Florence! Fewer words, more photos


I’m just back from a terrific culinary tour of Tuscany. Before and after the tour, we managed to sneak in a couple of very brief stays in Florence. This was our first visit and we loved it. We look forward to returning…

Narrow streets and falling tourists

a person walking down a narrow street
Many streets in the city center are like this: narrow, bumpy, windy, and gorgeous. Usually they’re filled with tourists though.


a sign on a building
Watch out for falling tourists!

The David

a group of people in a museum
First glimpse of The David. I did a skip the line tour on the day that arrived in Florence. Despite the crowds, there really was something special about seeing this in person


a statue of a man in a room with people
Michelangelo’s David is a required sight to see in Florence. Fortunately, if you can’t make it to the Accademia Gallery (as shown here), there’s an outdoor replica open to the public in the Piazza della Signoria.

The Duomo

a large building with a dome
Photos don’t do justice to this sight. My first glimpse of the Dumo was gasp-worthy. Later in the trip, my wife and I booked a Viator Dumo tour that included access to a terrace that is not otherwise accessible to tourists. Highly recommended!

Uffizi Gallery

a room with statues and paintings
Book timed tickets in advance to avoid huge lines to this magnificent museum


a plate of food on a table
Dinner at Trattoria Gargani. Good food, but not the best we had during our trip


a plate of food and wine
Dinner at Coquinarius (close to the Dumo) was fabulous! We did the 2 person aperitivo tray (pictured) and each ordered a pasta dish. I thought I had scored the jackpot with my delicious Cheese and Pear Raviolini, but then I tasted my wife’s Tagliatelle with guinea fowl and realized that she had in fact won the best meal of the day prize.

During our trip we also ate lunch at Trattoria Sostanza and Caffè Cibreo.  Both were terrific.

Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella

a group of people in a room with a chandelier

The Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella began as a pharmacy run by Dominican monks in 1221.  Now it’s a museum quality cosmetic store designed to part you with your money. We somehow escaped for under 100 Euros, but don’t expect to be so lucky.  It’s worth a stop just to see the store and read its history.


Our tour began and ended at the Florence train station, so we picked hotels close by.  Before our tour, I stayed at the quirky Casa Howard (practically next door to the Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, above).  Afterwards, we took advantage of an amazing Upside deal (details here) to stay at the awesome Palazzo Castri 1874.

a man climbing a rock wall
My weird room at Casa Howard included a climbing wall. After a few drinks a friend demonstrated the climb for the camera.


a pool with a deck and a stone wall
Palazzo Castri 1874 has a secluded outdoor courtyard in the back where they serve tea and pastries in the afternoon. They also offer a free smartphone loaded with city guide info for the duration of your stay.  We only stayed one night, but we’d love to return and stay longer.

Buona Notte Florence

a woman sitting on a dock by a river with a bridge in the background


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[…] I haven’t written about the culinary tour, but you can see my photos from Florence here: Florence! Fewer words, more photos […]

[…] fall also brought a good deal of travel as both Greg and I went to Europe (see Greg’s Florence! Fewer words, more photos and my post on The best Wyndham redemption I’ve ever made for snippets of our trips). We […]

Jan W

That first glimpse of The David almost knocked me off my feet. I could have looked at him for hours. The Duomo also had me just standing in the street, staring, each time I walked by. Along with the Pantheon, these three sites most impressed me during our three weeks in Italy last month. For landscape vistas, we marveled at the beauty as we drove around the Chianti region of Tuscany, stopping at medieval walled cities, eating at local restaurants and appreciating local artisans. As you said, no photograph (or words) can capture the essence of Italy. Great post!


I’m a big sufferer of Stendhal Syndrome! I can’t go for more than 2 years without visiting Florence. Luckily, this hobby makes it possible. I’ll be taking the family to Florence and a road trip around Tuscany over Thanksgiving. I can’t wait! To me, it feels like I’m coming home. 🙂

Marilyn B

We were fortunate enough to visit Florence twice – first for 3+ days in May 1993 and again for 6 days in November 2000 on an air/hotel package. Crowds were nothing like they are now. The November trip was magical because crowds were minimal, no skip the line type tickets were necessary and we were able to enjoy the city for an extended period of time, mingling with locals. We had time to see just about everything. Weather was mostly fine – we had a slight drizzle for an hour or 2 out of the entire time – and the exchange rate was fantastic. We still remember that trip as one of our favorites, even though it was one of our shortest trips. Florence is indeed a special place.


Florence is stunning. Ir is not a coincide the term “Stendhal syndrome” or Stendhalismo emerged after the writer’s visit to this city. Have you also visited Siena or Pisa Greg? Amazing Tuscan places too


This makes me excited for our trip to Italy next year!

Just a Note

Did not make it to Florence on our Italy trip last year, but loved the region in general, specifically Siena. Definitely will make it back (one day).

MIchelle C

We also were just in Florence and loved it, despite the many crowds of tourists. (Currently doing an exchange in Tuscany with a woman who runs cooking classes from her home – it’s been wonderful!)


Korean Air for 25k miles from US to Hawaii


Which Korean air deal for 25 k miles?

Joshua Keidan

Greg, in one of your posts, you mentioned the Korean Air deal for 25k miles. What other deals are there that are close to (or more amazing) than this one with miles? Thanks for the great tips.