Posted by: debrakolkka | August 11, 2011

A day in Florence

I love to visit Florence regularly. It is not far from Bagni di Lucca, so it is an easy day trip (see the previous post). I have seen all the major attractions several times, so I just love to wander with nothing particular in mind.

Santa Maria Novella church

This beautiful church is not too far from the station.  The church was completed by 1300 and the facade was modified by Alberti in 1450. The piazza in front has been fenced off for a long time for renovations. It is open again now, but I think it looks worse now than it did before. There are stark, ugly seats which makes the area quite uninviting. Perhaps a garden will be planted, it certainly needs help.

some young nuns off for a walk around Florence

My next stop is usually the Santa Maria Novella pharmacy.

part of the ceiling in the library

 The interior of the pharmacy is beautiful and it always smells heavenly in there. Click here for more.

The shopping in Florence is excellent. One of my favourite shops sells gorgeous scarves. There are so many, it makes decision making difficult.

beautiful scarves

they sell other things too

The shop is called Faliero Sarti and it in Via Della Spada, close to my favourite caffe in the world, Giacosa, behind the Roberto Cavalli shop in Via Tornabuoni. I never go to Florence without at least on stop here. Call in for a coffee, if you are lucky you will see the beautiful boy , now known as Giacosa boy, I spotted there.

a cute shop window

Window shopping is always fun in Florence. A lot of effort is put in to make the shops look interesting and inviting. Go to the Max Mara store in Via Tornabuoni if only to see the lovely frescoes. I always to to Luisa, Via Roma, the best shop in Florence.

I try to make time for a quick look at Palazzo Davanzati, a centuries old Florentine house that has been very well preserved.

in the parrot room

There are lots of options for lunch. Florentine steak is a speciality. Most are huge. Go to Trattoria Bordino for one that is a reasonable size and an excellent price. 

steak and porcini mushrooms in the window of a restaurant

There is always time for a walk through Piazza Signoria on the way to the Arno.

part of Neptune's fountain

On a good day the river Arno sparkes. If you are lucky you might see a muskrat waddle along the bank and dive into the water, or a family of ducks.

ducks on the Arno

 This is their view, I wonder if ducks are impressed by the Ponte Vecchio, I know I am.

looking towards the Ponte Vecchio

Florence is a place that cries out to be visited lots of times. I’ll be back there in October for more.

 Look in the Florence category for lots more on fabulous Florence.


  1. I love Florence too. It is one of my favorite cities. My husband’s cousin married an Italian and lives there. We visited her once and did a wonderful tour of the wine region. Mmmmmm…..

    • Florence is gorgeous. I particularly like it in winter when there are few tourists about.

  2. I went there for the first time many (really many 😉 ) years ago and fell in love at first sight. Your photos made me sigh so love is still strong. 🙂

    • There is lots to love about Florence.

  3. I love Florence, and I’m really excited to be going back in November! The pharmacy is on my list of things I want to visit while there!

    • I’ll be around in November too. Let’s hope it doesn’t rain too much. You will love the pharamcy.

  4. Florence is one of my favorite cities! So beautiful and so much to do in such a quaint city.

    • Yes,, there is lots to see. One day is not enough.

  5. Thank you ever so much for the photo of the church of Santa Maria Novella, one of the finest pieces of architecture ever to be found…anyplace, talk about harmonious balance. When I lived in Florence I would visit the church often, mainly for the beautiful facade, I believe the building to be in the same category as Athen’s Parthenon. Modern architects could learn a lot from the building. Again, thank you

    • It is a beautiful church. I walk past it each time I walk into and out of the city.

  6. I would love to go shopping in Florence! Goodness that would be fun!

    (And I love that tile in the parrot room–how lovely!)

    Hope you are having a great week, Debra——–


    • The whole parrot room is amazing. I love the Palazzo Davanzati.

  7. Deb, you have the advantage of being a frequent visitor to Florence and get to spot places at a leisurely pace. Tourists like me don’t always have the luxury of time, so, would concentrate on the more well-known attractions. It would be nice to able to just stroll along the Arno and just drink in the beauty of the architecture without having to be constantly looking at one’s watch. So, we’re so glad you are able to share with us some of the hidden treasures in this lovely place. They will definitely be on our list for next time. Thanks Deb!

    • It is fun to stroll around this beautiful city with no agenda.

  8. Ooooh…how beautiful it all is, can you tell me where that scarf/dress shop is? I love the display of scarves…and that Fiorentina is enough to make me go grill a steak right now, but it wouldn’t be as good as that…

    • Faliero Sarti is in Via Della Spada. I’m not sure of the number, but it is at the Via Tornabuoni end.

  9. We are very fortunate as Florence is a short distance from Bagni di Lucca and a fabulous day trip. And I can assure you that driving is not a bad option, particularly now as they have finished some works that were complicating the access to the Santa Maria Novella parking. It is very easy now. Travelling with our little dog, Tequila, catching the bus is not an option, although trains accept small dogs on board.
    I particularly like the jewelry shops on the Ponte Vecchio, but not the modern, flashy ones, I love the ones that sell vintage jewelry as the craftmanship of those pieces is superb.
    And we love our lunch at Trattoria Bordino. “Tequila” enjoys it, too.

    • I also love the shops on the Ponte Vecchio. I’m sure Tequila loves Trattoria Bordino. I’m sure it is doggy heaven.

  10. Thank you for the shopping tips! And the cafe tip. Looking SO forward to our trip at the end of September!! We are keeping a little journal of tips like this so we will know just where to go when we arrive in Italy!

    • You can always go back through the posts. Florence has its own category and Day Trips is a good one to look in as well. This covers places that are relatively easy to reach from Bagni di Lucca.

  11. Lucky you spending a day in Florence. It’s a while since I have been there but I hope to go back some day. Next time I really want to see the Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy, thanks for reminding me about it.

    • It is beautiful. I take all my visitors there. I love walking in the door to be enveloped by the gorgeous fragrance.

  12. I feel like going for a stroll there now! And those porcinis are enormous! I’ve seen big ones but not that big! 🙂

    • The steak was quite large as well.

  13. I agree – cant get enough of fabulous Firenze

    • It is very special.

  14. Lovely pics – Magus and I LOVE Florence – it has a great vibe. I agree … great shopping and craftsmen there. I bought a beautiful leather handbag and silver jewellery that I still treasure 5 years on.

    • We are travelling to the Lucca and Florence area at the end of Sept early oct and I am really struggling with what to take for clothes and shoes! Are jeans acceptable for daytime wear? Dresses for dinner?

      • sorry….i think i sent that post on the wrong thread!

      • Jeans are fine for most places. You can dress up a little for dinner if you wish. Italians take a lot of care with the way they dress, but as long as you are neat and tidy you will fit in and they are very accepting of visitors.Comfortable shoes are very important as it can be hard on your feet walking in cobblestones. It should still be warm through the day but the mornings and evening will probably be cool.

    • Florence is fun. I am very lucky to be able to go there often.

  15. We ate at Trattoria Bordino tonite! It was truly wonderful in all ways! Thank you so much for recommending it Debra!

    • It is a fun restaurant. I love those places that are filled with locals.

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