As we’re still in back-to-school mode, we can’t help but think of all the Florence newbies that are trying to get a handle on the city. Of course, it’s not just students who have this problem; all travelers at any time of year experience a disorienting feeling once plopped down in a new place. So, consider this our introductory course to Florence, with a syllabus of required reading made up of our most popular past posts. Study up, and soon enough you’ll be scheduling your days between cappuccini and aperitivi like a true Florentine.
As Sister Maria sings, let’s start at the very beginning. Florence for Free is known for its self-guided walking tours, and this one is a doozy. It covers many of the major attractions in city center in just 12 hours. Luckily, you should have more time to explore Florence. Ignore the time constraints and let this agenda be your introductory guide to seeing the heavy hitters around town.
There are two ways to know Florence: in it and above it. While our first post walks you through it, this second post will help you identify much of it the next time you find yourself perched on a friend’s terrace or other panoramic vista.
We know the title says “spots to know for starting school,” but really this post is a list of useful places anyone might need while in town. From explaining why you’ll love tabacchi even if you’re not a smoker to breaking down the ATM system, knowing these practical points will make for an easier transition during your time abroad.
In the States, many of us rarely head to a supermarket unless we’re looking to load up on a week’s worth of groceries; in Italy, they’re visited almost daily. Plus, they have great deli counters that make some mean panini when you’re in a pinch. So we’ve built a map of where to find them around town.
Supermarkets are nice and all, but for local food (and antique, and trinket, and…) shopping, you’ll want to head to one of Florence’s open-air markets. There are so many we sorted them up by neighborhood, making this list a great excuse to see almost every corner of town. Your senses are in for a treat!
Ok, yes, this is another (and our final) food post, but we promise it’s worth it. If you haven’t already heard, Florence has a series of “secret bakeries,” which offer piping hot pastries out of back doors in the wee hours of the morning. Their locations aren’t marked, but we’re happy to point the way to one–finding it is up to you!
Here we offer two ways to see popular sites that often aren’t free, tailored to your time table and wallet. In Florence for only the weekend and want to see all its worldly wonders? There’s a way to do that without falling victim to the usual tourist traps. Have more time to explore the sites, but don’t want to pay for ticket after ticket and stand in line after line? We’ve got something for that, too.
If your stay is plagued by less-than-stellar weather, don’t fret! Much of Florence’s history comes even more alive under moody clouds and occasional showers. This post is another self-guided walk that lets you see the sites while staying (mostly) dry.
Florence is full of festivals, activities, art shows and more that are often free if you know when and where to look. Our calendar is regularly updated to help you maximize your time and budget while in town.
Finally, this post is less about Florence, and more about you. We’ve got ten tips for blending in with the locals while you tour the sites–everything from avoiding touch-shopping (yes, it’s a thing) to proper caffè etiquette. It’s advice that will help you look like an old pro in Florence, even if you might be faking it during your first visit.
Ok, that’s what we’ve got for our introductory round-up! If you have any ideas for other things to add, please let us know. We love suggestions. Benvenuto a Firenze!