florence travel guide

lauren sims florence travel guide

It’s only taken me 3ish months,  but I’m FINALLY getting around to sharing my Florence travel guide with y’all today! For those of you who don’t know, Michael and I took a trip to Italy this Fall, and I promised a travel guide for each of the 4 cities we went to (Rome travel guide here, Amalfi coast travel guide here).

It’s hard to pick because we loved all of Italy, but I think Michael and I would both say Florence was our favorite destination. My Florence travel guide today will include what to do, where to stay, favorite restaurants, and other helpful tips!

Florence travel guide: Where to stay

lauren sims florence travel guidePajama top | Pajama bottoms

We absolutely loved the air bnb we stayed at in Florence. It was extremely spacious and right by the Duomo. For those of you who want to look it up, the address is Via delle Oche 13, Firenze, Toscana 50122, Italy. (It’s called ‘Contemporary loft in Florence, Tuscany’).

Florence travel guide: Things to do

This was one of the reasons why we loved Florence and wished we could’ve stayed longer (we were there 4 nights and wish we could’ve stayed another!).

Centrale Mercado

Walk to the Centrale Mercado and see all of the leather! There are tons of little leather stands set up and you could shop for for ever – leather handbags, leather wallets, leather jackets…it’s amazing! There’s also the cutest grocery store and food court around here. We got a bottle of wine for 3 euros here and some fresh fruit!

Cinque Terre

lauren sims florence travel guide lauren sims florence travel guide lauren sims florence travel guide lauren sims florence travel guide lauren sims florence travel guideI could easily do an entire blog post on Cinque Terre, but since this is a Florence Travel guide, I won’t go into too much detail. Cinque Terre is a city that’s a train ride away from Florence. We took a day trip here from Florence and it was 100% worth it / one of our favorite parts of our entire Italy trip.

Cinque Terre means ‘5 towns’. You can hike between each one (but that would definitely take all day), or you can take a train from town to town. We started in Corniglia and hiked through Corniglia to get to Vernazza. It was about a 2 hour hike and not too hard, but absolutely beautiful. You need a $15 pass for the hike.

Vernazza was absolutely beautiful. We ate at Belforte at the top of the hill, with the most amazing view of the water. The food was also amazing – we got the squid ink pasta!

We then took the train to Monterosso which was really pretty and has a great beach. It’s a bigger town than Corniglia and Vernazza.

Then we took the train to Manarola, which was SO beautiful! This is where all of the colorful buildings are, and you can go cliff jumping here as well, so make sure to bring your bathing suit!

With Cinque Terre, make sure you make note of the train times. The trains only come and go at certain times and you don’t want to get stuck there! Like I said, I could go into tons more detail about Cinque Terre, but trying to just give you an overview!

Cooking class through Accidental Tourist

lauren sims florence travel guide lauren sims florence travel guide lauren sims florence travel guideWe signed up for the class because a reader actually recommended it to me (thank you Seema!), and we absolutely LOVED it! We made homemade pasta with a group of about 6 people total. They pick you up from Florence and you drive through Tuscany which was absolutely beautiful. I was a little hesitant to sign up for this bc of the price, but y’all it is MORE than worth it! It was so fun and the food was delicious!

Hike up the Piazzale Michaelangelo

lauren sims florence travel guide lauren sims florence travel guide lauren sims florence travel guide

Another Florence must – hike up the Piazzale Michaelangelo at sunset. Make sure you bring a bottle of wine! You can sit on the steps and enjoy your wine while the sunsets, with the most amazing view of the city. So romantic and special.

Boboli Gardens

lauren sims florence travel guide lauren sims florence travel guideYou could wander through the Boboli gardens for hours. They are huge, and so gorgeous. I think it was maybe 10 euro for each of us.

Climb to top of the Duomo

lauren sims florence travel guide BP Sweater (similar here) | Distressed skinny jeans | Adidas sneakers | Crossbody bag | Sunglasseslauren sims florence travel guide

Climbing to the top of the Duomo will give you the most amazing view of the whole city. I think it was about 15 euro each. I’m really glad we did it, but I will say…beware if you’re claustrophobic. You climb up tons of windy stairs in a pretty tight space! But the view was gorgeous.

Florence travel guide: Favorite restaurants

lauren sims florence travel guide

  1. Gusta Pizza – This is right across the bridge. We walked here for lunch, got our pizza, and took it to the steps of Santo Spirito. The pizza was AMAZING and super cheap!
  2. La Giostra – definitely make dinner reservations for this place! We LOVED it. We got the burrata, pear ravioli, and some kind of balsamic steak. All SO good.
  3. Borgo Antico – we had dinner here one night and it was pretty good! The prices are reasonable and their house wine was great. Also loved their cheesecake!
  4. Breakfast at Le Vespe – SO yummy! It’s pretty cheap, and American type food. (I was missing my eggs for breakfast!)
  5. Ciro & Sons – we went here for dinner and loved it. Decent prices, and really yummy pizza. We also got the artichoke pie appetizer and it was so yummy!
  6. Al Antico – we heard these were the best paninis in Florence and we were not disappointed. The entire menus is in Italian though, so you do kind of have to guess what you’re ordering haha. But the paninis were amazing, pretty cheap, and you get your food super fast.
  7. L’osteria di giavanni – we had dinner here and it was SO GOOD. I’d recommend making reservations. We had some kind of truffle pasta to start, and split the filet mignon, and chocolate brownie for dessert. Our entire meal was 75ish (and that was with the bottle of wine!). We asked to sit in the wine cellar and it was so cool / very romantic!
  8. Breakfast at ditti artigianale – really yummy! Hipster environment – great food and coffee, decent prices


lauren sims florence travel guide

  1. GROM – this place is super popular and it was decent. I wouldn’t say it was our favorite though
  2. Vivoli gelato – yum!
  3. La Carrai gelato – our favorite in Florence!

lauren sims florence travel guide

Holy cow talk about information overload! Hopefully this Florence travel guide helps you plan your trip to Florence, or inspires you to take a trip to Florence! It truly is such a magical city and a trip I will never forget.

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19 Comments on florence travel guide

  1. Hailey
    January 4, 2017 at 3:26 pm (5 months ago)

    Thank you so much for these great tips! I’m in the planning stages for Rome and Florence and have been a bit overwhelmed on where to stay. Love looking through your photos and links-so helpful!

    • laurenkaysims
      January 4, 2017 at 8:53 pm (5 months ago)

      yay I’m so glad you found it helpful! I felt super overwhelmed when we were planning too so I’m glad this can make your process a little bit easier!

  2. Seema
    January 4, 2017 at 6:38 pm (5 months ago)

    Your recap was worth the wait! Such great recs and I love all your pictures. Hope to go back someday and try out some of these places! P.S. Have you bought that pasta maker yet?;)

    • laurenkaysims
      January 4, 2017 at 8:51 pm (5 months ago)

      haha we’ve come close so many times! i want to!!

  3. Abby
    January 4, 2017 at 8:07 pm (5 months ago)

    So helpful! Do you have the information for the cooking class? I’m going in March and would love to surprise my mom with this!

  4. Abby
    January 4, 2017 at 8:08 pm (5 months ago)

    nevermind just saw the accidental tourist link above the picture! 🙂

    • laurenkaysims
      January 9, 2017 at 5:03 pm (5 months ago)

      Ugh same here! It truly is so magical!

  5. Megan
    January 9, 2017 at 10:19 pm (5 months ago)

    This is awesome, thank you! I was wondering if you might be able to provide an overview of the whole trip? For example, where you flew into, where you went first, last, etc., how you got to and from each location, where you flew out of, anything you would do different, if you would recommend sticking with airbnb’s or if it would have been better to be in a hotel in certain locations, etc. I feel like it would be so helpful for planning! Thank you! (ps-I know you mentioned some of these details in your travel guides which are awesome and already really helpful, but I think an overall outline to complement them would be so nice for those trying to plan a similar trip!)

    • laurenkaysims
      January 10, 2017 at 4:18 am (5 months ago)

      hey megan! in my other posts (the italy overview, and then the rome + amalfi coast posts), I give details on alot of that stuff – the order of each city, where we flew into, how we got from city to city. So, these specific city guides are more a round up of my favorite things we did in each city! Favorite restaurants, ideas on what to do, etc. Hopefully this can still be helpful while you’re planning your trip!

      • Megan
        January 10, 2017 at 3:51 pm (5 months ago)

        So sorry, somehow I had missed the “overview” post. Just what I was looking for, thank you!:)

  6. Connie
    January 23, 2017 at 12:53 am (4 months ago)

    Would you be able to post the air bnb link to the place you rented?

  7. Tee davila
    January 26, 2017 at 3:22 am (4 months ago)

    Love reading your blogs ! My husband and I are planning to go to Rome and Florence in may . How safe was it ? Did you feel you had to be extra cautious with pick pocketers ? I just want to be ready on what to pack

    • laurenkaysims
      January 27, 2017 at 1:21 pm (4 months ago)

      people warned us the whole time we were there about pick pocketers, so we felt paranoid…but never had any issues! i just always made sure my bag was zipped up and around my body (like crossbody). but it wasn’t an issue for us at all and we felt very safe!

      • Tee davila
        January 28, 2017 at 2:35 am (4 months ago)

        Ok that makes me feel a bit better . Thank you !!


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Lauren Kay Sims