Day 1 - 20 Oct 2021
Content: The easiest (and cheapest) way to get to Florence from abroad is actually to fly to Pisa airport and then get the train (or a taxi/transfer if you prefer). There’s a shuttle from just outside the airport that takes about 5 minutes to get to Pisa Centrale (the city’s main train station) and from there you can get a train to Firenze Santa Maria Novella in about an hour - make sure you get the right one though as there are fast and slow services! Check the Trenitalia website or the yellow boards at the train station. If you have time (and want to) you could explore Pisa first as it’s a small city - we decided to do that on our way back instead (check day 6 for details).
Day 1 - 20 Oct 2021
Content: If you get the train you’ll arrive right by Santa Maria Novella church and pharmacy, which we mention on day 4. From there it’s about a 20 minute walk to the centre of Florence (or you could take a taxi).
Content: We’ve been to Florence three times and by far our favourite place to stay is this B&B that we discovered on our latest trip. The views of the cathedral from the terrace are incredible, the rooms are big, clean and comfortable, the beds are huge, it’s right in the main square and the staff are so lovely and friendly. They have great travel cots, which cost a little extra per night but it’s worth not having to take one with you if you’re travelling with a baby! They also offer breakfast for a small fee (we didn’t try it though so can’t say if it’s good). The building has an antique lift, which is fun but if you get claustrophobic you might prefer the stairs! The terrace is only accessible via steps.
Content: Admire it from outside or venture inside to appreciate the frescos, participate in a mass or light a candle… You can also pay to go up the bell tower and/or up the dome. We did both on our first visit to Florence in 2009 (hence the low quality photos!) and would really recommend it. It’s a lot of steps so not accessible to all but the views from the top are beautiful and worth the sore legs afterwards!
Content: Delicious stone baked pizzas at decent prices, right in the main square, and they do takeaway! We ate ours in our room while our baby slept in the crib next to us but you could eat yours on the B&B terrace or anywhere in the city while taking in the beautiful views! You can also eat it in the restaurant if you prefer.
Day 2 - 21 Oct 2021
Content: Delicious breakfasts with options like pancakes, bagels and pastries plus great coffee. It’s very highly rated on tripadvisor for good reason. The staff are lovely too!
Content: Possibly the most famous (and beautiful) Italian sculpture, you can’t visit Florence without seeing Michelangelo’s David. There are a few smaller copies around the city including the one in Piazza della Signoria but none compares to the one in Galleria dell’Accademia. There’s plenty more art to see there but David is definitely the highlight and worth the entry price on its own. We were in awe!
Content: A must visit when in Florence, all our Italian friends told us to try it. They have three locations on the same street and still get queues out the doors! Thankfully they work quickly so it moves fast. They have a menu of different sandwiches, all huge and made with focaccia, and you can customise them. Good prices, really filling, it was a lot of bread for us but we can understand the appeal. A great option for lunch on the go. In fact we were so full afterwards that we didn’t get any dinner that day!
Content: This square is full of beautiful statues, including the fountain of Neptune, Perseus holding up Medusa’s head, and a copy of Michelangelo’s David outside the palazzo vecchio (old town hall), which is apparently where the original used to be before it was moved to the Galleria dell’Accademia.
Content: If you like history, architecture or art then you’ll enjoy going inside the old town hall. If you’re a film buff you might recognise parts of it from the movie Hannibal.
Day 3 - 22 Oct 2021
Content: More American style breakfasts, their most popular dish is fried chicken and waffles but we went for pancakes and egg and avocado on toast. The pancakes were great, the toast was ok.
Content: We finally made it here on our third visit to Florence! The famous gallery houses some stunning pieces by Botticelli, Caravaggio, Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci, plus it has beautiful views of the river Arno, the duomo and the ponte vecchio. If you’re taking a baby we’d recommend using a carrier - there are lifts but they’re not always easy to find. It’s worth booking tickets online in advance as there can be long queues. When we were there you needed a Green Pass or equivalent proof of Covid vaccination to enter the gallery.
Content: The Uffizi gallery has a terrace cafe with stunning views of the duomo and palazzo vecchio. We just got drinks (which came with crisps) but you could get a meal there and the food looked good. It’s also a designated baby feeding zone so if you’re with a baby and need to feed them you can do so there without any obligation to buy anything. The Uffizi was also one of very few places we visited that had proper baby changing facilities.
Content: A really cute and cosy little restaurant with excellent reviews for good reason. Lovely service, delicious food. We’d recommend the pappardelle with wild boar ragù and the Sienese pici, both Tuscan dishes and both really good. The panna cotta was also very tasty.
Content: Another must-see in Florence is the Ponte vecchio (which literally means old bridge). We’d recommend going to see it from different angles and at different times of day. It’s particularly beautiful if you take it in from a neighbouring bridge during golden hour and sunset like we did. You might even get to see some paddle boarders on the river!
Day 4 - 23 Oct 2021
Content: Classic Italian bakery with loads of sweet and savoury options for breakfast, lunch or a snack. Great coffee too. It’s the number one breakfast spot in Florence on tripadvisor!
Content: This square’s main attraction is the Santa Croce basilica, another beautiful piece of architecture (although much smaller and less ornate than the duomo), with a statue of the Florentine poet Dante next to it. You might notice if you have a keen eye that there are quotes from his Divine Comedy on stone plaques on walls around the city.
Content: Florence is famous for the fiorentina steak so if you’re a meat eater you shouldn’t leave without trying it - and this is the best place to do it! It’s not cheap but you get a lot of food and it’s very good. We got the sharing platter and we’d recommend it. For dessert the millefoglia and cantucci with dessert wine for dipping are both great options. This place gets busy so it’s worth booking in advance, there are good offers online. When we visited they required a Green pass or equivalent proof of Covid vaccination to enter the restaurant.
Content: Another church worth admiring, this one is right by the train station so you could tick it off on your way in or out of the city. Round the corner is the Profumeria Santa Maria Novella - one of the oldest pharmacies in the world. It was founded by monks and it’s really pretty. We visited on a previous trip and I can’t find any photos but trust me that it’s worth a visit!
Content: Early evening we headed up to the terrace of our B&B to see golden hour and sunset and take some photos. You can only access the terrace if you’re staying there as you need a key so we managed to get it to ourselves a few times and it’s worth going at different times of day to see it with different light.
Content: After a big lunch we weren’t hungry enough for dinner so just had a little aperitivo here. It’s a gorgeous bakery with an outdoor bar/restaurant area looking out on Piazza della Repubblica with its arch and carousel. The aperitivo means you buy a drink (not necessarily alcoholic) and they bring you some snacks to have with it. The cocktails weren’t cheap but they were very nice! The snacks were ok.
Day 5 - 24 Oct 2021
Content: We couldn’t get enough of our terrace views so went up again in the early morning to catch them in a different light! And yet again we had the terrace to ourselves.
Content: Lots of delicious pastries, especially the cannoli. The coffee wasn’t the best though. There isn’t really any space to sit but as it’s just on the other side of Ponte Vecchio we recommend grabbing something and eating it on the bridge - there’s a section in the middle where you can perch and take in the views of the Arno river.
Content: We walked along the bridge this time, looked in the windows of the little jewellery stores and had our coffees and pastries while soaking up the morning sun and views along the river, then went in the opposite direction to before to appreciate the other side of the bridge.
Content: We went back to Piazza della Signoria to enjoy it with blue skies! We weren’t hungry enough for lunch yet so just got drinks (which came with crisps) from this gorgeous patisserie/restaurant terrace. Not cheap but really pretty and great views of the square.
Content: We ended up having a late lunch/early dinner in this restaurant near the main square as it had great reviews on tripadvisor. The pasta and wine were really good.
Content: We started walking towards Piazzale Michelangelo and found this little ice cream spot that gets amazing reviews and we can see why! It’s much cheaper than every other ice cream place we saw in Florence but has a great selection of flavours and generous serving sizes. We’d really recommend it!
Content: This spot is known for having the best views across the city and is especially popular at sunset. Our plan was to take our ice creams and spend the early evening there but our baby had other (nappy-related) plans so we didn’t quite make it - hopefully next time!
Day 6 - 25 Oct 2021
Content: Lovely little place with a great assortment of pastries and biscuits. We got some with coffee for breakfast and a bag of other things to try on the train to Pisa. They also have a restaurant area and serve main meals.
Content: This fountain of a boar has a gold snout and mouth while the rest is tarnished. They say that if you rub its snout you’ll return to Florence. It worked for us! We did it the first time we visited and we’ve been back twice so far. People also place a coin in its mouth and let it drop out for good luck. It’s next to the central market, which is worth a look for souvenirs before you leave too.
Day 6 - 25 Oct 2021
Content: If you have time then don’t miss seeing the highlight of Pisa: the leaning tower, of course! It’s about a 25-30 minute walk from Pisa Centrale train station (they have lockers there if you want to pay to leave your luggage) or a few minutes by taxi - but be warned that they tend to drive very fast and it can be a bit scary! The tower is in Piazza del duomo, also known as Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of miracles), and it’s next to the cathedral and baptistery, which are equally beautiful.
Content: Walk around the tower to see how it leans, take some fun photos… you can even pay to go up it, which we did when we first visited several years ago - it’s an odd sensation! There are some cute little cafes and restaurants right by the square that do good food and the prices aren’t bad considering the location. From there it’s a 30 min walk or 10 min taxi ride back to Pisa Centrale to get the 10 min shuttle to the airport and fly home to plan your return trip!