A Destination Photographer’s Travel Guide
If Paris is for lovers, Florence is for artists…And husbands who love to eat.
Things and Places we loved: Gustapizza. Every. Single. Day. Twice a Day? Maybe. It’s that good.
Antique Market at Piazza Santo Spirito. We stumbled upon this trying to find a place to sit and eat our margherita pizzas we had just picked up from Gustapizza. I was giddy about all the treasures to find, and Andrew was giddy about the food vendors. Come to find out, the market is held on the second Sunday of every month and is mostly a local market. We ended up frequenting this little Piazza as it was one of our favorites for people watching even when the market wasn’t there.
Museo Bardini + Bardini Gardens (this a secret little garden that is tucked away and often overlooked. When we came, we felt like we had the whole garden to ourselves.)
- Boboli Gardens
- Watching the Sunset at Piazzale Michelangelo
- Listening to buskers at night near the carousel at Piazza della Republica
- Visiting the Artisan shops
Gelato. Every time you see a shop, stop in for a different flavor. I’m really not exaggerating here. Your’re doing enough walking that it will even itself out. Our favorite flavors were mascarpone, pistachio, grapefruit, and whipped chocolate chip.
Watching the artists at Piazza della Signoria
Window shopping at Caffè Gilli- a beautiful little candy shop!
Tamerò – the best Pasta we tried! Located in Piazza Santo Spirito
The one “touristy” thing we did that we found invaluable: booking a one hour walking tour. Florence isn’t a large city, but with all the winding alleys and cobblestone streets, it can be confusing. Our first day there I (Mashaida) may have been a little stressed… and I’m not very much fun when I’m stressed. We decided to book a tour the next day, and it made all the difference for the rest of the trip. I highly recommend avoiding the mistake we made and book a tour for the first day you are there. Taking a 1 hour walking tour the first day really helps you get your bearings. Florence is also a city with so much history and culture- to appreciate it, you really need to do this!
Exploring the quieter streets of Oltrarno: the cities left bank. Later we found out this is the more authentic and less touristy part of Florence, which made sense. Almost everything we enjoyed: artisan shops, eateries, and historic places were on this side. Next time we visit, this is where we will be looking to stay.
All in all, remember that you are NOT a tourist; you are a guest to this amazing place. The best way to embrace any culture is to observe the people, respect the land and be as polite and reasonable as possible. Be kind and be present. The first day (when I was stressed) we walked into a book-making shop to get away from the crowds. The lovely woman said she was closing up shop, but if we wanted, we could follow her to her other store. She ended up giving us so much advice, leaving Andrew and I refreshed and warmed by her kindness. Our last day in Florence we went back to visit her and as we bought a few gifts, she slipped a package into our bag and told us not to open it until we were on the plane. The little package was a small book to record the memories of your child growing up; she had been sad at the news that we do not yet have children and kept saying how beautiful our babies will be someday. Haha! I’m not saying that every interaction you will have will be profoundly kind or that politeness equates a gift; but our favorite travel memories have never been the ones on the itinerary, but rather experiences that have come from being kind, and being present.
If you are heading to Florence just for fun, or if you are going there for a wedding, we hope you found these tips helpful. If you are planning a destination wedding, proposal, engagement, or anniversary and interested in us as your photographers, send us an email and we’ll start the conversation for your custom quote. We promise to take you to all our favorite spots… and more than likely we’ll enjoy Gustapizza with you too. 🙂