Florence was the third city we stayed during our holidays in Europe, and I can honestly say it got a special place in my heart since the very first day.
Differently from Rome, I found the city much calmer, organised, easier to navigate around, and with a great modern vibe (even with all the historical buildings it has).
I had 3 amazing days there, which I’ll be happily sharing with you now.
If you want to get straight to the point, here you canget my Google Mapswith all the main attractions conveniently marked for you.
Keep reading if you would also like an overview of these attractions.
Mercato Centrale In case you’re a foodie like me, this is THE place to be.
Stroll along a good number of stalls feature local products and produce; and don’t forget to visit the upper level full of yummy restaurants.
Perfect place to sample the best Italy has to offer.
After having lunch in Vernazza, we decided to get the train back to Manarola to take some extra photos of the area.
But I might also say we had a second goal in mind: try a gelato from 5 Terre Gelateria.
We found very good reviews online about them, and early in the day, while we were exploring this little town, this place was always super busy.
They also have a selection of brioches (which can combined with ice cream to please the most demanding sweet tooth 😜) and crepes, but we only tried their gelato at the occasion.
So, after all this walking, why not have our gelato of the day there, right?
Their selection of gelato covers the most traditional flavours, so we decided to follow the idea and stick to the classics!
Mine: Amarena and Cremino.
Hubby: Dark chocolate and Tiramisu.
Everything was super creamy and delicious! Rich in flavour and great texture!
Totally worth a visit to refresh yourself after a day hiking around the Cinque Terre. 🤗
I also noticed they have another shop further down the street, just closer to the beach.
By our observations on the day this one was usually less busy, but you have two options in any case. 🙂
I couldn’t find it on Google Maps though, maybe it was a temporary store?
Salad and pasta were gorgeous! Nothing to add or remove, great choice.
On the other hand, our beef was a bit disappointing, bland and tasteless, although correctly cooked.
Anyways, I understand that Hubby and I were a bit naive with our choice. Let me explain you why.
They are well-known for their servings of seafood, so asking for a beef steak sounds quite wrong, right? 😜
But at the same time if a restaurant puts it on their menu it should be prepared as good as the others dishes, in my opinion.
In a nutshell, the restaurant is good, overall; it also has amazing views.
Just play safe and go for a seafood dish instead. 🙂
Considering that we were a bit unlucky with of our choice, the place has great options (we loved our salad and pasta), good service and amazing views.
It is also incredibly popular during lunchtime, so if you can make a reservation or get there as soon as it opens (like we did).
We decided to spend a day exploring the region; we took a train in the morning: from Florence to La Spezia, and then another train to the first city in the Cinque Terre, Riomaggiore (check here my Google Maps).
Our idea was to do the complete hike from Riomaggiore to Monteresso, however, due to the bad weather on the previous days, 70% of the path was closed! Bummer!
Sadly enough, you only get this kind of information when you are already there.
But that doesn’t mean we did nothing, we did a lot and I’m about to show you what!
What we did then
Our first stop, so we decided to buy the Cinque Terre Card, which gave us access to the trail and unlimited train travels between the 5 cities and La Spezia.
As the trail was closed here, after exploring a bit of the village we got the train to our next stop, Manarola.
It had everything we wanted to finish our holidays in Italy with great food memories.
And that particular evening we’re super lucky!
Coincidently, it was on a Monday, the day they have live music in the house, played on the piano at the occasion by a very talented musician.
As I said above, this was our last meal meal in Italy before travelling to Spain, so we decided to go above and beyond what we normally order: 😜
Hubby: Red chicory and gorgonzola risotto.
Mine: Spaghetti alla carbonara: spaghetti with eggs, ham, cream, cheese and black pepper.
To share: Bistecca alla Fiorentina for one person (~500 grams), with potatoes e tomatoes.
Everything was so delicious!
My carbonara was perfection in form of pasta, I can honestly I’ve never had a carbonara so good as this one before.
A small side note goes to the famous Bistecca alla Fiorentina though: given how famous this dish is, I had high expectations.
I might say that, yes, it is good, but not something exactly remarkable. It’s just a good steak, and that is it.
This place serves two sizes (500 grams and 1kg) – which they say are servings for one and two people. 🙀
We decided to get the smallest one to share and it was enough.
By the way, it wasn’t on their menu, but as we intended to share, the waiter also suggested a 750g version.
So maybe other fractions are also available.
The house also serves a good number of Italian wines, and of course, we decided to get a bottle of red wine to celebrate our amazing holiday in this fabulous country.
Amazing place to have a nice and cozy dinner with your loved one.
The atmosphere is great, food amazing, service spot on.
It’s also super close to Mercato Centrale Florence, so in case you happen to be around the area, Trattoria Vecchio Mercato is a great choice to include in your itinerary.