(Cover image via Flickr by “Ghost of Kuji”)
Discover a Different Side of Florence
Birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence is one of the most popular destinations in Italy. The must-see landmarks include, of course, the Duomo, the statue of David and the Ponte Vecchio. And you should visit them all. They are part of the city’s History and you can’t organically understand a city, its culture and its people if you don’t get a glimpse of its Past. However, take the time to escape the crowds at the popular museums and uncover a slightly different side of the city, with these ideas for three activities for an offbeat trip to Florence.
1. Take a Walking Tour with Local Experts
The Vinaino Tour pairs the knowledge of locals with wine tasting and street markets. “Vinaino” in Italian means “street wine vendor” and you’ll agree it’s the right name for this tour once you know the details of the itinerary. This three-hour walking tour takes you through the historic center of Florence, visiting the markets and the “vinaini”, talking to the local merchants, learning about their traditions. The wine tasting and snacks aren’t included in the final price, but would you think twice about paying the extra €10 for this treat? I couldn’t think of a more original and engaging way to know a city.
If you want to experience this street market environment before and after the tour, book your stay at the Strozzi Palace Hotel close to the Piazza della Repubblica. It’s the perfect location.
2. Attend an Unusual Sporting Event
I really don’t know how to classify this sport, but the Calcio Storico Fiorentino looks like a mix of rugby, soccer and wrestling. If you’re feeling curious (or for the love of the game), head to the Basilica of Santa Croce to witness this unusual game at the sand-covered playing field at the square. This event usually takes place in June and, even if you’re not much of a sports fan, why not pick a team to root for? If you really don’t want to pick sides, try to know more about the game from the fans around you (if they can spare any time to pay attention to you during the 50-minute match).
If you wish to stay near Santa Croce, the area is a bit pricey: but can you say no to a night at the Relais Santa Croce? If you’re going for a real Florentine experience might as well book a room in a former Palace, right in the heart of the city.
3. Go Local with an Authentic Italian Custom
The Italian version of happy hour, “apperitivo”, happens between 7 and 9 p.m. and Florentines make a serious event out of it. It’s the perfect happening to mingle with the locals. Drinks can cost between €8 and €10, but the price usually includes a buffet with delicious finger food, Italian of course.
Trends come and go, and the bars can quickly go from hotspot to boring. Staying at the Alba Palace Hotel will put you right in the center of an area with plenty of bars (and restaurants) to choose from.
This post is part of the #HipmunkCityLove project