For many people Florence is their favourite city in Italy. It's very 'walkable', has beautiful architecture, lots of sights. I may have an unpopular opinion here, but for some reason it didn't impress as much as I expected coming here. Don't get me wrong, we had an amazing time there, but for some reason it just didn't click.
We got there by train from Milan, and our AirBNB apartment was literally a 5-minute walk from the central station, so everything was within reach. Our landlord Alda was kind enough to provide all sorts of information about restaurants, things to see and not to see, so we had a decent plan on how to spend our 2.5 days there. So what did we do? We walked, ate and drank wine :)
As you'd expect the old city is full of tourists, but we did manage to walk into some dodgy areas, which was, well, interesting.
During my research, I stumbled across this restaurant called Obica, which is a restaurant + a mozarella bar with branches across five countries/cities. To my surprise I have just recently saw their cook book on sale here in New Zealand (in Mag Nation, Ponsonby). The place looks awesome, visually it's probably one of the most impressive restaurants I've been to, but we were a bit disappointed with the service.
Florence is great for night walks, from the bridges, to the little streets filled with lights, it has it's own special vibe after the sun goes down.
Going back through a few blogs from Europe, there is one thing that appears each time, and that's local markets. Merkato Centrale is a destination on its won, certainly not a well hidden secrets.
From the early hours till the dawn the place is pumping, with fresh seafood, meat, vegetables and deli on the first floor, and a great food court upstairs. I love the concept of a covered market and can spend over an hour just walking around and looking at fresh produce.
If you are in Florence it's well worth to go to Piazzale Michelangelo to check out the famous view of the city, I have to say it's one of a very few attractions we went to.
I think everyone should visit Florence at least once and experience it. Most likely you'll fall in love with it like the rest of the world
From here we rented a car to explore Tuscany, which was one of the highlights of the trip, but more about it later.