I travelled to Italy last November as the winner of the Del Monte India’s #ItalianEscapades campaign and won an all expense paid trip to Rome, Florence and Venice. This was the first time that I’d ever been outside the country and I was as thrilled and excited as I was nervous. The nerves and the jitters didn’t last very long though as the people there were so friendly and warm; despite there being a total absence in proper communication. We stayed in the historic and beautiful city of Florence for 2 days and it made me absolutely fall in love with the place. We (my mum and I) first began our Italian adventure in the stunning Rome.
Here are some ways in which you can spend 2 days in Florence.
Take a walk in the parks:
And admire the city and its people go by. In some moments, all I ever wanted to do was sit on a bench in the park that was a stone’s throw from where I was staying. It was a great way to just zone out of the tourist mode, sit back and think about how lucky you are to be in a country that is so beautiful, breathtaking and full of culture and amazing food.
Visit Mercato Centrale:
This is the central market in Florence and one of the biggest and oldest. Here, you will find all kinds of things – fresh cheese, fruits, veggies, meats, chocolates and seafood. It is brimming with locals and tourists alike. We purchased a lot of the local food products from here – saffron, honey, chocolates, nougat and the likes.
On the top floor of the market is a massive food court like area that serves coffee, pastries and all kinds of Italian foods like pizzas, pastas, risottos. I can still tell you how wonderful it smelled there. The whiff of freshly brewed espressos filled the floor and the butter pastries were a different game altogether. We had a chocolate + raspberry éclair, pistachio profiteroles and salted caramel profiteroles and croissant a la crème (which is a custard filled croissant). They were nothing like what I’ve eaten before. The custard fillings in all of these pastries were creamy, fresh and wholesome. No artificial flavoring, everything tasted the way it should. The croissant was flaky and the insides were like cobwebs – the perfect croissant. The choux pastry for the éclair and profiteroles were dreamy. Basically, it was a big win.
Take a Pizza and Gelato making class at Florencetown Cookery classes:
The 2 chefs who taught us how to make these decadent Italian delicacies were fun, entertaining and informative. They taught us how to knead the dough, how to roll it with our hands, we got the chance to learn how fresh gelato is made. It was no – fuss cooking with the freshest of ingredients. We then sat down at the table and ate our creations.
Eat at the famous Trattoria Mario:
I’ve heard so much about this place that I knew we had to eat at least one meal here. One of the best parts? It’s just around Mercato Centrale. Of course, we did have to hunt a bit to find it. The biggest disadvantage for us was the fact that we had no Internet connections on the phone while outdoors and we’re both terrible physical map-readers. But after much asking about, we finally found the place and were already at 20 minutes waiting mark. Look at the queue outside. That’s a surest sign of a great trattoria.
Finally after 20 minutes, we went in and can I tell you, it was absolutely worth the wait. We had Ribolita, a bean + bread soup with veggies, kale, olive oil and parmesan cheese. It was the best thing I’d tasted in Italy that was not a pizza or a pasta. It was so delicious. I still dream of that soup some day. We also had a fettuccine with tomato sauce. Fresh, minimal ingredients but still packed with maximum flavor. We were filled to the brim and happily walked out with a satisfied grin plastered to our faces. The hype was really worth it.
Get your dessert fix at Gelateria La Carraia:
I had some research on the best places to eat gelato in Florence and this gelateria is the one that popped up in almost every Google search. My thoughts were confirmed when the chef at the Florencetown Cooking Class said the same thing. Therefore, off we marched to find this gem. We walked for about 45 minutes and finally from afar, I could see the green board with yellow font and I knew we had found it!
We started off with a single scoop of gelato each. After tasting just how decadent and pure the gelato was, we went for a second round, this time, with 2 scoops! #noshame
As we walked back, we took the time to take in our surroundings. I have never seen so many luxury brands in one lane, back to back, one after another. Tommy Hilfiger, Versace, Tiffany’s, Gucci, Prada, Giorgio Armani, you name it, each and every brand that you can think of was there. It was honestly the best time I ever had and my mum had the time of her life too. I was so happy for her because I’d never seen her stress free in a very long time.
See the Duomo:
I mean, you can’t really visit Florence without seeing the Duomo. It is iconic to Firenze. Here’s the Duomo in all its glory. What a beautiful structure this is. You can literally see the dome from anywhere in Florence. It was a beautiful day when we set out to see this icon. It was about 15 degrees C and cloudy with the sun rays streaming in through the gaps between gray clouds. It was stunning. We went inside the church then sat outside for a good 15 minutes just looking at how beautiful the place was.
Raid the Lindt store:
I spent INR 20,000 (EUR 260) on chocolates in the Lindt store (Rome + Florence) combined. Don’t judge me! I got all kinds of Lindors, Lindt bars, including the Hello range. It was crazy and as the final icing on the cake, I had this spectacular Lindt hot chocolate topped with cream (or con panna). Heaven!!!!! The Lindt store is in the same Piazza as the Duomo. You should be able to spot it as you circle around the Duomo.
Walk around in Florence:
There’s this placed called the Piazza Della Republica, which is buzzing with a lot of activities. There’s music, there’s a beautiful scent in the air and there’s this massive carousel right in the middle of it all. There’s not much you can do here; like if you had eating or shopping in mind, then you probably should go elsewhere in Florence but if you want to see vibrancy and life, spend 30 minutes here. Your mind just refreshes itself. Look how beautiful this place is! I’ve never seen an antique carousel in my life.
I miss this place so much! My heart aches looking at these photos and the amazing time I had here in Florence. I hope you have the best time of your life when you go to this beautiful city.