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The best things to do in Florence may surprise you.

Ciao, Bella!

I've never been to Italy before, and two of my camp friends wanted me to join them in Lake Como. Before meeting up with them in Milan, I spent four days solo in Florence.

However, things did not go as planned…I missed my train by misreading military time, accidentally booked a hostel, got hit by a taxi after climbing 463 steps to the top of the Duomo and, it was perhaps the best time of my life. The fun part of solo trips is that you have no one else to take into consideration for planning which leaves so much room for a little spontaneity. You gotta live a little, right?

The great thing about Italy is that it's all very accessible by train. It's leaps and bounds better than NJ Transit that I'm accustomed to back home. I felt that three nights minimum in Florence is enough time to explore the city and I also did a day trip to Cinque Terre. With so much to explore, I love getting lost and pretending like I live there without a packed itinerary.

If you're planning to go to Florence (or maybe this newsletter even inspires your wanderlust), I hope you enjoy my "top things to do" Florence guide.

A day trip to Cinque Terra is one of the best things to do in Florence.

Top Things To Do in Florence: What to See.

Go to the top of the Duomo: It's not touristy. You'll get the best view of the city, the architecture is surreal with attention to detail and it gives major Hunchback of Notre Dame vibes. Pro tip: book your session for sunset.

Day trip to Cinque Terre: I didn't go to southern Italy on this trip so Cinque Terre was a great addition to round out my activities. It's a two hour bus ride from Florence and then you can travel with a group to each stop and also have time to explore on your own. The village Monterosso was the inspiration behind the Disney movie Luca.

Accademia Gallery: You can't go to Florence without seeing Michelangelo's David, right? The statue is huge. Please buy your tickets in advance. There were long lines outside for people that didn't and I was able to walk right in.

Uffizi Gallery: A short walk from Accademia with even more to see. I did both museums in an afternoon.

Views from Piazzale Michelangelo: Walk around and enjoy the beautiful views and architecture.

Shopping! From designer to local shops, there's something for everyone.

Of all the things to do in Florence, make sure to check out the museums.

Top Things To Do in Florence: Where to Eat.

(fine dining)

Trattoria ZaZa: For any nice restaurant, try to get a reservation even if it's the morning of. The pasta here really lived up to the Italian hype.

La Giostra: With sixteenth century brick arches, this restaurant once housed the shiny horses of a nearby carousel. With only 16 tables, enjoy Tuscan dishes and a true Italian atmosphere.

Il Latini: The dining room has hanging cured meats throughout and they have their very own wine cellar.

(pizza and sandwiches)

Pino's Sandwiches: From the bread to the meat, it's exactly what you'd expect to find in Italy.

Gustarium: Fun fact: Italians don't slice their pizza. I ordered a small pizza and had to cut it myself which keeps it fresh.

Gustapizza: You can never have too much pizza in Italy!

(gelato)

Gelateria Della Passera: Gelato tastes so different in Italy. You can taste the fruit of each flavor and it is seriously a must.

Gelateria dei Neri: Also a great choice with unique flavors like licorice, nutella and if you're feeling adventurous, flower of milk.

The architecture in Florence is one of the best things to see.

(bars)

Volume: Located south of the river, Volume is located on Piazza Santo Spirito. It's a historical part of the city but also has a ton of bars and outdoor seating on the streets. At night it became one big party outside and was one of the best nights of my trip.

Rex Cafè: Definitely passes the vibe check. Spunky cocktails, retro feels and live music and DJs.

Bitter Bar: This bar is inspired by the 1920s where you'll find smooth cocktails and a night of jazz.

Mayday Club: If you're looking for a cocktail that you've never heard of or want to try something new, visit Mayday Club.

Top Things To Do in Florence: Where to Stay.

The Social Hub: The hostel that I accidentally booked (I had my own room and bathroom) was super vibey. A grand piano in the lobby, a rooftop bar and pool and I felt very safe. There were a lot of study abroad students but I definitely made some friends with other solo travelers.

Staying at a place with a view is one of the best things to do in Florence.

Airbnb! Some of these Italian Airbnbs look like they're right out of a movie. This definitely helps if you want to stay in a certain part of the city or want to feel like a local.

Where to go after: on this trip, I went to Milan and then to Lake Como. From Milan you also can take a train to Venice or Bologna. If you choose to take a train south, you'll find Rome, Sicily, Amalfi and Naples.

There are so many ways to go about visiting Italy. I'm a believer in always leaving something else to come back to see, instead of trying to pack everything in.

Be good,

JB

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