In October, Florence is churning out the harvest and hunkering down for winter – with heartier dishes in the restaurants and talk of truffle, porcini mushrooms, pumpkin, polenta, and roasted chestnuts. The weather has absolutely decided that it’s autumn (finally) and the rainstorms hit hard and fast. After a not-so-fun summer, I’m ready for sweaters and cozy cafe corners, spicy new olive oil and the Christmas market that’ll be setting up in the next month.
The tourist season is settling down which means the visitors and messages about vacations are too. I had a crazy summer and wasn’t as active on social media so I missed a few messages asking for travel advice. Living in Florence is a fun fact that gets remembered by even my most distant connections, so I have a lot of people that reach out looking for my personal advice, which I love!
But first and foremost, I will say I am really not the go-to person for up-to-date recommendations on things to do in Florence or elsewhere in Europe for that matter. There are really great people that have a passion for blogging about everything to help make your trip awesome like Girl in Florence for Italy or Love and London for England. My nights most recently are usually spent hanging out in the Adirondack chairs in my backyard while Rami and I have a cookout, or cooking, doing a bit of work, cleaning the house and going to bed. We are really not that interesting.
However, living everyday life in the middle of one of the most famous cities in the world means I’m never far from the history everyone is coming to see. On days when I find a rooftop cafe in a building built by Brunelleschi with a sprawling view of the city or find a really beautiful view without the people lining up with selfie sticks, I want to share those with people that visit from home. For all of these messages that I’ve been sent in the past, I’d try and reply to everyone individually, but I started to realize many of the messages were just asking for general recommendations in cities they were going to, and I was starting to have less time on my hands to get back to everyone, nevermind see everyone that stopped by the Duomo.
I started collecting the info in one google doc and thought this would be easier to share in the future for anyone looking for my personal restaurant recommendations and other random spots I think are worth checking out around Florence, and other cities in Italy (I’ll be adding to my list as I add places I’ve been to and check out new destinations in the future). I’ll also set up a private google map that can be accessed during your trip so you can easily find points of interest and even get directions as long as you have wifi. I don’t want to publish them publicly just because I’d like to keep some of the spots somewhat private (I’ve seen what can happen to a place that gets too popular here).
This way, I can shoot off the info really quick and make sure I get to everyone that asks. Of course, if you want to give me more info or have a specific question about your trip, please feel free to chat! It’s just my life isn’t as focused on the center or tourism so sometimes I may not be as available to help out.
If you’re interested in access to my Personal Italy Guide all you have to do is contact me and I can share the documents with you. The only thing I ask is if you do visit these places, be respectful. Research how this country works and feel free to ask me questions – maybe I can even do some FAQ posts for Italy travels if I get enough feedback. These recommendations are not necessarily used to foreigners so be polite and patient!
One last thing: What I really want everyone to experience here over anything else is the culture. When you book your tickets and are dreaming of the hills covered in vineyards, the cobblestone piazzas, or the cliffside villages, download Duolingo on your phone and learn basic Italian. Wherever you travel, same thing – learn the language. Just the simple act of ordering a coffee in Italian instead of English even if it’s obvious the cashier knows English can change your entire experience that day. Extra points if you can answer any follow-up questions or directions. If you’re daring enough to study hard enough, you can break into the beautifully sarcastic Italian culture hidden within the language – and I swear to anyone I tell, it’s absolutely worth it if you do.
Do you have any particular questions that you need answered for your upcoming trip? Email me and let me know!