Florence is actually a really great city; it's got the historical center with tons of museum rich with history, and it's also got a lot of gardens. Before, I wrote about Piazza Michelangelo and its surrounding gardens, but the Boboli Gardens are another giant garden in Florence. However, here you have to pay. But, the gardens are huge! We spent a couple of hours just in the gardens and we didn't even finish.
Reasonably Priced, Large Variety, Daily Menu, Good Flavors
Would We Come Back?
I would eat here everyday if I could -the menu changes so there would always be something new and delicious!
So Osteria Il Buongustai, or Little Women, as my friends who studied abroad called it, might possibly be my favorite restaurant ever. It's run by a few women who do all the cooking and running of the restaurant - basically, they are my culinary heroes. I had eaten here the last time I was in Florence and had hands down, the best tomato sauce I've ever had; it tasted like fresh tomatoes, seasoned perfectly - it was amazing! My goal was to eat here as often as possible this time around. Unfortunately, we had stopped by here the previous day, but disappointingly it was closed due to May day. So that was one day less of eating here.
While in Florence I had to get a Florentine Steak...I just had to! In my head I know that it's just a massive steak prepared very simply but prepared very well and that I could probably make it myself but I wanted to try it. It definitely did not disappoint, however, now that I've experienced the real deal I'm satisfied to just make it myself if I wish.
A Florentine Steak is basically a giant T-bone that is rubbed with olive oil and salt. It is cooked for a very short period on each side over charcoal or wood and then removed from heat and left to stand upright on the cross-bar of the T-bone to rest. Once rested it is served with a charred exterior and a near raw interior.
One of the greatest things you can just stumble upon, as we found out, is a Gelato Festival! Europeans love gelato and who can blame them? When we were walking around Florence we saw posters for this festival and decided to go. It was great, only 10 euro for a ticket that included 3 gelato tastes of your choice, a nutella gelato, a gelato from Aglida (pre-packaged gelato company) and the best of all a gelato cocktail!
This festival lasted over several days and you could come any day to use your tickets. There was also a competition for the best gelato flavor, which were among the gelatos that you got to choose. We would've voted if the submission form weren't only in Italian and confusing. For some reason they must love pistachio, I like it too but they had at least 5 versions entered into the competition!
After our adventure on the other side of the Arno, we headed back to the heart of Florence to the San Lorenzo Market. Perhaps the best place in all of Europe for shopping is Florence, at least for budget shopping. The San Lorenzo Market is filled with vendors selling scarves, leather goods, purses, and much more on the streets of Florence, north of the Duomo. The stuff might not always be genuine, but it is cheap. My favorite thing is the scarves! There are so many and some are as cheap as a few euros!
One thing I most certainly failed to do last time I was in Florence was go to any vistas; I had next to no interest in climbing the tons of step to the top of the Duomo, and I never made it to Piazza Michelangelo, a popular square on the other side of the Arno that has stellar views of the city. Well, on this trip, the Duomo was still definitely out of the question (no way in hell I was going to descend that many step with my crap knee), so we headed to the Piazza Michelangelo and the two gardens on each side.
Katherine was looking up markets in Florence and while reading another's blog saw that La Giostra had pear gnocchi! If you know Katherine at all you would know that combination is enough to put the restaurant in the must go to category!
When we got to the front of the restaurant we noticed that this place was on the Michelin guide, it doesn't have any stars but it was good enough to mention in their guide. We walked in and it seemed a little busy and we weren't sure if we'd get a table or not. Luckily they had one table for two open, and we made our way down the steps into the romantically lit dining area.
Reasonably Priced, Pizza, Large Variety
Would We Come Back?
Yeah, I've already eaten here on both of my trips to Florence - of course I'd come back!
When we got to Florence we needed food! So I opted for pizza at Pizzeria O'Vesuvio, which was one of my friends' most frequented stops in Florence when they studied abroad here several years ago. It was close to their school and it seemed to be everyone's favorite stop for pizza. Last time I had come, I had gotten a pizza with fresh mozzarella, onions, and mushrooms. Now, this place can come off as a bit touristy; I think I saw someone down the streets waving a menu around to attract tourists and unfortunately, the cast of Jersey Shore worked here when the city of Florence sadly let them into their confines. However, the pizza is still tried and true!
Now back to Italy posts! Our next stop was Florence, I'd never been, but Katherine was here in 2011 visiting her friends, who were studying abroad, so she knew the ins and outs of the city and walked me around to show me the sites!
Among the most notable things to see is the Duomo, a large Cathedral at the heart of the city. Whenever you think of Florence you get an image of this massive, ornate church. You are able to walk up a bunch of stairs to the top of the Duomo, but there was no way we were doing that with Katherine's knee. Plus we'd already done a ton of uphill/downhill walking, and would only continue to do more. We also walked by the Basilica of Santa Croce., though, like all of the other churches and museums we did not go inside.
So my favorite part of the resort was the wildlife, in particular, the baby coatis! On the beach, there was a family (or five) of coatis, where there must have been at least 30 babies. The babies were so frickin cute, and are definitely what made me like this resort as much as I did. We were hesitant at first to try petting them, but then we saw other people doing it, so I could not resist joining in. The babies were super friendly and softer than they looked. I had to restrain myself from picking one up...and taking it home with me. We avoided the adults - they are after all, wild animals.
Katherine & Bradley
Two engineers with a passion for food and travel! Join us as we eat our way through the world!