When you think of Florence, Italy, what is the first thing that comes to mind? The place where Renaissance art was born, of course! There is so much culture to this city and the beauty is endless. Besides the top sites, such as the Duomo, the Baptistry, Ponte Vecchio, and the thousands of churches, don’t forget to check out these other off-the-beaten-path things that Florence has to offer:
One of the first things I would recommend to do in Florence would be to take a food tour with Taste Florence. Taste Florence brings you everywhere from the bakery to the market, showing you all of the amazing flavors the city has to offer. It’s a unique way to see Florence and learn about the food around you. Not only that, but you meet the faces behind all of the amazing treats along the way. It is a great way to start your trip so you can make sure to stop back at those places throughout your stay in Florence. To find out more information and to book a tour, visit http://www.tasteflorence.com
Spend a day wandering the Oltrarno, the area across the Arno River, to get away from the crowds. Walk across Ponte alla Carraia and stop at Gelateria la Carraia for amazing gelato at an unbeatable price. Enjoy your gelato while you take in the spectacular view the Arno River has to offer. As you walk, make sure to stop in the small workshops surrounding you. Their doors are usually open, so don’t be afraid to stop in to see what they are working on.
From here, you can head to Piazzale Michaelangelo for an amazing view of Florence. The view is astounding no matter what time of day. The walk up the steps can be tiring (or you can opt to take the public bus) but the view is definitely rewarding. This spot allows you to see the city from a different angle, laid out perfectly in front of you.
Across the river, Piazza della Signoria is located not far from Ponte Vecchio. The square is filled with enriching museums and lovely cafes. After browsing the outdoor museum of Loggia dei Lanzi, take a minute and relax on the steps. This moment of relaxation also provides a great spot for people watching. Nearby is the Uffizi, the Bargello, as well as Palazzo Vecchio. Inside Palazzo Vecchio there are paneled ceilings, wall frescoes, sculptures, among many other amazing pieces of art. It’s even possible to climb the tower for a great view of the Duomo and all of Florence. If you’re hungry stop at All’Antico Vinaio on Via De Neri, less than a five minute walk from Piazza della Signoia. For five euros, you get a gigantic custom sandwich. The line can be a bit long depending on the time of day, but it’s definitely worth the wait. If there’s still some room in your stomach afterwards for gelato, keeping walking down Via de Neri to Gelateria de Neri.
Visit the Santa Croce Leather School (Scuola del Cuoio), located behind the Basilica of Santa Croce. It’s possible to enter either from the Santa Croce church, or from the Piazza di Santa Croce, 16. You can pop your head into the classrooms to watch the students work and learn. Head upstairs to the gift shop and you can see all the finished products. These handcrafted pieces are available for purchase; it’s even possible to get them customized with initials, which can make for a great souvenir. Walking back past the gift shop, you can watch them make leather bags, among many other things. It is interesting to walk back and forth between stations and see what everyone is working on.
No matter what you do in Florence, you are sure to make memories that you will never forget.
Danielle Sheridan is a photographer based out of New York. You can view her work at http://www.daniellesheridanphoto.com