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Showing posts with label Travel Guide. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel Guide. Show all posts

Christian and I only had one full day in Florence on our trip as there were so many places he wanted to see. I did want him to see the major artworks and to have my delicious butter chicken again so I made sure we at least had time for that. All this to say, this is a guide to Florence if you just have one day and one afternoon/evening.

We arrived at our airbnb at 4:30 giving us just enough time for dinner and to check one thing off our list. Originally I had wanted us to visit the Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens but since we wanted to see the sunset at a specific location we just didn't have the time. We took a quick walk by so he could see how big the building was.

As a quick add-on from my first Florence travel guide - if you're going to be there for a number of days and want to visit many museums purchase the Firenze Card. It gets you in to almost all the museums in Florence for 72 hours (one entry per museum) and you don't have to wait in the regular lines. You can buy it online before your trip or at multiple locations in Florence. This time it was cheaper for us to just buy individual tickets because we only visited a few museums.

What to Do

Piazzale Michelangelo

Viewing the sunset from the Piazzale Michelangelo is a must-do activity. It's a bit of a hike (aka walking up a lot of stairs) to get there but the view is worth it. It was a bit more crowded this time than when I visited in 2017 but still enjoyable. You'll get a panoramic view of the city and at the center of the piazzale there is a reproduction of the Statue of David in bronze.

We had dinner before arriving but there are a couple small cafes at the piazzale that you can eat at as well. There are also salespeople aplenty with touristy souvenirs if that's your thing.

Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore

This church is free to enter but there are very long lines. Christian and I opted out of going in since I had already seen it and he doesn't care too much for churches. But we had to at least enjoy the outside because it is BEAUTIFUL. If you take the time to go inside you will also want to climb the Bell Tower for the view and visit the museum, both require tickets.

Uffizi Gallery

The Uffizi is very large so, if you don't have too much time to explore, research the top paintings/sculptures before you go so you can speed your way through. We walked through all the rooms and made sure to see two of my favorite paintings, Botticelli's Primavera and The Birth of Venus. This museum is also home to da Vinci's Annunciation and Adoration of the Magi (which is an unfinished piece!) It was still being restored when I visited in 2017 so it was in a smaller room with information on the restoration process. but now it is in a permanent location in the museum.

Accademia Gallery

The Accademia Gallery is where you will find arguably the most famous piece of artwork in Florence - Michelangelo's Statue of David. There is also another room FULL of beautiful statues (both originals and reproductions) that is not to be missed. I'm always in awe of how the artist can create the details of hair and fabric out of stone. I have so many photos of braids and hair on my camera roll.

Museo Galileo

Christian is a big fan of science and cool gadgets so I knew he would love the Galileo museum. It's full of inventions and science equipment. It's not as popular as other museums so you don't have to worry about long lines to get in which is always nice after a day of battling crowds during other activities.

Gucci Garden / Piazza della Signoria

The Gucci Garden opened in the Piazza della Signoria in January 2018. We walked through the first floor, which has a store and a few displays but opted out of the €8 upper floors because of time restraints. There is also a cafe, but I've heard that the service isn't really that great so I would only go if you really really want to. Our airbnb was also in this same square, which was pretty cool!

The square is home to the Palazzo Vecchio (with another reproduction of Michelangelo's David outside,) Loggia dei Lanzi (containing Perseus with the Head of Medusa and other statues,) Fountain of Neptune and more.

Ponte Vecchio Bridge

Full of jewelry shops and other touristy pieces there's something for everyone on the Ponte Vecchio. You don't have to shop either, just walking across and you'll be able to see all the fun. There are also some spots with lovely views of the city, great for photos. (forgot to take pictures of the actual bridge, so here are some around it)

Where to Eat

Trattoria Sostanza

The second I booked our Florence airbnb in March I had our host make reservations for Trattoria Sostanza because I NEEDED to have their butter chicken again.  The restaurant is cash only and only has 2 seatings for dinner in their very small dining room so reservations are crucial.  We started with the tuscan salami, shared an order of their chicken breast in butter sauce and finished with a meringue cake with raspberries. The cake was sooo good, normally I'm more of a chocolate dessert girl but this was very refreshing.

Gelateria dei Neri

I remembered this as being one of my favorite gelato places from my last trip and luckily it was just around the corner from where we were staying! We hit it at just the right time too and there was no line.


We happened upon this cafe on our way to the Accademia Gallery and had a very tasty lunch. I enjoyed another pizza (the Salamino Piccante) while Christian had a panini (the Michelangelo with salami, pecorino cheese, artichokes and arugula)!

Osteria Santo Spirito

This restaurant was recommended by a friend and while I enjoyed my meal Christian wasn't as impressed. We didn't have the best service here but it is in a less touristy area, which is nice. I had the Spaghetti Alla Chitarra, Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino (garlic, oil and chili pepper) and Christian had Chitarra con Pomodori Datterini e Basilico (tomato and basil - but there was only one basil leaf...)

*see my 2017 Rome Travel Guide here*

This was my second visit to Rome so I already knew the major things to see but this gave me the opportunity to try restaurants i missed the first time around and enjoy knowing sort of where I was going. So this is going to be similar to my last guide but with some updated information and different food!

What to Do

The Coliseum

The first time I went to Rome we weren't sure of our plans so we didn't pre-buy tickets. This time, however, I knew that the Coliseum was the main thing we were doing in Rome. I originally wanted us to do the Underground and Panoramic tour but we hadn't finalized our dates early enough and they all sold out. It's very competitive! (although the upper levels are closed right now so it would have just been underground) A couple weeks before the trip they released more regular tickets so we grabbed the first time slot of 8:35am.

I highly recommend getting this first time slot and arriving early (before 8) so you can be in the front of the line. When we got in we were pretty much the only people for the first 10 minutes. We were literally the first to walk in and then when we made it to one of the main photo spots a few other couples came in. It was magical to see it without all the crowds.  For help with buying tickets I recommend this TripAdviser thread, they are very helpful at telling you when tickets will be released and how it all works.

Palatine Hill / Roman Forum

You can gain access to these with a ticket from the Coliseum, its 14 Euros for all three if you pre-buy online. It's one of the Seven Hills of Rome and is one of the most ancient parts of the city. We did this right after our Coliseum visit in the morning so it wasn't TOO hot yet, but you will want some water. Once you come down from the Palatine Hill you will find the Roman Forum.

Trevi Fountain

One of the most crowded photo spots in Rome is the Trevi Fountain. It is constantly full of people (except in the wee hours of the morning) so getting your shot will be a bit difficult. The legend goes, if you toss a coin in the fountain you're sure to return to Rome some day.

Piazza Di Spagna / Spanish Steps

The Spanish Steps are another huge tourist area. Last time I went they still allowed people to sit on the steps, which was a bit annoying for people who actually needed to use them. Now they have people stationed there making sure no one is sitting. After checking this out you can do some designer shopping in the surrounding streets! I checked Gucci to see if they had the bag I want and went into Prada and some other stores as well.

Piazza Navona

This is a great place to sit and relax. Christian and I spent a couple hours resting our feet here while we waited for it to be dinner time. There are 3 gorgeous fountains, that have been featured in numerous movies, as well as lots of people watching. Just watch out for all the people peddling selfie sticks and other touristy garbage.

Where to Eat

Tempio di Mecenate

This was one of Christian's favorite meals of the trip and we just happened to go to this restaurant because it was close to our airbnb after our long day at Pompeii. He had the Cacio e Pepe and I had Fettucini al Ragu. Both were super delicious even if the old man we had as a waiter was cranky, ha ha. I wish I had a better picture of Christian's pasta but we were sooo hungry!

Sapori e Delizie

This was one of my favorites, the pizza was so good! We got the Calabrese pizza that came with red onion, sausage, and 'nduja spicy sausage. AMAZINGGGG. We also had the place almost all to ourselves because we went in between lunchtime and dinner time.

Trattoria Pizzeria Vecchia Roma

Another day, another 2 pasta dishes! At this restaurant, that our airbnb host recommended, I got the pesto and Christian tried carbonara.  If you want to eat here for dinner you should make a reservation, it is very popular. We went right when they opened for lunch so it wasn't crowded yet. The food was tasty and we enjoyed the decor.

Emma Pizzeria

This place was recommended by numerous people so we made sure to head there. If you want to sit outside, make a reservation, otherwise you'll be taken inside. We arrived a few minutes before they opened at 7pm and were told we had until 8:30 to finish eating. That's how popular they are. We must have chosen the wrong food because we didn't think it was worth the hype. We started with the Focaccia which was tasty but not at all like actual focaccia, it was just pizza dough with oil and rosemary. We also shared the Chorizo pizza which was good but not amazing.

Trattoria Morgana

Another good, but not amazing, spot was Trattoria Morgana, also by our airbnb. I really enjoyed my chicken with green olives (forgot the wording on the menu) but Christian wasn't too big a fan of his lasagna.

Venchi Gelato

This was Christian's favorite gelato of the trip. It was quite tasty. I stuck with my tried and true combo of chocolate and strawberry every time we had gelato. What can I say, I know what I like!

Fatamorgana Gelato

This was nearby our airbnb and was sooo tasty! We had it on our first night in Rome. Delicious and the cheapest gelato we had on the trip.


There are GROMs everywhere in Italy, and even a few in New York, but even though it's a chain it's amazingggg! I love the Cioccolato Extranoir. Dark chocolate with chips...YUM.

Day Trip to Pompeii

Christian is big into ruins so I knew he had to see Pompeii. We made a day trip from Rome by taking a 7:40am train to Naples followed by a metro ride to Pompeii. The journey should only take a couple hours in total but we had major metro delays that caused it to take at least another hour. There are a few major things to see at Pompeii and you may want to do a tour but we opted to wander for ourselves. I made sure we saw the House of the Tragic Poet, House of the Faun, and the other famous spots before we headed back to Rome.

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