If you’re wondering how to see Florence in a day, I recommend parking at the Parcheggio Autostradale “Drive and Tramway” on Villa Costanza! It was 5 euros for 10 hours. We took the T1 line into Florence. If you’re heading directly to lunch at Trattoria da Giorgio, get off at Porta al Prato – Leopolda. We explored the rest of the day on foot. I have included all of the restaurants, sights & parking in the map below!
If you are visiting the Tuscany area for more than a day, here’s my complete guide.
How to see Florence, where to eat
Trattoria da Giorgio
This was a new-to-us restaurant but it didn’t disappoint. The menu is overall VERY cost-effective, including a lunch and dinner special for 15 euros that includes a first, second, side dish, water and a quart of wine. We didn’t end up taking advantage of that deal! Instead, we shared a couple pastas and a half liter of wine. I had a consulate appointment right after, so we didn’t have a ton of time to enjoy multiple courses!
What we ordered:
Chitarrina Abruzzese con Funghi e Tartufo & Caserecce con Ragù di Chianina (a specific cow from near Siena) + a 1/2 liter of the house Chianti
A pasta-making tool consisting of a frame with a series of parallel wires used to create a square shaped pasta. My mom and I learned to use the chitarra in a cooking class we did in Tuscany with Luca & Lorenzo.
Luca & Lorenzo are 2 of my favorite Italians! I continued taking online cooking classes with them throughout the pandemic & actually got to visit them at their house during our last trip to Florence. If you’re planning a longer visit to the Florence and Tuscany area, I highly recommend booking a class with them.
Antico Ristoro di Cambi
We happened upon this restaurant on a recent trip to Florence and really loved the classic Fiaschetteria vibe. Since it was lunchtime, we ordered a couple pastas and a bottle of wine in a fiaschetta – a bottle usually filled with house wine. This bottle, traditionally fully or partially covered with a close-fitting straw basket, used to be a common way to store and sell wine in Italy.
What we ordered:
Tortelli with scottona beef sauce & Penne with Ricotta and Squash Blossoms
Note: If you’re in the mood for a Fiorentina steak, they have a case full of beautiful-looking steaks. I think we will have to try one next time.
Trattoria Il Contadino
If you’re looking for a place with an affordable price and high quality, Il Contadino is the place to go. They are a family-run restaurant with fixed prices for both lunch and dinner. We enjoyed a couple pastas from their regular menu for lunch and of course got some red wine.
What we ordered:
Rigatoni with Wild Boar Ragu & Farfalle with Gorgonzola & Walnut
This is a wonderful quiet spot for lunch. I have not returned since 2017 but it still seems to be going strong! They originally opened in 2016, in collaboration with the Municipality, with the aim of redeveloping the public gardens adjacent to the old municipal walls of Florence.
Walter and I had a wonderful dinner here in 2019 on our first trip to Florence together & we returned last year. It was just as fantastic as we remembered!
What we ordered:
Taglierini al Tartufo, Tortelli di Patate al Ragú, pollo fritto, Cantucci vin santo & Mascarpone + one of the house wines
Il Santo Bevitore
This restaurant was highly suggested! Unfortunately once we got to our reservation we were still full from one of the aforementioned lunches, so we didn’t get to try much of the menu.
What we ordered:
Gnudi, Mushroom Risotto & Panna Cotta with Strawberries
How to see Florence, where to drink
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This beautifully cozy wine bar serves up wines and snacks. Walter and I stumbled upon this spot after dinner during our first trip to Florence together. Il Santo Bevitore is actually flanked by this spot and a Panificio (bakery) which we haven’t tried yet –– they’re all siblings. I highly recommend scoping out seats at the bar.
Osteria Ponte Vecchio
Enjoy an aperitif at Osteria Ponte Vecchio — after stumbling upon this place on our first trip to Florence together back in 2019 & going back again, this feels like our secret spot, it feels so perfectly quiet & tucked away from the hustle & bustle of Florence, but right next to the Arno with an unobstructed view of Ponte Vecchio!
How to see Florence, let’s explore
Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
The cathedral took 140 years to complete and the dome is the largest masonry dome in the world. This gothic style building is a must see on a Florence day trip. It’s quite satisfying to see a building with so many colorful details!
Loggia Dei Lanzi
A 14th-century ceremonial building with wide arches, encompasses an open-air gallery of Renaissance sculptures.
Rampe del Poggi, Piazzale Michelangelo & Giardino delle rose
This gorgeous ramp and fountain system linking the city center of Florence and Piazzale Michelangelo was originally constructed between 1872 – 1876 and just restored, then reopened in May of 2019 after 100 years of deterioration. It is a wonderful treat to happen upon on your climb towards Piazzale Michelangelo. Once you make it to the top you will have arrived at the perfect panoramic view of Florence.
Walk back down through Giardino delle rose for another wonderful view of Florence. This garden was created in 1865 by Giuseppe Poggi, who also designed Rampe del poggi & Piazzale Michelangelo. It is made up of a terraced lawn peppered with 100s of varieties of roses, citrus trees and another 1200 other plants.
Ponte Vecchio & Arno River
The most famous of the bridges over the Arno, perhaps because it’s the oldest of the bridges (it was the only one from 996 – 1218), or because it has dramatically flooded a couple of times. The current version of the bridge was rebuilt after a flood in 1345. The first shops popped up on the bridge in the 13th century, including all types of shops, but in In 1593 Ferdinand I decreed that only goldsmiths and jewelers would be allowed to have their shops on the bridge and today you will notice, that’s how it still stands today.
When you are ready to head back to where your car is parked, you will take the Firenze Santa Maria Novella railway station. But first, walk over Ponte alla Carraia for a gorgeous view of the Arno under Ponte Santa Trinita and Ponte Vecchio.
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