Category quick tips

freccia-whata? understanding the italian train system

Ok, so the word understanding might be a bit of a stretch. We’ve come to accept that we will never truly understand the Italian train system. However, after years of validation mishaps, sleeping through our stops, train strikes, and sitting on the floor of an over-sold train, we’ve learned our fair share of lessons. Through […]

florence for starters

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 […]

faking it: know your florence skyline

Don’t know much about Florence? Studying the skyline is a perfect place to start and just the way to fake it. Whether you just embarked on your semester abroad, are a few years settled into your Italian expat life, or are passing through with friends, it’s always fun to dote on your favorite destination and impress your friends and […]

Oblate by Andrea

6 spots to know for starting school in florence

We’ve been fielding requests in the last few weeks from students about to embark on what may be the best thing to ever yet happen to them: studying abroad in Florence. We write that statement with no sense of irony, as studying abroad anywhere is a luxury and can be an eye-opening, life-altering experience. That is […]

summer in florence: but really, where is the air conditioning?

Florence in the summer is hot. It’s really hot. One Florentine, Dante Alighieri, might even go so far as to call it an Inferno. But wait, isn’t Dante’s deepest circle of hell frozen over!? Before you start betraying, money lending, or whatever sins it takes to reserve a place in that icy circle, let’s try to find some less […]

faking it: 2014 world cup edition

Florence for Free is about to take on another F you might’ve never thought possible from a couple of American art historians: FOOTBALL! Now, we’re assuming you’ve made it to our World Cup guide because you’re not particularly well versed in anything Italian soccer. It’s ok, we wouldn’t be our first choice either to explain the game’s […]

florence-instagram

10 florence instagram users to follow

This one goes out to all my long-distance lovers out there! The ones who dream of Florence but only have memories to keep them warm at night. We find Instagram to be the best way to keep our love affair alive. Ogling over others’ Florence posts makes us feel almost right at home. Here are […]

faking it: 10 tips to acting like a local in florence

Longer days and budding flowers should be welcome signs of spring. For many Florentines, however, they are warning sirens – the tourists are coming. Admittedly, the awkward love/hate (mostly hate) relationship Florentines have with tourists often leaves me less than eager to fly my American flag while abroad. So what do I do? I fake it. Faking it is […]

florence for kids

When I was little, I would lie awake at night concocting dream vacations (clearly nothing has changed). Though twenty years ago, those dreams were much simpler. Quality car snacks, a hotel pool, and a bedtime-free week was my idea of the perfect vacay. I can definitively say these childhood fantasies never involved losing track of time at the […]

deli-counter-mercato-centrale

supermarkets in florence’s city center

Picture yourself in a packed city center. It’s hot and crowded. You’re tired and hungry. It also happens to be that magic hour past 1 p.m., where every minute looms closer to an impending siesta. Your food options are dwindling down to an  overpriced tourist trattoria, street-side lampredotto (a Florentine favorite, but too much for […]