Needle It

Places we are loving: Florence, Italy

  • 11 Mar 2015

Florence; My perfect city break…

Blue skies and spring seems to have arrived finally, but still it’s nice to have a sneaky weekend break planned, just a little indulgent time away from home and something to look forward to. My vote every time is Florence. It’s a love affair; I just can’t get enough of Florence, or Italy in general.  Since starting Needle nearly 3 years ago, I have been lucky enough to spend a fair amount of time in Florence and I now feel like I know it quite well, hugely helped by the fact that Emma has been going for years and she has shown me some of her favourite places.

Florence is saturated in beautiful old buildings; from the ornate Duomo in the centre of town to the quirky little gems often tucked down a small unsuspecting side street, or hidden behind an elaborate doorway. The city has an aura of mystery and history, which I find quite calming. The city centre is easy to navigate and small enough to walk around without getting too lost.

Ems and I have created our little list of places we love to go to when we are in Florence:


Hotel Palazzo Guadagni this is a low-key cute hotel, situated on the top floor of building in Santo Spirito Square. One of those magical places hidden behind ornate doors.  The hotel is Italian style; clean and basic, but has these gorgeous hand painted tiles in all the rooms, plus a lovely balcony looking over the city where you can enjoy a cup of tea or our choice would be a glass of prosecco.. when in Italy!


Four Seasons in Florence is an expensive alternative, but an utterly luxurious option. Set in stunning gardens on the edge of Florence, it is a 10 minute walk to the Duomo so not far but it is truly stunning building and an oasis of peace from the hustle and bustle of the city centre.



The piece de resistance with Italy generally is the fantastic food, truly delicious. Florence is full of little trattorias that serve the most delectable Italian food, from scrumptious homemade pastas to Steak Florentine – (this should come with a warning.. one massive piece of steak).  I am convinced that all Italian trattorias serve good tasty food but these are a few we have tried and are definitely worth going to:

Quattro Leoni is set in a lovely square just on the South of the Arno on the less busy side of the river, Emma & I always make a sure we eat here, the food is amazing; their house salad is scrumptious but the pear ravioli is truly heavenly.

In the same square as Quattro Leoni is; 5 e Cinque which is an organic, mainly vegetarian restaurant, which serves healthy food options but all very flavoursome.

Secret finds

Pharmacia Santa Maria Novella  – one of the world’s oldest pharmacys founded by monks 600 years ago making the mostly heavenly  smelling perfumes, soaps and candles.  All made from natural plant based ingredients and packed beautifully.  The shop is stunning, set in an old church, with frescos on the ceiling and antique glass cabinets displaying all the products


Santo Spirito

Piazza di Santo Spirito is one of our favourite places. We tend to stay in this square (as above) It is a lively yet laid back square led with busy pizzeria’s, cafe’s and bars that spill out into the square.  It attracts a mixed crowd of artists, savvy tourists and locals.  On a summer’s evening its beautiful and the atmosphere is buzzing which has made it our go to place to enjoy a glass of prosecco.


Finally but definitely worth mentioning is the Gelato- pure creamy deliciousness.  Personal winners are for gelato flavours include; Nutella, hazelnut, chocolate, vanilla  and each one is devine. It is a must whilst in Italy and Florence is full of little Gelateria’s.  My personal favourite Gelateria is Gelateria Santa Trinita.  The queues are out the door in summer but it’s the perfect way to end the evening by sitting with you gelato on the bridge looking out over Florence.


Lizzie x



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