Friday, May 27, 2016

My quick-hit guide to Florence

The wonderful, exciting, taking-over-the-world writer Alexander Chee put out a call on Facebook for tips on Florence. I was happy to oblige and emailed him some suggestions.

And then I thought, well, I may know some other people shipping off to Florence for their summer holidays. So here are some ideas for how to spend your gorgeous Florence days....


From my first blog post during my trip last year at this time, click here for some ideas on where to eat, including my first visit to Trattoria Cammillo.

From a few years ago (in some ways Florence never changes so these restaurants are still open and still good, even if the post is from a while back), you can find a guide here to eating in Florence. I visited many of these restaurants last year and remained impressed and full (Ignore the Italian and just go to the middle of the post where the list of restaurants is).

ALSO: There are essentially three branches of Cibreo (the expensive version, the less expensive version and the club version that gives you access to a buffet plus a performance -- I've never been to any of it but Cibreo is quite well known so worth a try)

You know the biggies (the Uffizi and L'Accademia) so let me mention Museo del Novecento (for modern art). I'm personally really interested in 20th century Italian art (Futurism, i Macchaioli, Italian impressionism), and you may want a break after all being submerged in Medieval and Renaissance frescoes.

Produce Markets:
Go to the Sant-Ambrogio Market, slightly off the beaten path, in a neighborhood behind Santa Croce. That said, San Lorenzo was recently renovated and now has some great restaurants so also worth a visit but in a very touristy, crowded part of the city.

There's also usually a weekly flower market on Fridays in Piazza della Repubblica that's visually interesting even if you have no interest in buying flowers.

Neighborhoods (and WALKS):
Don't miss San Niccolo on the other side of the Arno (and of course, Sant'Ambrogio).

In fact the best walks are on the other side of the Arno. You can do the requisite walk up to San Miniato or you could walk to Forte Belvedere, strolling up a road called Costa San Giorgio (which you access just off the Ponte Vecchio). Walks along Via dell'Erta Canina (nearby) are also lovely. They'll help you work off your Florentine diet!

I don't care for leather goods so I can't give advice. My interests are household items (placemats, new Mokas, coffee canisters) paper goods, some clothing and of course, BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS. So, respectively, I visit the supermarkets and the casalinga shops (literally 'housewife'), Il Papiro, Barone near Piazza Beccaria (which had expanded when I went last year) and any of the Feltrinelli branches (including a fantastic one in the Santa Maria Novella train station -- peruse books while you wait for a train? Don't mind if I do!).

Field trips:
Lucca. In case you haven't been, it's a walled Tuscan city where you can even ride your bike on the ramparts of the wall. Also, there's tower in the center of the city with a tree growing on top. Plus some of the best food in Tuscany.

Local blog
Elena is a marketing expert who keeps the best blog ( on what to do in Florence. She no longer updates the English version regularly (
but I'll include the Web address because there are some great links to restaurants and other attractions that are still up-to-date.




Anonymous said...

Ciao Ciambellina!
Do you remember me?
I am (was) a reader of your blog living in Florence.
A few time ago I had a trouble with my computer and I lost a lot of links, included your blog.
Yesterday I was thinking of all other thins and suddenly I thought CIAMBELLINA! So here I am again.

I see you are still interested in Florence and Italy, and that Leonardo is now a very big boy!
And I saw that last summer you was in Italy, what a pitu that we hadn't the chance to meet.
Sarà per la prossima volta!

Ora mi salvo il to blog come Preferito e ricomincerò a seguirti.


Ciambellina said...

Ciao Lucia! Bentornata!

Dispiace anche a me che non ci siamo incontrate. Fu un viaggio piuttosto breve -- purtroppo -- ma mi sono divertita molto, come no, e mi sono convinta che Firenze rimarra' sempre al cuore.

Tu come stai? Se ricordo bene facevi un trasloco...vero?

Complimenti per come sei brava a parlare inglese...forse non vorrai leggere un brano recente che mi faccio pubblicare da una rivista online che si occupa di letteratura in traduzione:

Fatti sentire! Pubblico spesso in inglese che ti potrebbe interessare visto che lo conosci bene.

Anonymous said...

Ma grazie dei complimenti! In realtà l'inglese l'ho soltanto studiato alle scuole superiori ormai una trentina di anni fa.... Ma le lingue mi sono sempre piaciute, tanto che recentemente mi sono cercata dei "pen-pals" della mia età come avevo da ragazzina! Mi piace e mi diverto a imparare e cercare di scrivere in altre lingue .

Leggerò quindi molto volentieri il tuo articolo.

Sì, ho cambiato casa ormai più di tre anni fa, dopo una ristrutturazione. Però ancora la casa non è proprio arredata del tutto, mi manca ancora qualcosa. Ma io sono fatta così: o trovo una cosa che mi colpisce e la compro immediatamente d'istinto, oppure poi ci penso e ci ripenso all'infinito perché non sono mai convinta.

Saluti e a presto, ormai ti ho ritrovata.


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