beautiful sunset
  • Walk along the Arno River
  • Tour the Duomo, Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (buy 15€ tickets & reserve a time slot to skip the line… REALLY, don’t be fooled by the line, you do NOT need to wait in it!) This includes a ticket for all 5 monuments in Piazza Duomo (cupola, bell tower, baptistery, crypt below cathedral, and Opera del Duomo Museum)
    • You have to climb 463 steps to get to the top & to admire Giorgio Vasari’s frescoes of the Last Judgment (1572-9) up close
      • Ugly truth: it is a shit show. There are so many people & no one guiding the crowds, so you must wait in narrow halls for an unknown amount of time until you get to the top & then there are a ton of people once you get up there (like I actually almost had an anxiety attack imaging myself in the Lion King stampede) Oh, oh, one more thing!! Don’t forget to not wear shorts and cover your shoulders for the Cathedral. Don’t need to cover to climb though. 
      • Shushu’s tip: I would have been sad to have left Florence without seeing Vasari’s Last Judgement so here’s what you do… The “traffic” (where the staircase becomes the only way for people going both up & down) doesn’t start until after your first viewing of the art, so you could climb halfway up, see it, and go down the other way. You can get your workout in by walking to gelato later, don’t worry! 
candid but want to show you that the views are actually unreal 
candid but want to show you that the views are actually unreal 
sunset view over florence @ piazzale michaelangelo
sunset view over florence @ piazzale michaelangelo
the stunning duomo at night
the stunning duomo at night
the last judgement inside the cathedral
the last judgement inside the cathedral
view at the top of the cathedral 
view at the top of the cathedral 

what to eat:

  • Gelateria Edoardo (BEST gelato of the entire Eurotrip! Wait in line for fresh-made cones)
  • Mercato di San Lorenzo (either eat upstairs or get some groceries to eat at home, but don’t forget to get focaccia from a local bakery on the way!)
  • Gusta Pizza (get extra cheese!)
  • La Carraia for more gelato of course
life changing gelato @ edoardo
life changing gelato @ edoardo
so much love goes into each scoop at edoardo, which is why the line is long and slow
so much love goes into each scoop at edoardo, which is why the line is long and slow
pizza at gusta (you see why i recommend adding more cheese? S.O. to meriam for the suggestion)
pizza at gusta (you see why i recommend adding more cheese? S.O. to meriam for the suggestion)
mercato shopping: our favorite was the spicy sundried tomatoes
mercato shopping: our favorite was the spicy sundried tomatoes

ugly truth:

  • Florence is pretty packed with tourists (because it’s so great), but that means there are a lot of tourist trap restaurants & we found ourselves at a few of them
    • Shushu’s tip: Ask a local for their favorite restaurant that they frequent & hit those up. Don’t be fooled by the packed restaurants, because sometimes the quality goes down when trying to feed a ton of people. I wish we had spoken to more local before we decided where to eat. Email me if you want more info on this!

xoxo, 

shushu

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