Things You MUST Do and Eat in Florence, Italy

Jocelyn Hardina and Adam Marks
October 17, 2022

When in a city like Florence, it can be overwhelming to pick the best things to do and the best places to eat. The good news is, this list of activities, restaurants, and gelaterias will save you the hassle of figuring these things out on your own. This Florentine Bucket List is culminated by two students who lived in Florence for 3-5 months, so you can take our word for it. 

Things to do: 

  • Have a chill day in the relaxing Boboli Gardens. Make sure you make it to the very back for an amazing view of Florentine hills 
  • Climb to the top of The Duomo and the Bell Tower. Make sure to book tickets ahead of time. 
  • Look at Renaissance Era art in the Uffizi Gallery. Make sure to book tickets ahead of time.
  • Try traditional Italian food at the Mercato Centrale. The first floor is a fresh market, and the second floor is a food court with various types of cuisine 
  • Hike to the top of Piazzale Michelangelo to see a great view of the city. It is a great spot to watch the sunset and listen to street performers.  
  • See Michelangelo’s The David at The Galleria dell’ Accademia. Make sure to book tickets ahead of time.
  • Visit the Palazzo Vecchio 
  • Browse the jewelry vendors along the Ponte Vecchio 
  • Shop at the San Lorenzo Market, the Santa Maria Novella Market, the Leather Market, and the Santa Trinita Market 
  • Attend an ACF Fiorentina Soccer Game.The energy and atmosphere at these games is beyond. Definitely recommend going to one if they have one while you’re there! 
  • Go to the Jazz Club Firenze. Local bands perform rotating genres of music each night. The vibes in this bar are so fun! 
  • Attend a cooking class to learn how to cook an authentic Italian meal. There are many different companies/people that teach cooking classes, but I used In Tavola and had a great experience! 
  • Go thrifting in local shops. You can find so many unique items and it can be very fun to look at Italian fashion.
    • Some great shops in Florence are Humana Vintage, Melrose Vintage (there are two locations- both have great options), and Giratempo Vintage, but there are many more around the city.

Best Pizzerias: 

  • Gustapizza: They have a very small menu with about ten options, but you truly can’t go wrong. This pizzeria is extremely affordable and has some of the best street food styled pizza in Florence. 
  • Trattoria Pizzeria Nerone: Amazing veggie pizza, pesto pizza, and great pasta options. My favorite pasta dish is the Penne alla Nerone. 
  • Ristorante Pizzeria La Piazzetta di Lorenzo (Lorenzo de Medici):  I absolutely love their veggie pizza and spicy salami pizza. They also have delicious Florentine steak. You really can't go wrong here. 
  • Munaciello: This place has a ton of seating but is always packed. O Munaciello specializes in pizza recipes from the Campania region of Italy. O Munaciello has many options including vegan and vegetarian options. My favorite is the Margherita. 
  • Pizzagnolo: Great local place. Amazing Burrata and Caprese D.O.P pizza.

Best Aperitivo Shops: 

  • B-Roof at Hotel Baglioni: This rooftop bar has an amazing view of the city and has some great aperitivo options. Definitely a great place for pictures or to watch the sunset from. 
  • Obica Mozzarella Bar: This aperitivo spot has a great selection of wine and offers a cozy indoor space or comfortable outdoor seating. They also have delicious finger foods to snack on. 
  • Buca 10: This aperitivo environment is small, but authentic and quiet. There is a great selection of wine and snacks. 

Best Sandwich Shops: 

  • Gusta Bar: Gusta Bar offers typical Italian café foods, but they have great sandwich options. The Sdrucciolo sandwich (salami, pecorino cheese, and honey on focaccia bread) is the perfect blend of sweet and savory! 
  • Pinos: Mostly populated by college students. Many options of paninis and simple local dishes. Pinos is extremely affordable and great for a quick bite. 
  • Panini Toscani: This was my favorite Panini place. They let you taste test different meats and cheeses before building your own unique sandwich. 

Best Restaurants: 

  • Ristorante Mastro Ciligia: This restaurant has amazing food options all around, but they have a delicious Diavola pizza! Great house wine and various pasta and chicken dishes. 
  • Acqua al Due: This place takes a unique twist to traditional Italian cuisine. There are so many fun pasta dishes and definitely something to try when in Florence. 
  • Trattoria ZaZa: ZaZa is an amazing place with ton of seating and options. You have to get pasta. Any of them are amazing. They also have yummy soup and other delicious entrees. My personal favorite is the olive chicken. 
  • Da Garibardi: This restaurant has a great variety of authentic Italian pastas, soups, and meats. Definitely try the Florentine staple: Ribollita. Great pasta options include the pear ravioli and the pumpkin tortellini. This is also a great place to try Florentine steak- it’s a but pricey but a great Florentine food. 
  • Foody Farm: Not the most authentic Italian place, but a great option for when you are looking to diversify a little. Foody Farm has some amazing healthy comfort food. It also sits right next to the Arno River, providing a great view. 
  • Gusta Osteria: This restaurant has such a great menu! A lovely place to grab an aperitivo or to have a slow lunch. The giant meatball is delicious!! 

Best Cafes: 

  • Gusta Bar: The friendliest workers ever! They have great cappuccinos and pastries. 
  • Libri Libre: This café is a great spot to get some work done while enjoying a crepe or coffee. There is a luscious green back patio and the inside also doubles as a bookstore. 
  • Melaleuca: Amazing pastries and food! Try a cinnamon roll or the fresh orange juice. 

Best Gelaterias: 

  • Sbrino’s: This gelato is so creamy and they have delicious non-dairy options. The Speculoos flavor is AMAZING. 
  • Vivoli:  This is the oldest Gelateria still open in Florence. This is a must, but the line is normally long, so come prepared. Try the wild strawberry flavor! 
  • La Carraia: So many options, there is no wrong! 
  • Gelateria dei Neri: So many options!! 
  • Venchi:  A chain gelateria, but it still has great seasonal flavors. Their chocolate coins and cones really make the gelato that much better! 
  • Gelateria della Passera: This gelateria offers so many seasonal and rotating flavors. This is by far the creamiest gelato I’ve ever had.