Mondays in Florence

I often hear the following from clients: “I’ve been told that I shouldn’t visit Florence on a Monday because nothing will be open.” To that I say, au contraire–Mondays are a great day for visiting the less-frequented sites and hidden gems of the city. Sure, the major state museums like the Uffizi, Palazzo Pitti, and the Accademia will be closed, but there are still plenty of places to explore. Plus, most of the shops, restaurants, and cafes also remain open on Mondays now–so you can get your fill of delicious Tuscan fare and unique Florentine goods any day of the week. Below I’ve listed my favorite spots to visit on Mondays. Continue reading

Try This, Not That

Every city has a list of “must see” sites. London has the Tower, Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey. Rome has the Colosseum, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Trevi Fountain. In Florence, everyone wants to visit the Galleria degli Uffizi, the Accademia, and the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore–more specifically, a climb up Brunelleschi’s famed dome. While I think that these places are important and definitely worth a visit, I also know how crowded and unpleasant they can get during peak season. Where is the joy in seeing Michelangelo’s David or Botticelli’s Primavera if you’re fighting through a sea of tour groups and selfie sticks just to catch a glimpse? Continue reading

When is the best time to visit Florence?

I get this question a lot from friends, family, and clients and I always tell them that they should come to Florence in the off-season i.e., January and February. Although most will tell you to visit in May or September for the favorable weather, I sincerely believe that the months following Christmas are the most enjoyable time to be here. Rather than retreat into hibernation, as many cities seem to do in these cool, rainy months, Florence comes to life. Continue reading

If you order a latte, they will give you milk

DSC04245_FotorItalians take their coffee very seriously. They like their espressi piping hot and richly flavored, their cappuccini smooth and topped with cloud-like milk froth, and their caffè macchiati perfectly balanced. As a result, nearly every tazza (cup) of caffè that you sip in Italy is going to be amazing, whether you find yourself in the fanciest cafe of a city center or standing at the airport bar waiting for your flight back home. Plus, this is the only major European country that DOESN’T have a Starbucks, which should let you know that Italians really value their style of coffee. Continue reading

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for…Gelato!

In addition toIMG_0884_Fotor being the birthplace of Dante, Leonardo, and Michelangelo, Florence is also home to one very special treat: GELATO! Gelato, meaning “frozen” in Italian is one of my absolute favorite Florentine foods. Although it is often referred to as “Italian ice cream,” I think it would be better to call it “ice cream’s  cool Italian cousin” as it is generally lower in fat and sugars than its counterpart. Continue reading

DOC, DOCG, DOP: What do all of these labels mean?

TypicIf you take a trip to the local supermercato or specialty grocer while in Florence, you will notice that many of the food items as well as the bottles of wine feature a special label called a marchio di qualità or mark of quality. These labels, established by both the European Union (for food products) and Italy (for wine) enable consumers to know that they are buying high quality products that were made using traditional methods. Continue reading

What should I pack?

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Is it acceptable to just pack beautiful scarves?

Every time a friend or family member comes to visit me in Florence, one of their pre-departure questions will inevitably be “What should I pack?” After living in this city on and off for nearly 10 years, I’ve learned that there are certain things that can make one’s trip to Florence much more enjoyable. Here I’ve compiled a list of seven essential items that no visitor to Florence should be without. Continue reading