Florence, the city of Gelato; what’s not to love?
Museums, cathedrals, a piazza, a pizza; although these are all fabulous things to be had in Florence, the best thing is the gelato.
The hardest thing about being in Florence is deciding which flavour of gelato to try. Furthermore the gelataria’s are always busy places, teeming with people picking their favourites or trying new combinations.
Having stumbled into a fair few gelateria’s this weekend, our favourite has to be Gelateria Grom, located just around the corner from the Duomo.
It seems that we stop by Grom at least once a day and watch as scoops of coconut gelato, shot through with the desiccated fruit, are patted on top of smooth mounds of hazelnut nocciola. Yumm.
Whilst coconut and hazelnut are firm favourites, we make sure to explore as many of the other flavours as possible. Take the range of cioccolato gelatos for example; the stracciatella with its shards of chocolate in a creamy base; the double fudges; the mochas and espressos. Then there are the lush, mouth-watering fruit flavoured gelatos; the mellow-sweet green melon; the nervy limone; or, my new favourite, an earthy pistachio gelato that is filled with the real nut.
With hands full of gelato from Grom, we set out to explore the city of Florence. Just around the corner from the gelateria is the Duomo, that peaks out between the buildings…
Getting up high for the best view of the Duomo
As much as we love being up close to it, the best view of the Duomo however is from the La Terazza rooftop terrace of La Rinascente. Just a few streets away, the terrace is located on top of the La Rinascente mall with fabulous views of the Duomo…
Lunch at the Mercato Centrale in Florence
Getting lost in Florence also means getting hungry. Fortunately the food is excellent.
Although there are many excellent cafes and restaurants, one of the best places to stop for lunch is the Mercato Centrale. Otherwise known as the biggest indoor food market in Florence.
After getting to the Mercato we take a tour of the ground floor, full of stores selling olive oil, truffles, meat, cheese, pastas, sauces, bread and a host of other gorgeous Italian ingredients and products.
It’s a great place to buy gifts for friends, and we come away with more that one bottle of prized extra virgin olive oil.
The tour makes us even hungrier, and we head upstairs to the light-filled atrium full of restaurants. Guess what we get? Pizza of course! We watch as our pizzas are put together and then tossed into a traditional oven to bake. They taste extraordinary..
Polishing off a pizza or two is hard work! Even when it is this good. The solution to a full tummy? Another walk through the city of course.
I’ll never get tired of strolling through the streets of Florence and finding little gems. Whether that is a hidden coffee shop, a market full of oils and vinegars, a fantastic church or a busker with a bountiful voice…
Stopping off for polenta and cheese nibbles at Coquinarius
Medusa, oh my! Exploring the Loggia dei Lanzi
After walking past the streets of shops and restaurants that surround the Duomo, we come to the Loggia dei Lanzi. It’s impossible not to feel immersed in Florence when walking through the open air-space filled with great works of art like Perseus with the Head of Medusa…
Although we initially meant to go in to all the museums we just didn’t get there in time, and the day was too precious to spend queuing. For my next trip I’m planning on getting up super early and beating the crowds.
Crossing the Ponte Vecchio
Whilst we failed quite spectacularly when it came to the museums, we made the most of the bridges. In particular, the iconic Ponte Vecchio bridge.
The Ponte Vecchio is just one bridge that spans the Arno river, but it’s one of the most recognizable with its legions of shops that teeter quite precariously over the edge. We quickly find that its beauty is best appreciated from afar, as inside the bridge is something of a tourist trap.
Dinner at Santo Spirito
Crossing the Ponte Vecchio, we reach the area of Oltrarno, or ‘other side of the river’. The Oltrano is often thought of as being one of the most authentic areas in Florence, and in it is the Piazza Santo Spirito.
Santo Spirito teems with locals and is home to a vibrant restaurant and bar scene. From 6pm onwards this little square fills with life, and is a great place to try some of the best food and drinks, and mingle with locals.
One evening we head in to Piazza Santo Spirito and try Tamerò, one of the best pasta restaurants in Florence. The menu is full of gems like ravioli with ricotta in a sage and butter sauce, pici with black pepper, and squid ink tagliatelle with extra virgin olive oil.
All in all, Florence has been a joy to explore. We’ve spent the weekend ambling through it’s streets, filling our tummies and eyes in equal measure.
Although the weekend hasn’t been enough to even make a scratch on the surface of this buzzing city, we’ve made a great start, and can’t wait to head back :)