Florence / Firenze:
- News café— Via del Giglio, 15. This place is tucked away a little, but if you go to the Michelangelo chapel of Basilica San Lorenzo, it is right down the street. The barista does crazy coffee art and he loves his job—also the coffee is good and cheap.
- Anticoe Noe— Volta di San Piero, 6-red 50122 Florence Literally my favorite sandwiches in the world. Anticoe Noe also has a trattoria which is more expensive, but the sandwiches are around 3 euro and ridiculously delicious. Get the Hot Salami, Eggplant and Romano. It’s right across from Lions Den Pub.
- Lion’s Den—Volta di San Piero Really fun when it’s busy, boring and filled with old people when not. It usually gets crowded around 12- 12:30, but it popping on Thursday which is KARAOKE NIGHT! (at 11 I think) This place is filled with American students.
- Mesopotamia Kebab — Get it with everything—“con tutti.” Best kebab in town.
- Il Fauno Birreria— Cheap bar near Piazza San Marco on Via Cavour. 3 mix drinks or beers for 10 euro. Just don’t use the bathroom…
- Red Garder— Affordable drinks during happy hour and not too bad. You’ll run into a lot of American students here. Also supposedly the secret bakery is right around the corner.
- Gallery Bar — Love this place. It’s in the Santa Croce area, which is mostly filled with drunk Americans and other drunk foreigners at night, but a lot of Italians go to this place. The bartender is Argentinian and so sweet. If you go around 6 or 6:30, ask for the “house drink” which is ginger root, a bunch of alcohols and some ginger ale. It’s 6 euro but if you go at this time, they do aperativo, which is a little buffet for customers. Gallery’s is pretty good.
Activities / Others:
- Central Park—Via del Fosso Macinante, 50145 Florence, Italy—Cab there, it’s far from the center—outdoor, nice for warm weather.
- Uffizi gallery— Instead though if you’re strapped for time, and don’t skip through the non-renaissance sections because they have lots of Rembrandts, and Il Greco and other amazing artists on the first floor.
- The Duomo—climbing to the top of the duomo was fun and pretty, but I actually liked the view from Piazza Michelangelo more. It’s on the more local side of the river, and it’s a hike to get up, but it’s gorgeous. The church is beautiful, San Miniato.
- Santa Maria Novella—it’s the church right near the train station. I liked it a lot, the feature of it is a very famous painting by Masaccio if you’re interested in art history (this was the first known painting that introduced perspective and sited as the beginning of the renaissance). And if you’re interested in art history, also go to the Santa Croce church—it is filled with Giotto frescoes.
- David in the Academia—You CANNOT leave Florence without going to see the David (obviously)—there is also a collection of some of his lesser-known and unfinished works
- New sacristy in Basilica San Lorenzo— architecture was designed by Michelangelo, I believe it also the largest known collection of his statues– it was amazing, you should def go if you time/funds.
- Vespas – We rented vespas from City Car Rent in Florence and rode through the Chianti region. The whole adventures was about 4 hours – highly recommend.
- FLORENTINE LEATHER—If you want to buy Florentine leather, the stores in the Santa Croce area are much cheaper and better quality than the ones in the Ponte Vecchio area. Particularly, I had a lot of luck at a store on the left corner facing the Santa Croce– $10 euro leather-bound imprinted books
- IL LATINI— If you are looking for a really nice dinner, go to Il Latini. Best dinner I’ve had possibly in my life and a very authentic experience—but it’s around 40-50 euro per person and worth every penny. They serve you a full course meal— Starts with antipasto course (bruschetta, barley salad), then several pastas, then the meat course (GIANT plate of pork, florentine steak), then dessert. Throughout the entire meal they offer you the house wine, then dessert wines, lemonciello (lemon dessert liquor) all included with the meal. Close to the train station. It will be hard to get in here but GO!
- ALMA Cooking School: They keep this hush hush, but when I was in Parma I went for a tour and a dinner at the cooking school. The students served us a 7 course meal. http://www.alma.scuolacucina.it/en/ It was bomb.
- Arco di San Lazarro: There is a great Italian place up the street from Arco di San Lazarro but I couldn’t find the name. White cloth dining room with nice prices.
- Parco Ducale: Big beautiful park
- Historical things: Not really worth it to visit the museums. There are some beautiful churches but Parma is much more well known for its food (parmesan and PROSCIUTTO) than for its art and architecture.
- Parmesan Cheese Factory: I’m guessing this is already on your list but absolute must see.
- Art Café: I just liked this spot.
- Ristorante Cocchi: Delicious
- Giolitti— Really awesome and delicious gelato—they give you giant portions
- Grom—A chain throughout Italy, but they have pretty dope gelato as well
- Tre Scalini— It’s a little touristy, right off of Piazza Navona, but it’s good. Their tartufo is famous
- Tartufo— a decadent dessert, ice-cream truffle—this is where the dish was created
- Carbonara—Rome is not known for their food, but pasta carbonara is the regional dish so it will always be good here
Esselunga—a large/ inexpensive grocery store where you can get a quick meal on the cheap—has wine, cheeses, prepared foods, etc
Tabaccheria—They don’t have convenience stores, these are kind of like convenience stores
Farmacia—Pharmacy—they use more intense drugs for cold medicines, be wary
- Aperativo—equivalent to happy hour in the US—buy one drink and you can eat from a small buffet
- Enoteca—an informal restaurant—often has sandwiches etc
- Osteria—A somewhat nicer restaurant than an enoteca
- Ristorante—typically denotes a more formal restaurant
- -They do not provide you with water at restaurants—you have to $ separately and order it
- Frizzante—fizzy water [Symbol]
- Coperto—this is typically a 2-4 euro fee—“sitting fee” which includes wait-staff and silverware, etc (but still not water). Unavoidable
- If you do get a chance to go to Reggio-Emilia, get L’AMBRUSCO—fizzy red wine from the region
- Negroni—disgusting but authentic Italian cocktail—what my grandfather drank because he was a boss—Campari, gin and sweet vermouth
- Spritz—Aperol and wine—kind of an orangy color—not my thing, but if you like Campari you might be into it
- Bellini—Originally created at Harry’s Tavern in Venice—Peach juice, liquer and prosecco- the Italian mimosa essentially
- Prosecco—Italian champagne basically