The Native | Bekki Gaffiero shows us around Florence

Travelling is always risky business – get stuck in a touristy area and your meals are terrible as is the rest of your stay. Bekki Gaffiero shows us how to travel around Florence like a native.

Florence, Italy
Florence, Italy

Travelling is always risky business – get stuck in a touristy area and your meals are terrible. The same can be said of sightseeing, hotels and nightspots. Travelling to a place where you know people to recommend the right places makes your stay all the more enjoyable.

Bekki Gaffiero
Bekki Gaffiero

Bekki Gaffiero, 23, was born in Malta, and has been living in Florence for the past three months. If you’re visiting Florence, these are the places she recommends to hang out like a native.

Best place to eat

It is well worth braving the queues outside All’Antico Vinaio to get your hands on Florence’s best sandwiches
It is well worth braving the queues outside All’Antico Vinaio to get your hands on Florence’s best sandwiches

In Italy, when it comes to food its hard to go wrong. However just like anywhere else, there are always those special places that really knock your socks off. All’ Antico Vinaio will do just that. These guys serve, in my opinion as well as many others’, the best sandwiches in Florence. The queues pour out of the two tiny adjacent restaurants on Via dei’ Neri and due to their rapid turnover, freshly baked bread is constantly being brought out. I suggest you get there early to avoid long queues and trust me - you will not want to miss this one.

Best gelato

Whatever happens always leave room for dessert. The best ice cream in Florence can be found at Gelateria dei Neri
Whatever happens always leave room for dessert. The best ice cream in Florence can be found at Gelateria dei Neri

Possibly the best advice I can give you when visiting Florence is - always leave space for dessert. If not you run the risk of missing out on some incredible flavours. It just so happens that a couple of doors down from Florence’s best place to eat, you will find Florence’s best gelateria. Gelateria dei Neri is a small family run shop producing their own gelato, granita and semi-freddo. Opt for two scoops and be sure to try their salted caramel as well as ricotta - pistachio cremino ice cream. Though I warn you – any ice cream after this one will be disappointing to say the least.

Best place to hang out

Move On is a pub situated right outside the Duomo and not only scores five stars for its beautiful décor and great location but also boasts a super sexy record store on the first floor
Move On is a pub situated right outside the Duomo and not only scores five stars for its beautiful décor and great location but also boasts a super sexy record store on the first floor

Santo Spirito, located on the opposite side of the Arno River is a neighborhood bursting with energy particularly in the evenings. Packed with great restaurants bars and cafes, one could easily spend their whole trip here.

Though if we’re talking more specifically, ‘Move On’ is a pub situated right outside the Duomo and not only scores five stars for its beautiful décor and great location but also boasts a super sexy record store on the first floor. This place is a definite must for those wanting to grab a drink and little bit of groove.

Best place for a night out

If you’re into techno, Tenax Club is the place to be
If you’re into techno, Tenax Club is the place to be

Clubs in Florence are very different to what we’re used to in Malta. Most require an entrance fee ranging from €10-15 and drinks are not cheap. Your choice in club all boils down to the genre of music you’re into and in the city you’re definitely bound to find your place. Locals will insist on checking out Babylon Club and Blanco Beach Bar. The two play commercial sound and the latter only runs throughout the summer months. However, if you’re looking for house and techno events, Tenax is the place to be. Situated outside the city centre, it is one of Florence’s most popular clubs and boasts an impressive list of guest DJs that have played over the past three decades. Club 21 is also worth following, hosting events ranging from hip-hop to techno. You also may be lucky enough to stumble across the occasional party held in palazzos around the city.

Best adventure activity

Get a unique view of the city of while rafting along the River Arno
Get a unique view of the city of while rafting along the River Arno

Italians live ‘la vita bella’. But the beautiful life does not mean a luxurious one. Instead the Italians take pride in their relaxed lifestyle and this is something that you will instantly notice upon stepping foot in Italy. That being said, Florence especially, may not the place to be if you’re seeking extreme adventure. However, there are still a number of fun things to do in the city. One can view Florence’s top spots from a different angle by spending an afternoon rafting on the Arno River. This is a perfect way to see the city whilst avoiding the crowds during the hot summer months. You may also choose to stop midway for an aperitif because trust me when I say that nothing in Italy is done without food and drink.

Best place for shopping

Florence is the perfect place for vintage shopping though if you’re looking for a bargain you should probably look away
Florence is the perfect place for vintage shopping though if you’re looking for a bargain you should probably look away

Vintage shopping is a gem that one stumbles across unexpectedly in Florence, yet surprisingly, it is a hub for some of the best-preserved vintage one could hope to find. So whether you’re looking for a Levi’s denim jacket or a Tuscan style credenza, the city will provide. Though I feel like I should mention that in this city, vintage is definitely not cheap so if you’re looking to save some cash, look the other way. You will however find a couple of shops, which allow for the occasional (and very persistent) haggling. Melrose Vintage is probably my favourite place to shop for clothes. One will also find vintage shop after vintage shop on Borgo Pinti.

Best time to visit

The most popular time to visit Florence is in the summer months. The most comfortable of those would be May, June and September with July and August being pretty hot. Having said that there is no bad time to visit the city with plenty to do even in the winter.

Currency

As part of the Eurozone you can expect to use euros in Florence.

Visas

European citizens do not need a visa to visit Florence or anywhere else in Italy.

 

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