City Extras: Florence


Clued In Florence – The Concise and Opinionated Guide to the City

Grab the 2023 edition here, in print or ebook.


Local events to keep you busy – June 2023

   Florence really comes alive in June and offers locals and visitors alike some pretty great events to take in. Let’s just say there’s something for everybody. From the wildly popular and astounding ballet performances by Roberto Bolle & Friends, to a multitude of classical music and opera concerts in churches around town, your artistic cravings will be vanquished. Or for something historic and dangerous, head over to Piazza Santa Croce (which will be covered in sand for the annual event) to check out the ancient competition called the Calcio Storico. This pre-cursor to football is a (anything-goes!)  game from the 1400’s that began right in this square. As if all this wasn’t enough, there will be parades and organized nocturnal running events for St. John the Baptist and fireworks over the Ponte Vecchio at 10pm on June 24th!


Paperback update – May 2023

   For those of you who have been waiting patiently, we are happy to announce that the print version of Clued In Florence is now available for purchase on  We can’t wait for you to see it.  It has more than forty gorgeous,  original black and white images while the ebook edition still has original color images.  It’s your choice.  Happy travels!


The Perk Report – March 2023

   Our readers know that we include a concise but helpful segment in most of our travel books called The Perk Report.  Here is an excerpt from our Clued In Florence book…

You might go looking for that Seattle-based, green mermaid coffee chain you frequent at home but you won’t find it here. Well, not yet. There are several of them that have popped up in Milan and one outside of Florence, but a coffee culture like the one that exists in Italy means they will never fully be embraced.  Never.

Anyway, you won’t miss it if you follow our advice. Florentines have been drinking coffee forever and they know how to do it right. There’s no argument about where to get the tastiest caffeine fix in Firenze because the answer is everywhere. Each of our recommended coffee spots are wonderful in their own way.

By the way, you may have already noticed that we spell caffè in this book like the Italians do, rather than the French. These little eateries we love so well were literally named for the coffee that gave them their start five-hundred-years ago. Here’s a quick refresh on the terminology:

Caffè (what Americans call an espresso)

Caffè Latte (an espresso shot with lots of steamed milk and some foam)

Cappuccino (an espresso shot with some milk, and foam on top)

Caffè Doppio (a double shot –a large espresso)

Caffè con Panna (an espresso with cream)

Caffè Americano (an espresso shot that’s been watered down but it’s still strong!)

Macchiato (same as a cappuccino but with much less milk involved)

Marocchino (a cappuccino with cocoa added)

Granita con Panna (frozen coffee with whipped cream)


 Andie says,   “Remember that whenever you see the letter ‘c’ next to the letter ‘h’ it gets pronounced like an English ‘k’ without exception. That goes for bruschetta too. It’s pronounced brewsketta.  While we’re on the subject, Medici should have the stress on the first syllable only.”

Dean says,   “If you casually order a latte because you think you’re cool and don’t have to say caffè latte then you’ll receive a tall glass of milk. That is what Italians hear when you say latte.”



In focus: Villa Medici Petraia – February 2023

   When other websites are touting where to eat on Valentine’s Day, we’ve opted to send our readers in a different direction by giving a February shout-out to a lesser known sight in Florence. The magnificent Villa Medici Petraia is lesser known because, like the Stibbert Museum, it is not in the center of town where the millions of tourists graze.  And this was by design. This particular villa of the rich and ruling Medici family was their let’s get out of town a bit where we can breathe and let out young children run around outside, etc.  So how far away is it? A taxi ride from the area of the Duomo cathedral will get you there in about sixteen minutes. (Be sure to take your cabby’s business card/phone number so that you can easily call for a pick-up when you’re finished. This useful “trick” also works well for the city’s San Miniato al Monte Church and the Stibbert Museum… or anywhere when you’re going far-afield where taxis might not be plentiful to bring you back!)  Situated in the town of Castello on that hill north of Florence, this place is a goldmine of discovery without crowds. With it’s sculpted gardens, lookout tower, glorious frescoed ballroom, formal dining room, and bedrooms with beds and interior décor intact, it gives our beloved Palazzo Davanzati a run for its money. (Okay, it’s actually better than Palazzo Davanzati.) We wouldn’t send you up that hill for something sub-par and this one is a World Heritage Sight!  Go on a fair weather day… it’s usually free to enter. 



Update on local trattoria La Casalinga

  Well, this is definitely the time of year when temporary closings and unexpected renovations occur.  In this case it is for a much needed rest! The quaint, family-owned La Casalinga restaurant is located just steps away from the church of Santo Spirito and is one of our dining recommendations in Clued In Florence.  They always close for a work vacation in the month of August but they have just announced that they are taking a winter hiatus as well. The good news is that they will be back open by  March 2nd.  We are sorry for any inconvenience.


Pastry obsession solved – Florence – January 2023

    There’s nothing that can fill a cold, empty feeling in the tummy like pastry… really good pastry.  It’s true that our local obsession with it switches around depending on the season, but right now it lies firmly with Caffè Scudieri Firenze at 19 Piazza di San Giovanni.  Let us explain why… Florence has four kinds of bakery/ pastry shops: 1) Fancy and scrumptious but way overpriced;  2) Old-school, where the pastries have not been updated in decades;  3)  Neighborhood spots where you can tell that everything on display was shipped in from a commercial kitchen and not baked there at all,  and 4) Modern assortments that may or may not have been baked on the premises but look like they were baked with care.  That’s the type we’re now visiting and that’s what Caffè Scudieri brings. Go there for your morning coffee and pastry and you will be very happy.  Open daily from 7am. 



The truth about Christmas Day in Florence – December 2022

   If you had the good taste to choose Florence for your Christmas holiday then you might be wondering how to spend your time on Sunday, December 25 when all of the city’s sights and restaurants will be closed in observance of Christmas Day.  These folks are really into Christmas and will be with their loved ones on the big day. The few dining rooms that will be open (inside various upscale hotels) are probably booked up by now. That means you’ll need to plan ahead…

1) If you’re staying in a hotel, buy some lovely panini sandwiches and arancini balls the night before at Mercato Centrale or La Prosciutteria, along with some sweet treats and beverages because there’s a good chance that this will be your meal.  2) If you’re staying in an apartment rental, go to the central market in the days before the holiday and get ready to prepare an at-home feast featuring fresh fish, olives, and some good Tuscan wine.  3) The gorgeous Duomo cathedral will have a morning service at 10am but go early to get a seat.  4) If you have a rental car, go for a drive to Chanti in the Tuscan countryside and revel in having the road all to yourself.  5) If no vehicle is at your disposal then take a leisurely stroll to the Pitti Palace.  6) Be out and about after the sunset too; slowly but surely other folks will begin to fill the tiny streets.  Merry Christmas!


Autumn in Florence/ November 2022

    If you’ll be one of the clever travelers coming to Florence before the onslaught of visitors who descend upon it for Christmas and New Year’s then good for you. You may not have the opportunity to spend your actual holiday in this historic city, but you’ll get a taste of what this incredible place is really like for its local residents. Why not try some local cuisine at the beautiful Osteria dell’Enoteca, or visit the new modern art exhibit at Palazzo Strozzi?  If shopping is your thing, don’t miss the German-style Christmas Market at Piazza Santa Croce which runs from November 28 through December 20th.  All of these suggestions will make for great memories! Before you go, we hope you’ll grab a copy of our Clued In Florence.  It has info not found in other guides which is exactly why it stands apart from the rest! 



Enjoy a visit to Palazzo Davanzati – October 2022

    Lesser-known sights are often a “must-see” in our travel books.  This is definitely true in Florence for both the Stibbert Museum and the Davanzati Palace…

   While not off the beaten track, the Palazzo Davanzati is the type of place that you can walk right by twenty times and not notice it. From the outside it looks like yet another one of the many Medieval buildings that make up the city center, but we’re here to tell you that it is far from ordinary.  The interiors of this place, a former private home of a well-heeled merchant family,  have been kept intact or been added to for hundreds of years and you can tour it. Its great entry area, dining hall, bedrooms, kitchen, and even bathrooms whisk you back in time in a way no other sight in Florence can. 

   Make sure to visit all the floors as each is special in its own way.  We adore the interior frescos that are clearly a precursor to today’s wallpaper, as well as the sala dei pappagalli (the room of the parrots.)  In addition to the many furnishings from several centuries, the Davanzati also showcases gorgeous old ceramics, and lace from the Renaissance.  Be careful to note its seasonal hours because it can close as early as 1:30pm!  Grab lunch at the amazing Fattoria Rossi just ten meters away!   Details on both can be found in our Clued In Florence book.



Attend a fun workshop while you’re on vacation – September 2022

   You might not have considered booking a workshop while you’re away from your daily grind but it’s the best way to learn about the culture you’ll be surrounded by.  They are always taught in English and will undoubtedly become a cherished memory.  In Florence, that means learning how to pair wines with cheeses.  Our friends at Project Expedition will teach you everything you need to know. Details are in our new Bored in Florence book, but here’s a handy link to their workshop classes that are conveniently held directly across from the Central Market in the historic center of the city.  Just book it through the website calendar.   


Do an impromptu wine tasting at Enoteca Alessi – August 2022

    Do you want to experience an amazing Italian wine tasting without being tied down to a specific booking? Just head over to Enoteca Alessi near the Duomo and enjoy a spontaneous one.  Since 1952, this family-run enoteca has been the wine bar of all wine bars here in Florence. They have a large variety of special tastings to choose from, some of which feature fromaggi and salumi from the region. If you’re feeling extra peckish, order their famous Taglieri dell’Alessi, a luscious platter of Tuscan products.  Their modest storefront definitely belies what’s inside so know that this place is multi-leveled and includes a cellar shop where you can probably find any type of wine you want.  Their address is 27 Via dell’Oche.  For more fun experiences grab a copy of our new Bored in Florence guide.  Salute!



Where to grab a delicious lunch on the cheap – July 2022

   If you’re hungry for some lip-smacking wild boar on a roll but don’t want to waste time or money on a sit-down luncheon, head over to Due Fratellini on 38 Via dei Cimatori. This Florentine “institution” is the real deal and offers an impressive assortment of sandwiches and panini for you to choose from. And don’t forget the two-euro glass of wine to go with… it’s surprisingly good.  Where should you put the glass when you’re done?  Just place it on one of the little shelves along the outer wall. This little hole-in-the-wall eatery is centrally located a few short blocks from the Duomo. Chin chin!



Italy and the USA have removed all Covid restrictions for travelers – June 12, 2022

    It’s time to plan that trip to Florence!  Italy now has no Health Pass (aka Vaccination Certificate) requirement for entering restaurants and museums.  In addition, all incoming travelers can enter Italy without having to follow additional entry rules. As of today, the same is true with the USA.


Visit something special that’s probably off your radar – June 2022

   This month, all of our City-Extras  will highlight an awesome local sight that you’ve probably never heard of. (If you have, kudos to you!)  In Florence, however, we have three:

Covento San Marco:  If you’re familiar with the city’s unfavorite son and infamous monk, Savonarola, don’t miss the chance to see his actual living quarters inside the 15th century convent right on Piazza San Marco, just north of the Medici Palace. His oversized, black rosary beads and black cloak are still there, inside his cell.  Bone chilling.

Museo Stibbert:   The worlds largest collection of medieval armor, tapestries, Samurai uniforms,  and other amazing historic items. (Details and photos below in our November 2021 posting.)

Bizzarri Apothecary:   Since 1842, this strange shop has specialized in important chemicals you might need for mixing paint or fighting arthritis. (Sounds perfect for the overworked artist.)  As you peruse their assortment of glass bottles holding powders and unusual liquids, you may suddenly feel as if you have just time traveled.  You’ll find Bizzarri on a little street just north of Piazza della Signoria at 32 Via della Condotta.



Go Rafting on the Arno River – May 2022

    Are you the type of person who likes to have time away from the tourist hoards? Like completely away? Go rafting.  The city’s famous river is almost always devoid of activity. Once in awhile there are some professional rowers having a workout but that’s about it. No boat activity, no swimmers, nothing. And that means you could have this quiet stretch of waterway all to yourself.

The folks at FirenzeRafting will set you up with an experienced guide who will make sure you and your loved ones have a fantastic time. This is not white-water rafting and you will not need any special skills to do it. As you paddle down river, your guide will point out fascinating points of interest and curiosities that you might not know about. There are a few surprises that make this excursion even better but we don’t want to give anything away; let’s just say that even beginners will enjoy it and that everyone in your party will glad that they participated. Check availability on their website or give them a call at (011) 39 349-092-1540, or email:



Grab our newest [fun] guide to Florence!  March 2022

   Our new “companion book” to Clued In Florence is finally here. Get your copy of Bored in Florence – Awesome Experiences for the Repeat Visitor before you wrap up your plans and itinerary for that trip to Italy.  It’ll change the way you think about how you’re going to use your time while you’re here.  We think it’s a must-have, even for first-time visitors.  We offer it in both paperback or eBook and you can grab it here.



The famed Uffizi Gallery just gets better and better  – February 2022

    Visitors  to Florence’s world class art museum, the Uffizi Gallery, cannot fully appreciate the museum’s many recent improvements unless they were there “back in the day” (before 2016) like we were.  The pics (below) show just one aspect, like Botticelli’s Birth of Venus covered in thick, dusty, dull-surfaced plexiglass panels and endless crowds versus its new protection of sleek, ultra-clear, shatterproof glass and limited timed-entry of guests. The lighting throughout the “new” Uffizi is much improved as well and these types of improvements mean everything to today’s visitor; the new experience is off the charts. 

In addition, there are some newly unveiled permanent exhibits like the Medici family’s private collection of mind-blowing Russian icons.  So, whether you’ve been to the Uffizi before or not, make sure to include it on your upcoming visit to Florence. With their required timed reservation, it’s actually easier and less confusing to get inside than it ever was before.  Details in our new “Clued In Florence” for 2002.           


Plan ahead for the trip of a lifetime  – January 2022

    You might not think so right now, but travel will be returning in a big way and those who plan now will reap the benefits. As the pandemic fades, try to be one of the first to make a trip to Florence and enjoy it in a blissfully uncrowded way. Try making a detailed yet fluid itinerary without precise dates. Pencil in the days of the week only, noting which of your preferred sights are closed on Sundays or Mondays, etc. This will give you a basic framework on which to build your dream journey.  

The more you can plan beforehand, the better it will be. At Clued In Travel Books we are big believers in having reservations at the restaurants we most desire rather than settling for our second or third choices. Dinner reservations are especially likely to fill up if not made in advance. As for the best sights, well, these must be booked ahead (due to the requirements of contactless service.) And with absolutely everyone now booking ahead, these too are more likely to sell out.

Travelers visiting our particular website probably understand this so we won’t beat a dead horse. If you are the type of traveler who likes to go somewhere with no plans or reservations in order to just see where fate takes you, we say, “Good luck and bless your heart.”

So, grab one of our travel books and peruse through it to the end. You’ll be shocked at how a city you knew nothing about is suddenly as familiar as can be.  It’s almost magical.  


Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

    The folks here at Clued In Travel Books wish you and yours a wonderful and safe holiday season filled with lots of love and lots of food. If you avoid conversations about religion, politics, and mask mandates you’ll be just fine! Let’s hope we get back to some normalcy in 2022, especially in regard to travel. It’s what we live for.

All the best to all of you, Dean & Andie 


Our brand new edition for 2022 is on Amazon now! – December 2021

    Some things have changed in Tuscany, but much has stayed the same.  We think it’s actually better than ever and are very happy to announce our brand new version of Clued In Florence for 2022. Use the link above to see its dedicated product page because it’s super-fun and has some new surprises.  Let’s just call it the best one  we’ve ever written!    


The Stibbert Museum, Florence’s great unknown –  November 2021

   Never heard of it? That’s our point. This incredible museum based on one man’s private collection of historical objects is so mind-blowing that we can honestly say that a visit to it will stay in your memory for the rest of your life. Strong words, we know… but true. Does it have major historical items that the world’s greatest museums would die to get? Yes.  Are they presented inside Frederick Stibbert’s own over-the-top, opulent, Florentine mansion? Yes.  Are there grounds to explore as well? Yes.    Was Frederick Stibbert enormously wealthy but now passed away? Yes.  Is his museum right in the center of town? Sadly no.  And this is the only reason it is undiscovered by most visitors to Florence.

We featured it in our book, Bored in Florence – Awesome Experiences for the Repeat Visitor but we’ve decided that it’s time for it to be included in Clued In Florence for 2022 (which will be coming out soon!) If you feel like we’re not telling you much about it here that’s because we don’t want to give away any surprises. Just know that it’s located on a foothill just north of the historic center, easily and cheaply reached by taxi. You might even consider walking back afterwards because it is all downhill, and around twenty minutes on foot from there to the Duomo. 

The Museo Stibbert is currently observing timed, reserved entrances which can be done online or by email, then once inside you can pay the modest entrance fee in cash or by credit card. Call 011-39-055-475520 for more information.



Summer Happenings / July 2021

   Summer has always been the time for great performing arts in Florence and after a long eighteen months of the pandemic, the arts have finally returned.  Everything from outdoor ballet performances by Roberto Bolle to interesting church concerts, there really is something for everyone. Why not take in a first class opera performance in a church? You can find the 2021 offerings here.SPA


In Focus:  Hotel J.K Place, Firenze has been renamed / June 2021

    This summer we’re going to feature some of our favorite hotels. In Florence, that means the newly renamed The Place Firenze, a standout for the well-heeled who want something a bit different. A stay at this small but exquisite boutique hotel is more like a visit to your own Florentine townhouse. It just doesn’t feel like a hotel at all. The beautifully appointed lobby is styled like an entryway and living room, the reservation area is an intimate library, and the breakfast area is actually a dining room, like those in the best residences. This is all by design of course, because it’s their intention to make you feel like right at home. The level of service offered is so extraordinary that The Place Firenze has earned the coveted Leading Hotels of the World designation. Centrally located in town at Piazza Santa Maria Novella 7, it’s simply perfect for those arriving or departing by rail. Dine by candlelight at their lovely Terrace Restaurant, right on the piazza.



We’re back!  May 2021

   Clued In cities all over the place are beginning to come back to life. Because of all the recent positive changes, we have just updated our travel books to be current for summer 2021. We will continue to update them as things change further.  In anticipation of future travel, we welcome you back to Florence and to the world!


Taxi clues for Florence – March 2020

    Since some travelers are looking to avoid crowds and mass transit this spring, we’re providing at-a-glace info regarding official taxi cabs in the Tuscan capital. While not as inexpensive, a taxi will make you feel more confident and get you where you’re going in style. And if your party is more than a single rider, it can be a great value. We always budget it in!

  • Only hire the city’s official white metered taxis.  Never accept a ride from an unauthorized driver.
  • You technically cannot hail a taxi in central Florence. You must find a taxi queue of which there are many. Having said that, we’ve found that when hailed they will stop, if they are available of course. 
  • If a taxi is called to your hotel or restaurant, it will already have its meter running from when it started to come get you. Don’t be alarmed by this as it’s completely legal and is the norm.
  • In addition to the timed, metered fare, there are other fees to pay. These include a preliminary charge of around 3,30€. a preliminary charge after 10pm of around 6,60€, a preliminary charge on Sundays and holidays of around 5,30€, and a baggage fee (maximum five pieces) of around 1€ per item
  • There is a fixed rate from the FLR Airport to the city center of 25€ plus baggage fees and any night/holiday surcharges that may apply.
  • To call for your own taxi at any time, dial local telephone number 055-4242. 
  • Tipping is optional and never done by the locals. Still, it’s polite to round up the amount due.
  • Discounts include a woman riding alone between 9pm and 2am (10% discount) or rides to any Florence hospital (15% discount)


Our Florence NTK – February 2020

     Every so often, we like to add a Need-to-Know for our favorite cities. With a new year and new decade upon us, we thought you should know about some new laws with hefty fines that can affect disrespectful visitors to Florence. These include peeing in public and eating outside (within the historic center.) Can you still stroll while licking a gelato cone? Probably. But walking while munching pizza, or eating a sandwich near a fountain or historic site will cost you.  Florentines practice a more refined social behavior and intend to encourage visitors to eat while seated inside a proper restaurant. Visitors to this amazing city should always remember that they are guests in the city and therefore must respect its customs. The huge fines should definitely help with this!


Florence is always a good idea, especially now! – January 2020

    This is a tiny city, which means it fills up fast. Visitors to Florence in the popular summer months must typically deal with crowding and nuisance at every turn. The famed Uffuzi Gallery is no exception of course and the thousands of people inside it can make the place seem more like a tourist trap rather than the truly elegant museum it is. Why not snag one of the super-low airfares that are being offered during the off-season (as in now) and experience it properly? While the queues this month will be next to nothing, you might still want to invest in a special group Uffizi tour like the one by They offer a knowledgeable guide who will point out the artistic highlights and tell you why the work is important. It’s truly eye-opening, and will change the way you see the Uffizi forever. 


Where to enjoy an amazing holiday dinner – December 2019

     We love having a meal with a festive menu at holiday time, and in Florence that means the Il Palagio Restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel. Their special multi-course menus will be offered on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and on New Year’s Eve. Be sure to call and book as soon as possible while tables are still available. Use this hard-to-find webpage for more information. Note that this gorgeous, old-world mansion hotel is a ten minute taxi ride from the Duomo. Here are their offerings for Christmas Eve:

    This month we’re focused on sending our readers to great performances taking place during the upcoming holiday season. Florence is no exception, but if you’re thinking- I’ve never seen an opera house in Florence -that’s because it is set outside the city center. The modern venue of the Opera di Firenze means that you can now watch performances in very comfortable surroundings. It’s a fifteen minute walk west from the Santa Maria Novella train station or just five minutes by taxi. From November to early January, you can catch performances of Verdi’s Rigoletto or Puccini’s La Bohème. Book your tickets soon if you intend to partake in this very Italian entertainment. 


Frightening but fun – October 2019

    Our recommendations for travelers going to Florence in the fall are usually about nearby wineries, but our newest series of “bored in” travel books have inspired us to go in a spookier direction this year. Bored in Florence –Awesome Experiences for the Repeat Visitor has an entire chapter on chilling and thrilling things to do here and so we’ve chosen a special one to share with our readers here…

     You could go to Florence a hundred times and still not know about La Specola even though it’s right at Via Romana 17, just up the street from the Pitti Palace. This smaller satellite location of the city’s large Natural History Museum has all the creepy stuff, and trust us when we say that it’s not for the faint of heart. From animal taxidermy to rooms filled with wax figures of human illness and injury (copied precisely from actual corpses) this place is definitely a fascinating delve into the macabre.

     La Specola is the oldest public museum in all of Europe and was started as a personal collection of the Medici family. When it opened in 1775 it was a huge hit. Today you can visit it with few tourists around. Its taxidermy collection is open to the public and features a hippopotamus once owned by the Medici’s that they kept as a pet in the Boboli Gardens.   To view the human anatomy figures in their other wing, you’ll have to book a special tour. Call ahead to reserve one of the limited spots because they can sell out quickly.  The making of these anatomical figures was an art form developed in Florence in the 17th century for the purpose of medical instruction. The wax models of naked women posed in semi-erotic poses with their innards pulled open are particularly frightening and were evidently a favorite of the famous Marquis de Sade when he visited.  

Intl. calling: (011) 39 055-275-6444 / Local calling: 055-275-6444  Open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm (entry time)  and Friday through Sunday from 9:30 am to 12:30pm (entry time.)  Closed on Mondays and some major holidays.


It’s the start of the social season in Florence – September 2019

    There’s a lot going on in the Tuscan capital so if you’re planning to visit during the fall season, snag a ticket to something soon. We recommend the vocal concerts held at the deconsecrated Church of Santa Monaca in the Oltrarno neighborhood. For just €25, you’ll enjoy great opera arias sung inside a gorgeous venue. Grab a ticket soon.

   In addition, the mid-September segment of the months-long world gelato competition will feature its regional ice cream champions at Piazzale Michelangelo for a final gelato-tasting and it’s the lucky attendees who will help decide who the winner will be!   


Let’s Stay in a Convent!  – August 2019

     If you’ll be on a definite budget during your stay in Tuscany but aren’t prepared to give up style, charm, comfort, or (God forbid) cleanliness, we don’t blame you! It’s true that there are many fancy five-star hotels in Florence… many.  So where should you stay when you want to save some bucks? Our favorite cheapie-cheap hotel in Firenze is actually a convent -or was a convent.  Check out the Horto Convento (“garden convent”) where one sleeps on real Italian linen and has private access to a lovely garden complete with reflection pool. What’s the catch?  Well, it’s located on the south side of the Arno which means it’s a bit farther from the main sights. But Florence is a walkable city so this should not be a problem for most visitors. If you and your loved ones are avid walkers, you won’t mind the location at all. The Horto Convento is is a fourteen minute stroll to the famed Ponte Vecchio bridge and a twenty-two minute walk to the city’s Duomo cathedral. Totally do-able and more than worth the price they charge.  Breakfast is included, and the rather fancy stone arch entrance to the property makes you feel special every time you walk through it.  You can thank us later. 


In focus: Summer Happenings – July 2019

    This year marks the 500th birthday of two legendary Medici family members, namely Cosimo I and Caterina de’ Medici (who became the Queen of France.)  To commemorate them, the city of Florence will be offering longer hours at some museums and holding festive tributes, historical reenactments, and concerts throughout the summer.  Does that mean this is a great time to visit Florence? Yes! But like every summer in recent history, the city center will have its share of crowding especially in August. If you’re planning a visit there, make sure to get your tickets to the Uffizi Galleries beforehand online. They’ll be celebrating the first Grand Duke of Tuscany with a special “triptych” of exhibitions called Homage to Cosimo I. 


Where to enjoy a picnic in Florence – June 2019

     Now that summer has arrived you may want to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors rather than be inside a cramped restaurant. Between all the casual cafes, sandwich stands and salumeria shops it’s easy to put together a finger-food feast here. The exquisite salami and prosciutto of the region served up with a crusty chunk of bread, some olives, cheese, grapes, and a nice bottle of wine is all you need. (Don’t forget the plastic cups.) For amazing overstuffed sandwiches, find our favorite deli, All’Antica Vinaio located at Via dei Neri 65, just one block east of the Uffizi Gallery. They’ll also make you a custom platter of goodies upon request. Then where to go? The most scenic place to have a (legal) picnic is at Piazzale Michelangelo. Cross over to the south side of the river and take the walking path upward. Grab a stone bench among the flower beds just below the viewing level. Heaven. Buon appetito! 


Commemoration – May 2019

    The infamous Dominican friar, Girolamo Savonarola, was burned at the stake right in the middle of Piazza Signoria on May 23, 1498. (Look for the bronze plaque on the ground near the Neptune Fountain showing the exact spot.) Every year since, on the same day, a Mass in his honor has been is celebrated in the Palazzo Vecchio and flowers strewn in remembrance. This annual homage, known as the Fiorita, is now accompanied by music and a performance by traditional flag-wavers. The event begins at 9:30am in the Piazza with the flowers and continues with a historical procession to the Ponte Vecchio (bridge) at 10:00am where petals of roses are then thrown into the Arno river.  


In Focus: Antique Market – February 2019

    If there’s nothing you’d rather do than paw through tables of baubles, frames, and trinkets, then don’t miss Florence’s monthly Antique Market.  Starting this month it has a new location, just in front of the city’s lovely Cascine Park, at Piazza Vittorio Veneto. The February dates are February 20 & 21 from 9am to 7pm. 


In Focus: Where to shop the sales/ January 2019

    Like many stores in the U.S., Italy puts its best designer items on sale after the holidays. If you’re visiting Florence in January and have the urge to do some shopping (or just want to come home with one really special item) now is the time.  The most famous shopping street in Florence is via dei Tornabuoni, affectionately referred to simply as Tornabuoni, which runs north/south from the Ponte Santa Trinita bridge on the River Arno. For those who are unfamiliar with Florence, this means that the best shopping can be found smack-dab in the old city center, just west of the city’s main sights.  This may be helpful to know even if you don’t plan on hitting the boutiques… being aware of this type of location also tells you precisely where a city’s most desirable neighborhood is. That’s usually where you’ll also find some of the best hotels, and some top-notch restaurants too. 


In Focus: New Year’s Eve in Florence/ December 2018

    New Year’s Eve celebrations in the Tuscan capital are as varied as they are festive. From jazz performances in the open-air Piazza del Carmine to a classical music concert in Piazza della Signoria, this place has it covered. If you’d rather dance than listen to musicians, snag a ticket from one of the larger discos recommended in Clued In Florence. Like most of Italy’s popular cities, a fireworks display will call in the New Year.  For a majestic view of them, join the traditional concert party in Piazza Michelangelo (on the hill across the river.) Toast with a bottle of Spumante or Prosecco and feel free to sleep in the next day; most shops and all of the museums will be closed on January 1.  If you have trouble finding a restaurant on that day, remember that all the larger hotels will be open and serving. 


Update – October 2018

     Where to go and what to do in Florence during the fall months? Get thee to a winery, of course! There are so many great tours to the countryside beyond Florence that it just makes sense to fit one into your itinerary.  Many are only half-day and will pick you up at your hotel. The grapes are being harvested and the wineries are alive with tastings and gastro-food samplings. We trust tours by  Viator but there are many online companies that offer them.  


September Event – 2018

     If you’ll be in the region of Tuscany on Friday, September 7, 2018, don’t miss Florence’s lovely Festa Rinicolona (paper lantern festival) which boasts a procession from Piazza Santa Felicita to Piazza Santissima Annunziata.  A street party in Piazza della Signoria completes the festivities.   


In Focus:  Incredible cocktails at The Mayday Club/ June 2018

   When in Florence (or in any Tuscan town nearby) don’t miss an evening at The Mayday Club.  This fun speakeasy has specialty cocktails made with the finest original homemade concoctions anywhere. Owner/magical chemist “Marco” is the brains behind the tasty potions and even adds ten new cocktails every year. This year, his theme is “Tuscan Geniuses” or  I Geni Toscani and are inspired by Italian innovators from the 1800’s and 1900’s.  They are all simply exquisite, but the three shown above are Total Black dedicated to the Alinari Brothers, La Tempra dedicated to Giovanni Michelucci, and Il Paperino dedicated to Enrico Piaggio.  If you are into mixology, this is your place. If not, this is still your place.  Go and have a great time– we wish we were there with you!

The Mayday Club is closed on Sundays and Mondays so plan your visit there accordingly.  (They also close for the month of August.)  More info on this special club can be found in the pages of Clued In Florence.


May 2018 update: Awaiting your upcoming trip

     If you’re like us, you like to think about a European sojourn almost as much as going on one! For those dreamers and planners, we thought we’d take a moment to introduce you to our favorite live viewers, Skyline Webcams. Through their terrific website, we’ve watched everything from the New Year’s Eve crowds in Piazza della Signoria to daybreak over the Ponte Vecchio.  You just never know what you’re going to see. Check out the list and start getting excited for your own visit there.  If you’re in the USA, remember that Italy is six hours ahead of the east coast and nine hours ahead of the west coast.  So fun!