Friday, April 24, 2015

Florence: What to See and Where to Eat

Florence is so incredibly beautiful. I loved the small town feel and the beautiful bridges. Although the city is filled with tourists and American students studying abroad (we were constantly seeing kids wearing US college/university sweatshirts), I still fell in love with the place. For me, it became the "best of" city on this trip. I had the best gelato here, best shopping experiences (no crazy lines outside the designer stores like in Milan!), best meal (my favorite meal of this year!), etc.

View from Se-Sto at The Westin Excelsior

Se-Sto at The Westin Excelsior

More Arno river views

Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower

Painted ceilings at the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower

David, by Michelangelo

Butter Chicken at Trattoria Sostanza

Artichoke Omelet at Trattoria Sostanza

Cake at Trattoria Sostanza

Panini at All'Antico Vinaio

Vivoli Gelato

The beautiful Westin Excelsior, Florence! Post is here.

Westin Excelsior, 6th Floor, Piazza Ognissanti
The views at Se-Sto are pretty unbelievable... Take full advantage. The cocktails are pricey but strong, and include a buffet of appetizers. Not a bad deal!

Trattoria Sostanza:
Via del Porcellana, 25/R, 50123 Firenze, Italy
Just thinking about this meal has me salivating... The butter chicken is simply out-of-this-world. The server told me that it's prepared by adding flour and egg to the chicken, waiting until butter is browned in a pan, then placing the chicken breasts in. I may try that one of these days. The Florentine steak is great too, and the artichoke omelet is a stand out. Make sure to finish with a piece of house-made meringue, chocolate cream, strawberry cake. All the right textures combined with a perfect sweetness.

All'Antico Vinaio:
Via de'Neri 65/R, 50122 Firenze, Italy
An easy lunch place with made-to-order sandwiches for 5 euros each. Unfortunately I found the bread to be way too crunchy. I had to take off the top half and just try to eat the fillings. The black truffle spread should not be missed!

Vivoli Gelateria:
Via dell'Isola delle Stinche 7/R, 50122 Firenze, Italy
Truly the best gelato, and I really did try a lot on this trip! The rice flavor is amazing.

We also tried Buca Lapi for their famous florentine steak, but were very disappointed by how chewy the meat was. It's also more expensive than Trattoria Sostanza. If we'd known earlier, we would've skipped Buca Lapi and gone to Trattoria Sostanza twice!

Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower
The main church of Florence, and one you can spot from almost any viewpoint in the city. It's especially beautiful when lit up at night.

Galleria dell'Academia
Home of the stunning 16th century marble statue of David by Michelangelo. Make sure to get in line right when the museum opens, otherwise the lines snake around the streets and go on for what seems like forever.

Uffizi Gallery
A museum where the Birth of Venus is kept. Again, long, long lines. We didn't even make it here, but it's on my list for next time!

Piazza Michelangelo
A viewpoint on a hill that offers panoramic views of the Arno river. Unfortunately the morning we planned to get up really early to catch the sunrise here ended up being a very cloudy one.


  1. That Butter Chicken looks good, sounds Indian, but doesn't look it, obvio!

    1. haha now I'm craving Indian butter chicken!!


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