As you may or may not already know, my husband and I recently returned home from an eight day trip to Italy. With it being my first time to visit there, I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect but I instantly fell in love with the architecture, history and character of all the places we visited. We went from Rome to Verona to Florence and then back to Rome. All in eight days!!! Talk about an adventure. Almost everyone I talked to who had been to Italy before told me that Florence was their favorite place. Once we stepped foot in the city, it didn’t take long for me to realize why everyone has an undying love for this place.
Although we were only there for a few days, I can very easily recommend four important things you must do while you’re in Florence.
1. Catch a Sunset On The Ponte Vecchio
One of the most iconic spots in all of Florence is the beautiful bridge over the Arno River that takes you from the “touristy” side of Florence to the “locals” side. The Airbnb we stayed in was on the less touristy side of town and we LOVED exploring that area. Everything else was just a short walk across the bridge, which means we got to see a couple absolutely stunning sunsets. Trust me, you won’t want to miss this view!
2. Shop For Leather Goods At The San Lorenzo Market
Is there any better scent than fresh Italian leather? As soon as we got home from our trip I opened up my suitcase and that was all I could smell! Clearly I brought back a couple handbags from the San Lorenzo Market. One was $25 and one was $55, both authentic Italian leather. WHAT A STEAL! Jordan got a couple belts and we also found some great gifts.
Although it gets exhausting walking through the streets of the market and getting hounded by every guy trying to get you to buy their goods, it’s worth every minute! From leather jackets to belts to bags to journals, you can find just about any type of leather item imaginable here. Just make sure you don’t buy anything at the first price they offer you! Everything is negotiable.
3. Go On A Wine Tour In Tuscany
If you know anything about Jordan and I, you are probably aware of our love for wine. We got engaged in a vineyard, spent the days before our wedding wine tasting in Napa, and bottled our own Cava in Spain while on our honeymoon. Wine is an important part of our lives (ha! But really) so of course we did some research before we left to ensure we found the most amazing wine tour to give us the ultimate Tuscan wine experience.
We ended up going wine tasting for a full day with Grape Tours, visiting three different wineries and eating the most amazing meats, cheeses, pasta and chocolate cake. We got to learn all about Chianti Classico and this was completely new for us, as Chianti is not our typical go-to red wine (well, until now that is). We came home with wines from each of the three wineries we visited because they were all so uniquely delicious. I cannot recommend this tour enough!! It begins by meeting at their office in Florence and then you hop in the van with your guide and a few others. Driving is the last thing you want to worry about since you taste 12 different wines on this tour (all hefty pours) but I think that’s why they feed you a delicious lunch as well! 🙂
Of course Jordan had his camera in tow and he even flew the drone a couple times. The views at each winery were absolutely stunning, even during the off season!
Special thanks to Rebecca and Paolo for being the ultimate guides on our incredible day in Tuscany! By the way- they also offer an amazing selection of Tuscan wines that you can order on their website here.
4. Take A Stroll Past The Cathedral Of Santa Maria del Fiore
I am pretty sure this building stunned me the most out of all the amazing architecture we found in Italy. The amount of beauty in each detail of this cathedral is absolutely unbelievable. Construction started in September of 1296 and the building was completed in 1436. I just can’t get over how old everything is in Italy, and how uniquely beautiful the structures are in each city. This one was my favorite to see!
It’s true what everyone says… Florence is a magical city where I could totally see us booking another trip to and staying for much longer. I hear Italy in general gets ridiculously crowded in the summer, which is why we chose the off season to visit. Florence was still pretty packed, so I honestly cannot imagine being there during the busy season. We got incredibly lucky with temps in the upper 50’s or lower 60’s and plenty of sunshine the entire time!
During our time in Florence we came across two incredible places you need to eat. The first is more of a happy hour type place, super small, with great wine (obvi) and meats, cheeses and other snacks. It’s called Le Volpi e L’uva and I highly recommend making a stop there! The second place is an incredible dinner restaurant, which requires a reservation and it ended up being one of our favorite meals of the whole trip. It’s called Santo Bevitore and being the brave eaters that we are, we let our server choose everything we ate that night. It. Was. Unreal. They have a little wine bar next door that is part of the restaurant and a great place to go before dinner. It is located on the less touristy side of town, so it’s a favorite among locals as well! Both our Airbnb host and our wine tour guide recommended this restaurant, so we knew it would be good!
To get a full glimpse into our trip, check my story highlights on Instagram. If you haven’t been to Italy, trust me when I say you must add it to the very top of your list. It’s a magical place that everyone should visit at least once in their life. If you are heading there soon and have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out- firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special thanks to my incredibly talented husband Jordan Heid for all the amazing photos from our trip!
Thanks so much for reading!