We took the high speed train from Rome to Florence.
Unlike Amtrak here in the US.
But we digress...
After arriving at our destination, we were lucky enough to hang out with an Ocean State native who also makes her home part of the year in Italy. Can we talk about what a difference it is exploring with someone you already know who speaks the language flawlessly and is also essentially a food and wine expert? Now, if you don't happen to have a friend like this to show you around overseas, you'll want to scan our insider list of things to see and do (in addition to some of the more classic spots like the Duomo, the Uffizi Gallery, etc.) before booking your bucket list trip to Firenze.
- Visit the wall of chocolate at Venchi and pick up a few boxes to bring home. Pretty certain they are NOT gettable in the States. It's where Italians get their chocolate fix.
- Take a selfie at the Ponte Vecchio. (Photo above.) Totally tourist-y but everyone's doing it! Also spy the love locks on display nearby. Just like Paris...until they started taking them down.
- Copy cat the locals and take a 2+ hour lunch. With wine of course. (WE loved Coquinarius! Another thing to remember - the house wine at just about every restaurant in Italy is outstanding.)
- No time, or place, for an Italian 'siesta' immediately following? Make sure to have an espresso or Americano as the end note of your meal. Then, get out and start walking in the fresh air. It's the only way to avoid what we'd call in America (How you say?) a food coma.
- Yes, Michelangelo is the man, but for all you fashion junkies, don't forget Gucci. (I speak Italian - Gucci, Ferragamo, Loro Piana.) Specifically, the Museo Gucci on the Piazza della Signoria with exhibits of vintage bags, clothing, and so much more.
- Get gelato at Edoardo. It's organic and equally as important, deliciouso. Definitely another spot where the locals and visitors-in-the-know go. The list of flavors, and seasonal specials (Pear and choc chip 4ever! Or at least until pear season's over.), was as long as the line we waited on to order. Also, they don't take (credit) cards, so be sure you have Euros.
Team Patty J
*Updated and revised from the original post which appeared Fall of 2016.
Photo Credits: Additional pics courtesy of PattyJ.com