Florence Blog

Find here all the interesting news, tips and thoughts about Florence. Reading this page should give you an idea what to see, where to go and eat in Florence. And some info on the lovely apartment you are about to rent!

Vegan Florence

Posted by on Jul 8, 2014 in blog, Florence | 0 comments


Organic, Vegan, Gluten-Free
Are you a vegan? A vegetarian? Do you like healthy, organic food? Do you want to eat something other than Tuscan food?

Florence has a healthy number of vegetarian and vegan restaurants. One that opened a few monthes ago at the back of the Duomo of Florence is Panino Vegano, or vegan sandwitch.

The choice of vegan hamburgers is between soy and chickpeas, accompanied by vegan mayonaise, gluten-free bread, ketchup, red beet mayo, and a variety of organic roasted vegetables.

Sandwiches are tasty and sauces good. It is a good eating, a bit pricey at 5,50 Euros per sandwitch, but definitely a good and healthy choice.

Organic Wholesome Drinks

A great alternative to sodas are vegetable and fruit extracts. Ginger, carrot, apple. You can make your tasty drink with whatever they have available from organic farms.

You can find Panino Vegano and its organic, gluten-free sandwitches in Florence at via Bufalini 19r (r stands for red numbers).

Other Options

Other vegan and gluten free options to eat in Florence are:

Crepapelle, great crepes without eggs. Possible? Yes, and tasty. Via Giampaolo Orsini 55/a

Le Fate, a vegan restaurant with a twist on astrology. Find it at Borgo Allegri 9r


Also, if you would like to wear vegan clothing, SAVE sells vegetarian shoes at Via dei Pilastri 7A

New Restaurants Opening in Florence

Posted by on Apr 26, 2014 in blog, Restaurants | 0 comments

Restaurants at the old matket in florence

The Second floor finally lit up

There are new restaurants that opened up in Florence, and precisely in the old market standing right in front of the apartment.

The second floor of the market has always been left empty, and during the past years it served as the open space for local artists and the likes.

However, this huge and beautiful space sat pretty much unused for years. Until the municipality of Florence decided it was time to do something.

The entire second floor is dedicated to four new restaurants, one of which just opened on the 23 of April. The inauguration ceremony included flag wavers and drew a lot of people, as you can see in the picture.

As of yet, I have no clue what type of food the restaurant is cooking, but I bet it has to do with Italian food!

There are three more restaurants opening next on the second floormof the old market in San Lorenzo in Florence. As soon as I have a better clue of what they are all about I will post it here.

Until then…enjoy Florence!


Crowd standing at restaurant opening

The crowd stands out with flag waivers

Remodeling the Apartment

Posted by on Oct 29, 2013 in blog | 0 comments

WOW! The process of remodeling the apartment is taking longer than expected. The hardest part is over, but there are still a lot of details to take into account to make it the perfect nest for two in Florence.

August was the month of scraping and brushing. I scraped the entire apartment:I ate so much dust! I brought the walls back to their original whiteness, then I whitewashed the entire house twice. The ceiling killed me, but I guess it was fun in a way. To see the apartment become all nice and clean again made me proud and gave me strength to keep on!

The best part was when I painted the second color on the lower part of the kitchen and the bedroom. I love the contrast between the sharp white and the warm earthly yellow ocher color. It is reminiscent of the red roofs all around. The thin, more intense, line I draw to separate the white and the yellow produces a nice result.
I really like the way it came out. This wall painting technique is quite old in Italy, but I think it combines both simplicity and sophistication, while adding a touch of warmth to a home.

I did not paint in yellow the small living room so it is more sunny, but I did frame the doors with the color so to give more continuity with the other rooms of the apartment.

I sill have a lot to take care of, like finishing up the armoire, cleaning up the wood beams in the bedroom (I accidentally whitewashed them…), placing all the accessories in the bathroom, and setting all the appliances up to work flawlessly.

But I am particularly proud of the nice lamps I bought. I set up the one in the kitchen and in the bathroom, and they are lovely. They are made in ceramic and hand painted, produced by a firm near Florence. They ad such a rustic and homely touch that I feel good just by looking at them!

I almost forgot the door of the apartment! It took me ages to complete it. It is an old, very robust and heavy door. It had five or six layers of paint on it, which of course made my job a pain! I had to scrub and sand until my elbows hurt, but the resulting decoupage effect is much more interesting than before.

Well, I hope to finish it all up in a couple of weeks, so I can be ready to welcome all-ya-faithful in this cozy apartment in splendid Florence!

What to Buy at San Lorenzo Market

Posted by on Sep 26, 2013 in blog | 0 comments

san lorenzo market

San Lorenzo Market through a street in Florence

Taking a look outside the windows of your apartment in Florence, you will immediately notice the lively market below your eyes: kiosk after kiosk with passersby and sellers calling them to sell their goods.
In time the market has changed its appearance quite a bit. It used to be open just on weekends and each kiosk would sell its own artisan handicrafts, which would range from pottery to garments, to ceramics and so forth.

Nowadays the market is open everyday, and the items sold are mostly leather goods, clothing and accessories. Since Florence has had a name for leather goods for many decades now, you should definitely see if you can find nice bags, purses, or book covers made of leather. Some like to buy sketch books with rough paper and a hard leather cover for their drawings or as a guest book.

Silk goods are also a good buy. You can definitely find good priced scarfs and shirts at the San Lorenzo street market.

I would not suggest getting into any souvenir like t-shirts, hats or jumpers about Florence. They are overpriced and you can find them anywhere.

The street market develops from Piazza del Mercato until Piazza San Lorenzo, and its prices are average. However, always bargain with the seller. If you do not, it means you can pay almost any price and you will certainly pay an extra for this.

Even if you do not want to buy anything, have a walk through the street market during the early opening hours. You will see sellers unravel their boxed kiosks on wheels that soon blossom into full fledged shops with all sorts of colors and goods. It’s a great way to have a taste of real life in Florence.

2013 UCI Road World Championship in Florence

Posted by on Sep 24, 2013 in blog | 0 comments

florence map championship

Click on the link below to access the map

uring this week (from September 22 to 29) Florence and Tuscany hold the 2013 World Championship, a biking race that has drawn a lot of attention to the city. It is undoubtedly a great sports event, but if you are in Florence during this week y9ou can find it hard to get around as mass transportation lines and roads were altered and traffic redirected to accommodate the cycling track needs.

The municipality of Florence has put together a neat tool to help you get around. Visit this page to get more information and use the tool. The interactive map does not get along too well with my iPad, hope it works better with yours.

Visit this page for more info and to access the rout planning tool.

Florence Train Station (Santa Maria Novella)

Posted by on Sep 16, 2013 in blog | 0 comments

Santa Maria Novella is the name of Florence train station. Jot that down as when you are in Italy many call it by that name. You will find it just 2 minutes away walking from apartments Il Nido (http://florenceapartmentstorent.com). The station takes its name from the wonderful church situated opposite the street.

In case you are getting to Florence by train, you might be interested in knowing something more about it. It’s a large size train station, the fourth largest in Italy, and handles 57 million passengers each year. Here you can find anything you need. There is a pharmacy, some shopping stores and fast foods and coffee shops to have a full breakfast or meal.

the train station in florence

The Main Hall at Florence Station

There are about 20 tracks and about 4 are located to the extreme left of the station (watching the tracks), on a separate platform. This is an important detail since at times you can get lost and and miss your train looking for these tracks. For instance, often times regional trains traveling to Siena depart from here.

You can access the train station from two sides. One is near the bus station across the street, while the other is the main access from Piazza della Stazione. If you need to catch a bus to Siena or other areas of Tuscany, remember to go right when leaving the tracks.

There are useful automatic ticket machines right in front of the tracks: just select English and you are good to go. You can even pay with your credit or debit card. If you would like a clerk assisting you, or are traveling with the fast trains, the ticket counters are located to the right of the tracks in a large hall. Here you will also find other automatic ticket machines.

Some lines are bus operated although they still belong to the train authority. Like the line that takes you to Piombino. You will get these buses exiting the ticket hall.

I can’t think of anything else about Florence train station right now, so please let me know you you have any specific question you would like answered! Have a safe trip!

Good Pizza in Florence

Posted by on Sep 13, 2013 in blog, Restaurants | 0 comments

Pizzeria in florence

The veranda of Mamma Napoli

So you just arrived in Florence, or are planning to hit the town in a few days and would like to know where to find a good and inexpensive pizza restaurant in the city.

Eating a good pizza in Florence is not that hard. Unfortunately since there are a lot of tourists in town there also are a lot of tourist-trap restaurants and pizzerias.

In Piazza del Mercato Centrale you should give a try to a couple of Pizza places, where you can eat a good pizza sitting at a table, drinking a good beer or red wine.

One is the Napoealitan style pizza, and since pizza was invented in Neaples it’s also the original one. You can have it at Mamma Napoli, which opened a few months ago. It offers outdoor seating and is quite inexpensive. For a Margherita (cheese pizza) I paid 5 euros. Here their Trip Advisor page.

Trattoria pizzeria restaurant in florence

The outdoor veranda of Trattoria Garibardi

The other pizza style is the crunchier and thinner kind, which you can have at Garibardi, on the other side of the square from Mamma Napoli. I can’t remember the price here, but it should be a reasonable one. This one also offers many Tuscan restaurant dishes, which is good if you feel like trying out some local specialties. This one has been around for over 20 yeras and also offers outdoor seating. Check out their status on Trip Advisor.

Both restaurants are 20 seconds walking from Florence apartments Il Nido!

The Gulf of Baratti

Posted by on Jul 9, 2012 in blog | 0 comments

gulf of barattiI have recently been to Baratti, near Piombino. It’s a lovely small town with a lovely gulf. The water is crystal clear, the surrounding natural environment is almost untouched with very few characteristic buildings and just two small beach bars, perfect to cool off mid-day heat spells. Even better is Mauro, the Neapolitan man that delivers fresh coconut, pineapple, ice creams and delicious slush with real lemon juice from Sorrento! Quenching and an effective aperitif before lunch.

A few steps from the beach, set on a large grassy field and shaded by wonderful maritime pine trees, I found a well organized street food truck preparing a myriad of delicious panini, serving cold beer and drinks to enjoy under the shade of the pine trees. It seems that this area is always windy, which coupled with the shade under the trees provides an ideal cooling effect even with temperatures of 40 Celsius. All the trees along the gulf had to adapt to the constant air flow, bending backwards to ease wind resistance: when I saw this it felt like being in Alice in Wonderland.

The beach is made of ocher sand, which is made of large grains, excellent to shake off your skin when leaving for the day. The water is crystal clear and warm, with no rocks and a long shallow area safe for kids and comfortable to let your body wobble around in complete relax. There are a few resorts, but the best thing is to bring your own beach towel and enjoy the free beach, which includes the majority of the Gulf of Baratti. From below one can spot the tiny village of Populonia, definitely worth a visit after a day at the beach. From atop the cliff the view is absolutely unforgettable.

A few steps from the beach there are restaurants, hot showers and services, all discretely placed to preserve the natural looks of the beach. Should you want to rest away from the heat of the beach the pine wood offers plenty of space to rest in a cool and silent spot. The gulf of Baratti is among the best beaches I have visited in Tuscany, I hope to return there soon!

[slideshow id=35 w=576 h=432]

A Guide to Tuscan Food

Posted by on Jun 9, 2012 in blog | 0 comments

Tuscany is a beautiful and romantic destination on Italy’s western coast. It is known throughout Italy as a place of culture and history. Visitors come to the area to explore the large cities like Florence, but also to tour the quiet countryside towns throughout Tuscany. Renaissance art, historical landmarks and a friendly population are some of the best reasons to visit the area. Of course, Tuscany is also famous for its cuisine. Not only is it well known for its agricultural history, but it is also home to many artisan food makers and wineries. If you are planning a trip to Tuscany in the future, use this food guide to learn more about the traditional foods in the region, the best wines produced in the area and even the best regional accommodations.

Popular Tuscan Dishes
Italy is known for delicious cuisine, but Tuscany is often considered to be at the heart of that culinary tradition. Tuscan meals focus on simplicity of preparation and boast quality ingredients. In the Tuscan countryside, a typical meal might include the classic peasant soup of ribollita that is full of vegetables or freshly caught wild game like hares, deer or pheasant. A sweet tooth is prevalent in Tuscan natives, as evidenced by delicious desserts like ricciarelli cookies flavored with almonds and honey.

Traditions of Dining
Visitors to Tuscany will immediately be struck by the length of the meals. In sharp contrast to those dinners in America or England that consist of just one filling course, Italian meals prepared in Tuscany have several courses. The meal starts with the antipasti, or appetizer. This might be hot or cold and could be as simple as bruschetta or as elaborate as fois gras salad. The next course is the primi, or first course. Traditionally this is some kind of pasta or rice dish. In Tuscany, it is not uncommon to enjoy a hearty hand-rolled spaghetti dish known as pici. The next course would be the secondi, or main entree. In Tuscany this might be a meat dish made from wild game like boar or elk as a nod to the rustic heritage and culinary traditions. To finish the meal comes dolci, or dessert. A sweet treat like tiramisu or cookies finishes the meal.

Wine in Tuscany
Perhaps the best known export from Tuscany is the wine. The best wine in the region comes from the area of Chianti, home to extensive production of red wine by the same name. Although the taste of Chianti wine will differ slightly among growers and wineries, the taste is very light for a red wine and boasts notes of fruits or berries. Visitors who are interested in wine should plan to visit at least one winery during their stay and participate in a tasting of various local varieties.

Tuscan Food Tours
As an increasing number of people become interested in the incredible food and wine available in Tuscany, an influx of Tuscan food tours has come about. If you are a serious foodie who is more interested in local cheeses that local attractions, then a tour like this might be perfect for you. You can choose to embark on a two week journey of Tuscany that tours the region and stops in at all the best restaurants and markets, or you can simply enjoy a day long cheese or wine tour in the area.

Accommodation in Tuscany
Your accommodation options will vary greatly depending on where in Tuscany you choose to visit. In the city of Florence, hotels and hostels are plentiful. In the countryside, your best choice might be to find a website (http://www.holiday-rentals.co.uk/) that offers luxury villas. Click here to learn more about some of the various holiday homes available for rent.

Florence for The Art Lover

Posted by on May 7, 2012 in blog | 0 comments

The artistic heritage of Florence is perhaps one of the most impressive of any European city. Some of the strongest influences on painting over the centuries is based on the artistic masters of Florence in the 14th and 15th centuries. Names like Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Botticelli are synonymous with the capital of Tuscany, and as such the legacy of Renaissance artists can be seen throughout the beautiful city.

During the 15th century Florence was the focal point for trade, cultural exchange, entertainment and politics. This kind of draw to an area really leaves its mark, something which can be seen so very clearly today making Florence an essential location to visit as it is one of the most lucid cultural windows to the history of Europe.

Florence’s main attractions, the Uffizi Gallery is one of the oldest and most well-known art museums throughout the western world. Because of this status it sees a near-constant stream of visitors from April to October and often tickets often sold out as art and history lovers make the pilgrimage time and again to view the many works stored within the museum. Originally built as a palace in the 16th century time has seen the Uffizi take on some of the greatest artwork by some of the most illustrious painters and sculptors; Leonardo da Vinci, Sandro Botticelli, Giotto, Michelangelo and Rembrandt amongst many others.

The Basilica of Santa Croce (Holy Cross) is the principal church of Florence and the largest Franciscan church in the world. When you approach the austere, yet impressive Gothic façade it fills many with a sense of awe at what this church seen in its years. Besides the striking architecture and art housed within, it is those to have come to rest here which draws many to pay their respects. Michelangelo and Galileo are amongst the top Italian minds who are buried in the Basilica earning it the title of the “Temple of the Italian Glories”.

There are of course many, many more experiences to be had within the city, it is often remarked that Florence has the highest concentration of art in the world. Being one of the great cultural epicenters of Europe means that there is a massive draw on tourists to the area, and such the city has grown with an impressive array of hotels and accommodation to cater for it. Finding a Hotel in Florence isn’t difficult, but the key is choosing one right in the thick of it. The Golden Tower Hotel, a recently re-opened boutique in the heart of the city, is a prime example, although there are of course many other spots all ideally situated close by.

So from Da Vinci to Dante or Botticelli to Brunelleschi, Florence has anything for the art lover, historian or just someone who is looking for something a little more substantial than a week sunbathing next to the pool. Before you travel it really is wise to either buy a guide or do some research there is really so much to see you won’t want to waste any time while you are there deciding what to do.

Olga Leleka is a content writer for www.booked.net, a hotels booking website which specializes in world-wide bookings including Tuscany holidays in Florence or Chianti.