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What Locals Wish You Knew Before Visiting Florence

Su Vlae
August 24, 2023
Firenze

Visiting Florence, the jewel of Tuscany, is an incredible experience, but gaining insights that locals hold dear can enhance your trip even further. Here are some tips and advice that locals wish you knew before exploring their beloved city:

  • Trattorias Over Tourist Traps: Seek out local trattorias and family-owned restaurants, especially away from the main tourist areas. You'll not only enjoy more authentic cuisine but also likely spend less. Don't be afraid to ask locals for recommendations.
  • Ferragosto: August 15th is Ferragosto, a national holiday in Italy when many locals take their summer vacations. Some family-owned shops and restaurants might be closed during this time, so it's a good idea to check the holiday schedule when planning your visit.
  • Piazzale Michelangelo at Sunset: For breathtaking views of Florence, head to Piazzale Michelangelo at sunset. It's a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, so arrive early to secure a prime viewing spot and savor the moment.
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Trattorias Over Tourist Traps
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Duomo Firenze
  • Hidden Gelaterias: Florence is renowned for its gelato, and while there are well-known gelaterias, locals often have their favorite hidden gems. Don't hesitate to ask residents for their top gelato recommendations to discover some of the city's most delightful flavors.
  • Local Markets: Explore the local markets, such as Mercato Centrale, where you'll find fresh produce, local specialties, and artisanal products. It's an excellent place to immerse yourself in the daily life of Florentines and sample regional delicacies.
  • Day Trips to the Tuscan Countryside: While Florence itself is enchanting, don't miss the opportunity to venture into the picturesque Tuscan countryside. Consider day trips to surrounding towns like Siena, Lucca, or San Gimignano to experience the region's rural beauty.
  • Public Transportation: Florence's public transportation system is efficient and cost-effective. Locals often use buses to get around, which can be a convenient way to explore the city, especially if you're staying outside the city center.
  • Coffee Etiquette: In Italy, coffee is typically consumed quickly at the bar counter, not at a table. Ordering a coffee and standing at the counter is not only more affordable but also the local way to enjoy an espresso.
  • Respecting Siesta: Many smaller shops, especially outside the city center, close for a few hours in the afternoon during "siesta." Be mindful of this and plan your shopping accordingly.
  • Learn a Few Italian Phrases: While English is widely spoken, making an effort to speak a few basic Italian phrases can go a long way in connecting with locals and showing appreciation for their culture.
  • Sunday Closures: Some museums and shops in Florence may be closed on Sundays, so plan your activities accordingly. The city tends to be quieter on Sundays, making it an ideal time to explore parks and gardens.
  • Enjoy the Pace: Italians appreciate taking their time, especially when it comes to dining. Embrace the slower pace and savor your meals, enjoying the flavors and the company of your fellow diners.

By incorporating these local insights into your visit, you'll not only experience Florence as a tourist but also as an honorary local, immersing yourself in the genuine charm and culture of this remarkable city.

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Visiting Florence, the jewel of Tuscany
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