Florence in 7 days-Girls Trip 2021

OUR FLORENCE ITINERARY: You’ll notice that climbing the Duomo and visiting museums like the Uffizi Gallery aren’t on here. If that’s your jam, buy tickets online to skip the crowds. I prefer unique experiences and just walking the streets to soak up the culture and local feel. When we plan our Girl Trips, each person gets to pick an activity that is a “must do” and we schedule it on the itinerary after researching all the options. I have now personally experienced the following adventures, all of which I highly recommend, and can’t wait to share with you! I hope your trip to Italy will be as memorable and fun as our Girls Trip 2021. Enjoy the journey!

DAY ONE (Arrival)
We stayed at an ARBNB in the Oltrarno neighborhood-an area filled with sidewalk cafes and artisan shops. Less tourists, more locals. Airport transfer: our ARBNB host recommended a driver in advance, and we used him throughout our trip ($45 pick-up at airport & $50/hour for taking us on day trips-very nice Mercedes Van with room for five passengers). We walked around the neighborhood, got some groceries and unpacked.

Dinner –Trattoria 4 Leoni – Florence – Trattoria 4 Leoni – Florence Eat outdoors on Piazza della Passera-no English spoken by the waiters so download an app to translate the menu. The steaks were huge if you are a meat-eater and the pasta delicious.

Shake off jet leg and work out those legs at Boboli Gardens (reservations needed for weekends $13/during week $10/day but you can buy online or just get at the gate) Walk up the hill and get a stunning view of Florence. Use the back entrance on Via Romana-less crowded. Spend hours wandering. Wear comfortable shoes. Bring water.

Evening private tour of Torrigiani Gardens with host who lives at the family villa and dinner on the terrace made by his wife.  www.info@giardinotorrigiani.it 250 euros for 3 people-cash only (euros).  

Private walking tour for our group of three. Axel, our guide, took us all over Florence on both sides of the Arno so it was a great way to start our trip. We tasted everything: cheese, meat, pastry, wine, gelato! (Book online-we paid $209 USD for 3 people-plus we tipped our guide at end of tour-cash only (euros) for tips everywhere in Italy even restaurants. You can’t add a tip to the bill.).

Lunch at Babae, featured by Stanley Tucci (in Oltrarno) Opens at noon– book table on WhatsApp. They have a functioning wine door. Cheers!  

All day Tuscany tour of winery at Corzano and Paterno Farm, 50020 San Casciano in Val di Pesa, 40 minutes each way driving from Florence. Duration of tour/tasting is two hours. Arrange your own transportation. Book online: 30 euros per person-a bargain that included: Vineyard walk, cellar and dairy tour with a description of the production process. A light outdoor lunch with wines, cheese, cured meat, veggies, fruits, dessert and tasting of three wines. 

Private Cooking class just outside Florence-they provide transportation from Florence city center. Includes plentiful lunch with wine. Majla and her husband host you in their family villa. Cost was 135 euros per person and absolutely worth it to learn how to make pasta from scratch the Italian way.

Dinner at rooftop bar SE-STO on Arno -on top of Westin hotel. Gorgeous view of Ponte Vecchio bridge and river. Make reservations. May not get them if not staying at the Westin but you can try. We got in.  

Artisan Workshops Visit – Florence Artisan Tour – ArtViva will tailor to your wishes. We asked to see artisans making jewelry and leather goods. Private guide for 3 people was 50 euros each. Maria was our tour guide and interpreted for us so we could speak with artisans. Of course, we bought some great pieces to take home with us!

Dinner at rooftop bar in Piazza Santa Spirito: Loggia  https://www.palazzoguadagni.com/loggia-roof-bar/   

Local neighborhood walk in the Oltrarno with a visit to the market in Santo Spirito square and quick stop at Brancacci Chapel Cappella Brancacci, Florence – TripAdvisor and Parrocchia Collegiata Sant’Anna Cagliari (both places we were only ones there-you just walk in to see the fabulous chapels).

Dinner on the patio at La Loggia | Ristorante La Loggia in Piazzale Michelangelo (open 11-11 daily) Great view overlooking the city. Walk across the road past the parking lot to the edge and take stunning pictures of Florence.  

EVERY DAY-EAT GELATO Recommend these two places but there is no “bad” gelato: Gelateria La Carraia and Gelateria Santa Trinità (Oltrarno) are both amazing. Look for gelato in covered metal containers not large colorful mounds on display if you want the local stuff.  

SHOPPING-as much as you can fit in your luggage or do like we did and buy another big piece of luggage to check on your way home-cheaper and safer than shipping stuff: Most stores are closed on Sunday. Other days usually open 10-1 And 3-8-but it’s Italy though so who knows when they will be open! Stroll and visit the small shops in the Oltrarno run by the artists themselves selling their creations: leather, paper, jewelry, art. Artisans we visited on our tour:

Ginerva Gemmi (jewelry) and Frau Leman (leather). Both female artisans with unique pieces.  

NAA Studio showcased typical Florentine jewelry with stamping on silver.

We bought a lot at the Leather School-real Florence artisans working on sight and wide selection of locally made leather. They ship to US for free if you buy enough. They also stamp your initials on leather for free onsite as you wait.

Angela Caputi jewelry https://www.angelacaputi.com/en/ via S. Spirito 58R. Her collections are carried at museums and are stunning. I get so many compliments on the pieces I own. Several stores in Italy. They do not sell online so buy what you want while you are in Italy or regret it.

For more of my blogs about Florence, go here: https://travelswithmelinda.com/category/florence/

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