Florence-The Duomo-San Lorenzo Market-Bargello-Giardino di Boboli-Piazza Santo Spirito

Giardino di Boboli

A trip to Florence is not complete without visiting the magnificent Duomo despite never being more than 2 inches next to another person while inside the church. We briefly passed by San Lorenzo Market on our way to Mercato Centrale di San Lorenzo, a food market that sells everything from a variety of dried mushrooms to fresh seafood/meat. After lunch, we took a stroll around Giardino di Boboli and again admired the awesome view of Florence.

See & Do

  • The Duomo: Free admission to look inside. Combo ticket of €10 gives you access to Brunelleschi’s Dome, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Baptistry of San Giovanni, the Crypt of Santa Reparata inside Florence Cathedral, and the Art Gallery. One thing to keep in mind is that Duomo does not mean “Dome”, it means “Cathedral”–confusing because the Dome is one of the main attractions inside (and outside) this cathedral. Rating: 4/5

The Duomo Painting @ The Duomo

  • Baptistry:A separate structure from the Duomo, off to the side, it was built in several stages from 1150 and combines Romanesque architecture with Gothic architecture. This seems to be a meeting point for many tour groups, so it’s pretty fun to stand around and people watch for a bit of time. Rating: 4/5

Baptistry

  • San Lorenzo Market: Just outside the Mercato Centrale is the San Lorenzo Market, famous for authentic Italian leather goods. It’s also allegedly famous for pickpockets as well so watch your wallet (though when we went it was hardly crowded enough for it to be a real concern). What’s fun is watching the illegal street vendors set up shop with their knockoff goods and then pack up and scatter into the crowds when the police show up. Rating: 4/5

San Lorenzo Market

  • Mercato Centrale di San Lorenzo: Nice little indoor market (if a bit touristy) that sells all sorts of Italian foodstuffs. This is a great place to go to bring a little something home like olive oil or other authentic Italian edibles. This place closes fairly early (right after lunchtime)–I’d recommend grabbing a bite at de Nerbone before or after wandering around the market. Rating: 5/5

Mercato Centrale di San Lorenzo

  • Pharmacy of Santa Maria Novella: One of the oldest pharmacies in the world, they are still selling all sorts of herbal medicines, perfumes, and soaps. You can go in and try out a few samples (they smell pretty good!), but if you want to buy something it definitely is not going to be cheap. This place is fairly close to the Santa Maria Novella cathedral (near the train station–aptly named the S.M. Novella Station). Rating: 4/5
  • Bargello: This museum is known for both its architectural beauty. It was once a palace, and each room and hallway you walk through is breathtaking before even taking into account the classical pieces of Renaissance art that line the rooms. Rating: 5/5

Bargello

  • Giardino di Boboli: If the weather is nice, this park is a great place to walk around and enjoy a combination of art and nature. The admission price is a bit steep, but there is a ton to do and see here–several exhibits to see, plus a huge amphitheater and obelisk. There is also a pathway that looks like it goes straight down in some sort of weird optical illusion, but it’s not too steep to walk. Rating: 5/5


Giardino di Boboli

  • Piazza Santo Spirito: A small little plaza south of the river in Florence–you can usually find a big group of students hanging out on the steps in the plaza. There are a few nice little wine bars on the square, and if the weather is pleasant, getting your wine to-go from one of the nearby bars, grabbing some pizza from nearby Gusta Pizza, and people watching is a great way to spend the night and enjoy the atmosphere. Rating: 5/5

Florence San Spirito

Eat & Drink

  • Caffe Della Galleria: €1.30 for a cup of cappuccino.  €1 ~ €3 for pastries. Small cafe where you can stand at the counter and fulfill your breakfast needs. Conveniently located right in front of Piazza dei Pitti. Rating: 5/5
  • da Nerbone: €6.50 for a plate of tripe. €4 for a plate of pasta. €4 for a small plate of artichokes. €2.50 for half liter of house wine. This is a small shop tucked inside Mercato Centrale di Lorenzo and gets crowded during lunch time. This is where you can get authentic and tasty Florence cuisine at a reasonable price. This place seems to be featured in a bunch of tour books as well as on TripAdvisor, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s only for tourists–the food here is as authentic as it gets and you’ll see many people who work in the area stopping by and getting something to eat. Something that is slightly annoying, though, is that locals get preferential treatment and can skip the line while you’re stuck waiting (though fortunately it wasn’t longer than 10-15 minutes when we went). It’s only open for lunch, so don’t get there too late! Rating: 5/5

Tripe @ da Nerbone Pasta @ da Nerbone Artichoke @ da Nerbone

  • Volume: €5 per glass of wine. Free snacks. This was our first real brush with aperitivo, which is basically a happy hour with free snacks offered early in the evening (~6pm). The catch is that you pay a bit extra for your drinks (normally €5 for a glass of wine would be extortionate) but you are allowed unlimited access to a decent variety of snacks, including chips, veggies, cheese, and dips. Food is available either at the bar or on a platter you can take back to a table. In Florence, aperitivo is good for a quick drink and snack before a late dinner (it’s quite tame compared to Milan, where aperitivo is a whole production and a complete replacement for dinner). Rating: 5/5

Aperitif @ Volumne

  • Trattoria dell’Orto: €8.5 for mushroom pasta. €12 Steak over salad. €9 for 1 liter of house red wine. €8.50 for cover & service charge. Another place that was recommended by our host, simple and authentic Tuscan fare for a completely reasonable price. Once again we were the only English speaking couple in the entire restaurant, but in spite of that the wait staff was extremely friendly and accomodating, and took their time explaining each of the menu items. I must say that house wine is almost always excellent in Italy, and this place is no exception. Rating: 5/5

Mushroom Pasta @ Trattoria dell'Orto Steak Salad @ Trattoria dell'Orto

Stay

  •  The Fabulous 70′s: Our apartment was fairly conveniently located on the south side of the river in a residential neighborhood in the San Spirito neighborhood. It’s a real short walk to the Pitti Palace and the Boboli Gardens. Our host, Max, was an extremely friendly and thorough person, giving us the weather reports for our stay and the rundown of the neighborhood, plus some great restaurant recommendations which we ended up going to (and talking about in the Eat section). Rating: 4/5

Visit Date

  •  10/30/2013

Fitbit Info

  • 11/01/2013  – Walked 10.81 miles

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