Florence Eats

The food experience in Florence was on another level especially after the disappointing and mediocre food we found in Rome. I was only in Florence for three days. My friend S is a foodie and it was her mission to find delicious eats for us there. We read reviews and local recommendation websites to find these restaurants. 

Ps.This food post includes vegetarian and sea food options. I did not find any halal Italian recommendations. 

Florence Eats

Lunch in Florence

We only had two lunches in Florence. Both were at the market. We loved the variety and the ease of the location so we went back there the second day. The Market has two main floors. The ground floor is Mercato di San Lorenzo, which is old fashioned with food stalls and shops selling delicious balsamic, olive oil, truffle and honey. The first floor is known as the Central Market and it is like a food court with restaurants on the sides and tables in the middle. It was very crowded, so if you don’t like the crowed then this might not be for you. You can go to the market to only shop for Italian ingredients and gifts as well. I managed to get some delicious balsamic vinegar, honey with truffles and sun dried tomatoes. 

We had some pasta downstairs from Nerbone. Their Pesto pasta was fresh and it was like a salad pasta, but the coolness of it made it taste like a light lunch. The caprese and artichoke starters were good as well. Two mains and two starters and drinks cost us 20 euros.  

The second visit, we went to the Central Market upstairs and the pizza stall looked the most tempting, so we got some from there. There was only one pizza stall with the longest queue! It was very fresh and stone oven baked. It took 15 minutes and it was very yummy! The pizzas were 8-11 euros each. We treated ourselves to some Italian snacks and gelato from there too! 


Of course right!! I had about two a day from most stalls. I don’t discriminate gelato. Most was nice and refreshing. Plus being there in the summer you need a few whenever you see a stall. I made a specific journey to a well recommended spot that I thought I will share with you. 

Dinner in Florence

Simple and proper Italian Pasta (Osteria Santo Spirito)

I wanted to eat every possible type of pasta when I was in Italy and I really enjoyed this place! It was a 40mins wait, but the food was worth it. Simple, but GOOD. 

Pizza with a twist (Berbere)

This pizza was the best one I have had hands down. I had a special one with mozzarella, tomato sauce and capers. The bread served in this pizza place is actually the best I tried in Italy. I also tried the cucumber and watermelon salad, which was just perfect for the weather!  

They have a few branches around Italy, so you don’t only have to be in Florence for this pizza. Though, I can’t really vouch for the other branches. 

Creative Dinning Experience in Florence

Leaving the best dinner for last! Garga was a feast for the stomach and the eyes. It was decorated with a number of very interesting art pieces. You can even draw your own art on the table too! They might keep it and even print it! The food was so creative and REALLY yummy! We also got complementary starter from the chef then he came and said hi at the end of the meal, which was really sweet. It's a pricey meal, but if you want to treat yourself a little I would recommend this. Not to mention that the spinach prawns I had there were the BEST! The dessert had an unusual mix of chocolate mousse with salt, olive oil and berries. Having all of them in one bite is SO GOOD!! 

Over to you:

Which one of these would you try when you visit? and do you know of any MUST TRY restaurants in Florence?

Florence Highlights 

Florence was hands down my favourite city in the two weeks I spent in Italy. It just had everything I wanted and then some. I only spent three days there with my friend S, but I could have stayed there a week! The city has such a great vibe. I had the best food there as well! Unfortunately, I didn't plan what we wanted to see before hand and all the tickets for the main attractions were sold out for the next three days, which is the amount of time we were spending there. It was a shame going all the way and not being able to go inside the Duomo or see David. We still made the most of our time there regardless and LOVED IT! 

Florence highlights

Florence Free walking tour

We found this online and since I have tried a number of free walking tours that I enjoyed like the one I went on in Oslo and Sarajevo, I thought this will be a good choice. I mean the amount information and some of the things you will see is interesting, but the tour guide was so monotone. We got so bored and left after an hour. It might be worth it for the education though! Here is their website in case you are interested.  

Florence Cathedral (Santa Maria del Fiore) and The Famous Duomo

Seeing this in person (from the outside) was magnificent. The level of detail and beauty is unreal! Because we didn't book ages in advance, there weren't any tickets online and the queue was INSANE! There were legit people outside selling the full experience for 50 euros, but I din't want to spend that much, so I only gave it some love from the outside and left! I previously read some of the Brunelleschi's dome book about how that dome was built, which I would highly recommend if you are into reading a story of the place before you go. It was an interesting story. 

San Lorenzo Basilica + Treasure Museum (Han Bing gallery) 

We only stumbled upon this because we couldn't go inside the Duomo and wanted to keep on exploring. The cool thing about the basilica is that they had an audio guide with a visual guide (something like an ipad or a tablet) that shows you pictures of previous structure and it gives you so much information. It was very interesting and you can spend over two hours listening and looking! I really liked the court yard of the treasure museum, the arches and the temporary exhibition of Han Bing work that they were hosting. 

Uffuzzi Gallery

Thankfully, we managed to get some ticket for this famous gallery at least! We got them online for the last entry. It was a clam gallery with lots to see. We got the audio guide, which was a good call otherwise we wouldn't have enjoyed it as much! 

The Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens

This garden was fantastic. We had a full on photoshoot there! We couldn't help ourselves. The view from the rooftop was stunning as well. I wasn't a huge fan of the ceramics museum they had there, but the garden itself was so peaceful and lovely for an afternoon. We booked the tickets online for the 4pm slot and stayed there till 6ish. 

Plaza Michelangelo

This was my favourite. We went there two hours before the sunset for the view, but we got to walk around it and went into the little rose garden next to it. It was free, but it got SO CROWDED half an hour before sunset. Like there were too many people! I still managed to get a good photo, but be warned. I imagine that it would be much quieter in the sunrise.  

The view from Plaza Michelangelo

Muslims in Florence:

There were plenty of Muslim tourists not to stand out! Everyone treated me really nicely and I didn't face any problems, which is great. I think people there are used to Muslim tourists.  

Halal Food in Florence:

Just like Rome, I didn't find special halal Italian food, but I still had a fantastic food experience with being a vegetarian and eating some sea food. 

Transportation in Florence:

It's affordable to get the bus and no one really checks tickets. I followed the suggestions made by google maps for the buses. There were few times were the bus route wasn't exact. It's always good to check the destination with the driver. I liked that the buses were air conditioned at least unlike Rome!

Related Posts:

Where I stayed in Florence
More about Italy

Over to you: Have you been to Florence? What were the highlights for you? If you haven't what would you like to see? 

Where I stayed in Florence

B&B in Florence

Italy is one of the most common destinations and it's on most people's travel list. So, when it comes to finding a place, the choices are endless. 

I looked at many options in Florence until I found the lovely B&B Fifty Seven

It is a family owned B&B.The owner of the B&B, Lorenzo, took a risk and changed this long term renting property to a B&B. I think his bet is paying off! His mother and girlfriend have transformed the interior and chose everything personally. That's why the rooms are full of little personal touches. His mother comes every morning to make sure that everything is tidy and in place. It's true teamwork.

There are only four rooms in the flat with two shared bathrooms, a big open kitchen and a balcony, so the place never feels crowded.  

It's truly a bed and breakfast because breakfast is provided with no extra cost. There is a choice of cereals, spreads and crunchy biscuits. The kitchen is fully equipped, so you can make more elaborate breakfasts if you like. The neighbourhood is really good, so the close by stores sell high quality things.   

B&B Fifty Seven is tucked away from the tourists areas on the other side of the river.

It's a short walking distance from the famous Michelangelo Square (Piazzale Michelangelo). I found the whole of Florence to be walkable, so going from B&B Fifty Sevento the attraction could be walkable (20-30mins), but you can also get the bus from there. There is a direct bus to the station (Bus D) and that same bus stops at all the popular spots too! 

The location of  B&B Fifty Seven 

The location of  B&B Fifty Seven 

My friend S and I totally loved this place. It was so pleasant and we felt at home. I think it added so much to our experience in Florence. Lorenzo and his mother were very hospitable and very helpful. It was such a nice find and I would highly recommend it if you are visiting. 

To book this B&B:

You can contact Lorenzo directly via his website. If you do that you can receive a 15% discount!

 Or you can book it via   . I contacted him personally and he was very professional and quick in his responses! 

Read more on Italy! 

Over to you, have you stayed in Florence before? Was there a specific area you loved? 

Disclaimer: This was a discounted press stay, but all opinions are my own. 

First Time in Rome

First Time in Rome

This visit was my first one to Rome. Everyone knows that Rome is a big deal! After all, all paths leads to Rome!

Italy has been on my list since forever, I mean who doesn't have Italy on their list? I kept pushing the idea of going until my Italian friend announced her Italian wedding, which meant by default that Italy is finally happening! My other friend, S, who is also invited to the wedding have not been to Italy either. Therefore, we decided it's time for a girls Italian adventure. We decided to go for two weeks before the wedding to visit the main cities: Rome, Florence, Venice and Milan. The only problem was that all of this was happening in July! One of their hottest months and apparently the summer we went was the hottest in 40 years according to a lady who was walking on the street. 

This post is all about Rome and the sights we managed to see. To be honest, the whole city is a big museum. Just walking around aimlessly gives you sights to see. We were spoiled for choice really. You could spend days from one museum to the other and from a church to the other. All that choice made Rome very hard. We couldn't fit everything in in three days, but we wanted to at least see the main sights. We took it at leisurely pace and the level of July heat is insane that you would DIE if you try to cram everything in! Thank God for gelato and water fountains. 

Muslims in Rome

Getting Around and Public Transportations: 

I used google maps for getting around including all buses. The bus times are estimation. Some were on time and others were over half an hour late. For some reason, google thought buses were better to take than the metro so I just followed! The bus get extremely busy and hot, but they are cheap. It's actually almost free since it's impossible to get to the little validating machine inside the bus.  

3G and Data in Italy: If you have a UK sim card with a contract or a prepaid package then the internet then you have access to the internet in the rest of Europe. That was the most helpful thing ever! 

Getting Around and Public Transportations

Things to see on your first visit to Rome: 

Villa Borghese + Borghese Gallery

I arrived to Rome at midnight, so I just hurried to the last train from the airport to the city's main train station then got a taxi from there. I wanted to take a bus, but I couldn't figure it out and thought a taxi was the best option. I was staying a little far from the main city centre, so the taxi was 20 euros. I wanted to take it easy on my first day, so I only went to one park and one gallery. I headed to Villa Borghese, which is a lovely park away from the busy city centre. I packed a picnic and stayed there for a couple of hours. The park houses the Borghese Gallery, which consists of a few rooms with impressive ceiling paintings and sculptures. It's a modest size, but full of impressive artwork there. As you leave the park you can continue walking to Pincio Promenade Passeggiata del Pincio to see statues in the open air and head to Piazza del Popolo. That walk was scenic and gives beautiful views of the city of Rome like the photos below! The Piazza has plenty of restaurants.  

Borghese Gallery Reserved Entrance Ticket

Ps. architecture students get a free entry to Borghese Gallery

Vatican City

Obviously! We booked our tickets online from the official website. There were so many options! So, we settled for an individual Museum + Chapel guided tour. It was slightly more expensive to be on a tour with a guide, but it was worth it! We learnt so much and we were glad that we opted for that option. That way we weren't walking aimlessly.  

Fun fact: The Vatican used to be its own country. They even have their own Vatican city passports *still is*!

Colosseum + Roman Forum

Another expected one! But, I cannot go to Rome and not visit right?! We went after lunch, but man oh man the sun was on FULL BLAST! It was so hot, which made it extremely hard to enjoy the place! Thankfully, we reserved and paid for our tickets online. That saved us from waiting in the endless queues. It was still hard to fully appreciate it with the heat. It was 27 degrees at 8am, so even going earlier would not have made huge difference. Just don't go in July! I think it will be a good winter activity though!   

Muslims in Rome:

I was wearing the turban and everyone was nice to me and I wasn't picked on or stared at. I haven't seen Italian Muslims, but I was only in touristy areas. I saw a few Muslim tourists though. If I had enough time, I would have loved to visit Mosque of Rome (Centro Islamico Culturale d'Italia - Grande Moschea di Roma). I read about the architecture of it and how the design relates to the ritual of prayer and it sounds fascinating. They also hold events in that mosque, so it might be worth checking their Facebook page to check what's on at the time of your visit. 

Halal Food in Rome:

I did not find Halal Italian places sadly. I mainly had vegetarian pastas and pizzas. The places I ate in were average. It was actually difficult finding an amazing pasta place in Rome. It is a big city, so finding authentic, delicious places was a little bit of a challenge. 

There are a few halal Indian/Turkish places such as Termini Halaal FoodPeri Peri Halal Grill and La Via Della Seta Roma. I only wanted Italian food in Italy, so I didn't try the above suggestions. 

Fresh Handmade Pasta

Over to you: Have you been to Rome before? If you haven't what would you love to see?

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