Things to do PART I: churches, monasteries, museums & gardens

How can I even begin to list all of wonderful art-related things to see in Florence? It is believed to be the city with the largest concentration of famous art in the world!! I mean the place is literally packed to the brim with beautiful objects. And if you are like me, you want to see all them.

Over the many years I have lived in Italy I STILL have not seen them all…but I think I got pretty close. Below is a list of my favorite places to see in Florence that are churches, monasteries, museums, or gardens. This list is really geared towards those of you who do not have a month so I am leaving some really amazing things off this list simply in interest of time. Later I will write a post about all those amazing things I recommend seeing if you do have the time, or if it is your second or third trip to this great city. At the very least, this will help you pick the best things to see for your FIRST trip to Florence (and then some!). Continue reading…

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Best gelato in Florence (according to Kellin)

This subject is very close to my heart as I spent many years and hundreds of euro honing my gelato taste buds, testing flavor after flavor until I knew, without a doubt, the best that Florence had to offer. I present here my findings (along with some helpful tips to keep in mind for first time travelers).

Gelato (the national snack of Italy) is sold not by size (as in scoops) but by monetary value: one euro, two euro and up. The particular establishment decides how much that equates to in your cup or cone. I never get more than 2 euros unless it has been a really really bad day.
AVOID gelato places that are
a) near big tourist traps or
b) do not have their prices/sizes shown. I have had students pay as much as 10 euro for what should be 2 or 3 euro because they didn’t look for a clearly displayed price list.

THE WINNERS: Continue reading…

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Coffee Culture in Florence! The basics.

Of all the beverage in Italy to be enjoyed there is one I love above them all (you’ll have to ask Carrie about the wine…)

Italians tend to stand and eat for breakfast (and often lunch as well). It is a little odd for most Americans, but that is how Italians do it. If you sit at a table in a Bar (not the beer kind, the coffee kind) they will charge you more money even if you are eating and drinking the same exact thing as the people standing. It is not a scam; it’s just how it is done.

A stunning latte from a local Italian bar

There are often two menus: the sitting menu and the standing menu. They are exactly the same but one tacks on a euro or two (minimum) to all the prices. It is a painful lesson to learn as the same exact cup of coffee and a pastry that usually costs 3.50 Euro standing can cost 15 Euro sitting. I kid you not. They will see that you are American and try to get you to sit. Just kindly say no and stand like the cool, hip Italians. Continue reading…

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Italian food.
For some of you, it is the entire reason you’ve come to Italy, and believe me, we don’t blame you. In fact, we’re here to help. While it is relatively hard to eat badly in Italy, that’s no reason to throw caution to the wind. Come prepared, come with some basic eating/food ordering know-how, and get ready to find out how good Italian food can really be. We’ll start with some really important tips (to save you headache, heartache, and hard earned cash) then we’ll get on with the list of some of our favorite places in Florence from cheap eats to super fancy (want to skip to the list?).
Happy Eating! Continue reading…

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Florence, The Basics.

Any time I travel I like to get some basic information on my chosen destination. Florence’s history is so rich it can sometimes seem daunting to even begin learning the ins and outs of its past. Here is a simple fact sheet and some really basic historical info that will help you feel a bit more oriented when you arrive. Continue reading…

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