About Amy C
Lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Since Jul 2013
Art Museums, Speciality Museums
Government Buildings, Historic Sites, Art Museums
Flea & Street Markets, Points of Interest & Landmarks
Ha! The Palazzo Pitti is no small palace - Pitti is a huge place that is chock-a-block full of fabulous artworks - sculpture, paintings, ceiling and floor decoration, wall decoration - it can be very overwhelming. I found myself imagining being a Medici and living in the spaces with the artworks - wow wow wow. I also have a new appreciation for my ceilings - I am not sure that ceiling white cuts it anymore when I could put a fresco here and there - a few touches of gold and voila! I would have my own little palace in the city. The Palazzo Pitti is no small palace - Pitti is a huge place that is chock-a-block full of fabulous artworks - sculpture, paintings, ceiling and floor decoration, wall decoration - it can be very overwhelming. I found myself imagining being a Medici and living in the spaces with the artworks - wow wow wow. I also have a new appreciation for my ceilings - I am not sure that ceiling white cuts it anymore when I could put a fresco here and there - a few touches of gold and voila! I would have my own little palace in the city.
The Bargello is one of the oldest buildings in Florence and has been re-purposed again and again; The building's history is as compelling as the collection of art that it now hosts. Situated in the heart of Florence, it's imposing, thick walls belie the peace and calm of the interior courtyard. Plan on taking a few moments to sit upon one of the benches that surround the courtyard, bask in the sunshine and contemplate the family crests that adorn the walls. I was struck by the thought that at various times the space was filled with horses or had a gallows in the center or was a scene of great oration. Now though, it is a space to relax and contemplate in peace. Upstairs through an unimposing doorway, you enter into a huge room that has had past lives as a jail and as a meeting space and now houses a beautiful art collection. Take time to look at the various David statues that were precursors to THE David statue by Michelangelo. The Bargello is a surprise and very worth spending and hour or two.
Make no mistake about it, the Uffizi is HUGE and its collection is massive, deep and can be overwhelming. I would suggest that you take it in pieces and visit different galleries over the course of a few days. If you can't do that then at least visit part in the morning, eat lunch and then visit again in the afternoon. Before you get to Florence, become a member of the Uffizi Gallery. It costs about $100/family and the membership card gets you into ALL of the state museums for free. The great thing at the Uffizi is that you get to enter at door number 2 - no lines, so you can practically come and go at will. Also, study the collection before you go and figure out what you are most interested in and plan your attack. A place to dwaddle is in Hall 2 at the end - the view over the Arno is beautiful. Note that there is not much of interest for kids here - especially little ones.
Walk into the Mercato Centrale and your mouth starts to water as you follow your nose and eyes to the wonderful aromas, colors and brightly lighted, clean vendor stalls offering everything from jars of honey to ready to broil steaks. Bring your shopping bag because even if you are traveling you will want to take something home - Spices, Mushrooms, Meats, Seafood, Cheeses, Wine, Veggies, Fruit, Beans...yum. The second floor offers food so shop early and then stay for lunch!
The Galleria dell'Accademia is a wonderful place, filled with amazing sculptures that are very overshadowed by Michelangelo's David. It is very easy to just walk by them as you gawk at the prize of the collection. Don't. There is so much to see here and it is so well curated that you would be missing a lot of history if you just gawked at David.
"Spot on flavor." is what my daughter says. My one word review...WOW. A single scoop in a tiny cup is all you need because the flavor is bright, clear, fresh and wonderful. Get the lemon and you will be very happy. A mint fan? Try the chocolate mint. If you have ever eaten a mint leaf right off of a plant then you will be able to anticipate the wonderful flavor of this gelato. I am not a big kiwi fan but even that was wonderful. Spot on flavor.
Don't blink as you walk along looking for Gozzi Sergio because you will miss the door. Tucked away next to the leather market, the door almost melts into the scenery. Once inside, the aromas of fresh, earthy Tuscan food take over and you are hooked. Sergio Gozzi has been consistently awarded Slow Food recognition for more than 15 years; that means it offers fresh, local ingredients cooked with love. The two dining rooms are stark but once the table fills with your lunch you won't notice anything but your companions and your meal. The menu is typed daily - all in Italian - and features in season, local, fresh ingredients. We had potato stew, beef stew with potatoes, bread and grilled pork. Every dish was wiped clean with bread; all washed down with house Chianti...absolutely the best lunch I have ever had. Look for it, put your name on the list, wait and be happy. Lunch only...plan on a siesta after.
Osteria Santo Spirito has a great outdoor dining room right on the piazza at the Santo Spirito church. If you have been in that piazza you know that it is a wonderful place to people watch and, if you are ensconced in your very hard to get seat at Osteria Santo Spirito, a great place to eat. We had a most wonderful meal that was paced well, delicious and relaxing. Three different Chiantis all with their own allure complemented the food well. To start, bread with a tapenade that no one wanted to share - moist, well spiced and a perfect consistency. Then, Bocconcini Griglia - grilled ham wrapped around spiced cheese.....yum! Need recipe; Involtini Bresaola - cured beef wrapped around mozzarella and basil....more yummy! Making at home; Bruschetta made with garlic toasted bread...umm, yum; tortellini in a walnut sauce that was simultaneously creamy and crunchy; and gnocchi that was in a garlic sauce that is indescribable. We loved and and so will you. We happened to come along during siesta so got a table with no problem. If you want to go, make a reservation. You will not be sorry.
Vivianda is a great place: the decor is clean and comfortable, the customers are smiling, the waiters bustle about and the menu - delicious but is completely in Italian Much of the menu is vegan, quite a lot is vegetarian but all is good. We had the cappuccino cheesecake at the end which you have to try next you are in Firenze - thick, cheesy, not too sweet - delicious. We also tried the gnochietta in a heavenly sauce, Spech with greens, fabulous bread, lemon infused mozzarella balls that I want the recipe for...all mouth watering, all delicious and all organic. The best part though was the wine and the wine discussion. The family has their own organic vineyard and serves their wines as well as many others. We tried two of theirs - a very young, spring Iike Foglia Tonda and a more earthy "like the people of Tuscany" (the servers words) wine, Folglia Punta. Although we muddled along with the language, we learned a lot from our servers about the grapes, the growing region and the process they use to make the wine. Entertaining, educational and fun. Vivianda is a relaxed, lovely place that, if I lived here, would be my neighborhood place. As a visitor, I know I will return.
The Giardino Boboli is the extensive garden behind the Palazzo Pitti. Glimpsed through the windows of the palace the lines of the garden are reminiscent of Versailles but nowhere near that scale. The gardens are extensive but the main area is terraced on the slope behind the main courtyard of the palace. Make sure you brought your water bottle; especially on a hot day because you should bravely mount the slope and go all the way to the top. This is for two reasons: 1. the view is beautiful at the top and 2. the garden changes as you move through the space. At the bottom and top it is very pruned and controlled but the middle space is more naturalistic. But each garden 'room' has its own personality. Take time to sit and enjoy the view as you proceed through the tiers of the garden and also meander through the side hedges to discover lots of secret places.
A visit to Casa Buonarroti helps to put the story of Michelangelo into perspective. We visited with our #ContextTravel guide and heard the story of his early roots before venturing on to see his masterpieces. The house itself is beautiful with a contemplative courtyard and comfortable rooms. Go and enjoy.
Edoardo offers a great, tasty and creamy gelato served on hand crafted waffle cones, right next to the crowds surrounding the Duomo. There will almost always be a line but go ahead and wait, the gelato is good. What makes it great is that even for a small serving, you get to mix two different flavors. The chocolate, the kiwi, the crema...all of them are good and a terrific reward for hanging out on the hot plaza.
The walk down from Piazza Michelangelo is steep and tiring especially after climbing all the way up there. What better reward than to stop at Fuori Porta for a refresher. They offer an extensive wine list and a well rounded menu at their inside dining room and on the patio. This is a place to go back to often.
The Otto de'Medici is a lovely small hotel in the middle of everything that is Florence...it even has a bit of history all it's own. When you are there read the history book that is in your room. The hotel has a great staff that is ready to help with reservations, directions and suggestions for activities. Breakfast is provided and offers something for everyone - try the fresh squeezed mandarin orange juice. Afternoon tea/ coffee and treats are available too. The hotel has lots of places to sit and socialize or curl up with a book or watch a tv show. These include: the lobby lounge and computer center, the back garden and fountain area and the first floor lounge, conference area and patio. The hotel is well situated for walking to everything in Florence and the prices are good. A lovely hot shower with good water pressure and very comfortable beds. Convenient printers in the lobby for your boarding pass and free WiFI everywhere.
Grom gets gelato consistency right - fresh, creamy and chilled just right. The best part is that Grom gets the flavor right- bright and vibrant that make your taste buds wake up. http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g187895-d783320-r265734789-Grom-Florence_Tuscany.html#
Florens is a good regular old pizza place that is open till late in the night. If you are not looking for gourmet and want a reasonably priced meal, Florens is a good place to go. They are open to families including babies. The house wine is good. The pizza has a good crust and tasty sauce - almost like a good NY/ NJ pie.
Gusta Panino is a great, local place to have good food for a good value. Nothing fancy. Good service, good wine list, tasty food. Try the roast pork with potatoes, crostini with tomatoes, crostini with a variety of toppings, gnocchi with pesto (great pesto) and chicken with salad and potatoes. The meal started with a lovely prosecca and ended with a shot of limoncello. From beginning to end a well paced, family friendly meal in the shadow of Santo Spirito. Very nice.
While in Florence you will walk a lot. When you walk along Via Borgo you may encounter a singing waitress in the street right in front of Osteria Dell' Agnolo. From the street the restaurant does not look like much and the singing may seem a bit too gimicky but you can stop searching for a comfortable outdoor table for a glass of wine. Sit happily outside on the street with a bottle of the house Chianti and have a wonderful time. The food that was being served looked delicious, the waitresses are friendly and helpful and the street traffic brings never ending entertainment. Go, enjoy and go again. Just goes to show that looks and seeming gimmicks can be deceiving.
Florence is a walking city and your feet take a beating as you tour, commute, just go through life. The Florence Fish Kiss provides an entirely different type of pedicure than what you may be used to. When you place your feet in the tank, the little Garra Rufa fish delicately remove the epithelial cells from your feet providing a micro-massage. The literature say that the fish also release an enzyme onto the skin that promotes the restoration of the dermal balance. It may feel like tingling or tickling; a feeling that stays with you for a little while afterwards. The first treatments last for about 15 minutes and leaves your feet feeling rested, relaxed, rejuvenated and ready to hit the road. You might feel silly if you go alone - sitting in a storefront, up on a high stool, with feet in a fish tank - so go with a friend. Your feet will thank you.
Your go to place for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Any anytime in between. If you are twenty something this is also the place for night life. Alberto, the Owner is welcoming and always greats you with a smile. Great too for an espresso and biscotti break. Go and enjoy true Italian hospitality.