This article complements our post Top 10 Things To Do in Florence, Italy.
Here are five simple, yet helpful tips to help you better enjoy your time in Florence.
Currency Exchange – How to get a better deal?
Don’t wait until the last minute to buy Euros for your trip.
Monitor the prices in advance and always check and compare currency exchange rates from different sources so you can get a better deal.
The newspaper, your local bank, and online sites are great sources to keep an eye on currency rates.
Once in Florence, there are several places to exchange money, but be forewarned they are incredibly expensive and charge outrageous commissions. My suggestion: avoid them completely, especially the airport and the exchange booths around the historic area.
If you must buy Euros while in Florence, you will get the most reasonable rates at local banks.
Watch SeeTen in your hotel or apartment
SeeTen is a great 24-hour TV channel in both English & Italian that features excellent travel advice focused on Florence and the beautiful Tuscan surroundings.
This fun, dynamic channel teaches you a lot about Florence’s history, arts, and culture.
Star reporter Chiara Valentini will give you the latest information on museum exhibits, itineraries, and other fun activities to do around Florence.
Shopping: What to buy?
Since Florence is such an artistic city, buy art. There are many art galleries that offer beautiful sculptures and paintings. Some of the popular styles are Italian Renaissance and Tuscan landscapes.
Florence is also known for its top quality leather goods.
The open markets are very popular and you can find all types of leather products such as bags, shoes, belts, purses, boots, and jackets.
Don’t be afraid of bargaining, it is expected. But bring cash since most open markets don’t accept credit cards.
There are also small boutique shops and brand-name stores for those looking to dress la Moda Italiana.
Where to stay?
There are many options in Florence and knowing where to stay might just depend on how long you are planning to be there.
If you are visiting Florence for one or two days, book a hotel.
However, if you are visiting for a week or more, I strongly suggest renting an apartment.
Renting an apartment might save you money since you can buy groceries and cook at home instead of dining out all the time. Most apartments are fully furnished with everything you need in the kitchen.
A Great Restaurant – il Porcospino
If you are celebrating a special occasion, I recommend dining at Trattoria & Wine Bar il Porcospino, located in the historic center and specializing in Tuscan cuisine.
They also have a very good selection of the best Tuscan wines like Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti, and Nobile di Montepulciano… but their vino della casa (house wine) is very good and reasonably priced.
If you have been to Florence and have more tips, please comment here. Or if you have any questions regarding your trip, please let us know. We’ll be happy to help you in any way we can. Buon Viaggio!
Last evening I opened a bottle of Rosso di Montalcino 2004 from Azienda Lisini, which is located in the beautiful hills just south of the town of Montalcino, Italy.
To begin, 2004 was an outstanding year for the Sangiovese Grosso grapes. So make sure you pay attention to those Rossos and Brunellos from 2004 because most likely you will get a superb wine.
With a deep ruby color, similar to a Pinot Noir, the Rosso di Montalcino 2004 from Lisini is a very enjoyable wine.
The nose is elegant and dry, with some tones of oak, and immediately awakens the senses with hints of black berries which are so characteristic in Sangiovese wines.
On the palate it has a medium feel but good presence with a dry, slightly tannic sapore. The hints of raspberries are well balanced with the earth and oaky tones. I only wished it had a longer bouquet.
It was not necessarily super smooth as you would probably expect of its older brother Brunello, and although lightly acidic, it was very pleasant.
On a final note, I would recommend using a decanter before serving and let the wine rest for at least 30 minutes to let it air. Enjoy!
Once upon a time, I used to think price was directly correlated to the quality of the wine; the more expensive the bottle, the better its quality. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Every once in a while I come across excellent wines under $10 that put pricey competitors to shame. When I do, I have to share this news with the world!
Today, I’m talking about the Marchese de Petri il Valore Chianti Riserva 2005, a great wine at a great price. I found it for $6.99 at Trader Joe’s.
A Chianti is considered a Chianti when it contains at least 80% of Sangiovese grape and when it is produced in the region of Chianti in Tuscany, Italy. Furthermore, in order for a Chianti to be considered a Riserva it must be aged for at least 38 months.
So why is this Chianti Riserva so good? In part because 2005 was a great year for Sangiovese grapes all over Tuscany (expect some extraordinary Brunello di Montalcino 2005 next year).
Now, when you first open the bottle of Marchese de Petri il Valore you’ll sense a light, mature flavor with delicate hints of dried fruits or berries.
I recommend not serving it immediately; let it breathe for 45 minutes or pour it in a decanter for the same amount of time. This will help open up the wine and develop its bright fruity flavors.
This medium-bodied Chianti is very flexible and pairs well with salads, pasta dishes, poultry and meat.
So there you have it! If you try this wine and please give us your comments. We’d love to hear from you.
Keep in mind that when you’re looking for a Chianti, the wine is often found in a traditional wine bottle and not necessarily nestled in a straw basket.