Florence | October 2016
My boyfriend James and I couldn't have picked a better time to jet set. The day after my last wedding of the season we made our way to Florence, special thanks to Luxury Retreats for our stay at Limonaia, a jaw dropping villa that is a 5-20 minute walk to just about everything in the city. Florence made the perfect 7 day trip; the shopping, food and sights were out of this world. On our second day we stepped right into a bride and groom's photoshoot, pointed towards Ponte Vecchio - of course that would happen to me! I stole a shot of my own, of course. We rented a car on the Sunday to visit Cinque Terre. Coincidently we got the same car that I drive here in Canada (a gray Fiat 500). So obviously, this was a photo op. Keep in mind, driving in the city of Florence is severely restricted to locals only everyday until 8pm, minus Saturday evenings and all of Sundays.
Here are some of our finds and my best suggestions.
Tamerò, close to Palazzo Pitti, is an affordable out-of-the-ordinary restaurant covered inside by graffiti . This was my favourite pasta dish while simultaneously being the least expensive!
La Ménagère was our 1 year anniversary dinner and my personal favourite restaurant. We walked by, picked up flowers for the Villa and made sure to make a reservation. It was originally a hardware store in the 1800's, now a concept restaurant with boutique, florist and venue downstairs for live music. The interior design is industrial meets organic, a play on hard and soft contrast reflected by the menu of cold/hot, sweet/salty and soft/crisp. A must visit.
Fuoco Matto, close to the Catedrale Duomo, was another great happenstance. As walk-ins we had to wait about 20 minutes for a table but it was no stress; Prosecco and pizza bites are replenished all night for the line up!
Santa Croce is a great area to walk through, much more pedestrian and local than the neighbouring tourist spots. I recommend Cibrèo for coffee and lunch.
I absolutely loved Mercato Centrale for fresh ingredients and a beer stop! We loaded up on pasta, pancetta and cheese to make a homemade meal at the villa on an upcoming rainy night.
Villa San Michele is a luxury hotel nestled high enough to get the most spectacular vista of Florence, full of terraced gardens. There's a shuttle that leaves every hour on the hour during the day in front of la Rinascente hotel.
Cinque Terre is a string of 5 towns on the Italian Riviera coastline and a 2 hour drive from Florence. We wanted the freedom of travelling by car which isn't the most recommended but we found the drive fairly easy and were able to find ample (paid) parking outside of Manarola. We chose this town for an afternoon trip because it was said to be easy for parking and offered the best views. Zero disappointments! Be cautious on the winding narrow road within the final 8 minutes to town.
All in all, this trip wasn't nearly as planned as any of my others, seeing as my boyfriend and I have been working 6-7 days a week this time of year. But that's the beauty of Florence. Walk and you will find.
Article and photography, Emilie Olson.
Fuji x100s, edited with tweaked presets by Loren & Chris.