Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Thu May 19 2016

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  • Nick and Dariece | May 19, 2016 11:00 PM ET

    A Mini-Guide to Florence, Italy

    A Mini-Guide to Florence, Italy

    Photos by Goats on the Road

    Florence, also dubbed the "Cradle of the Renaissance" is firmly planted on most travelers’ Italian itineraries. Who wouldn't want to see Michelangelo's Statue of David, the Duomo Cathedral, or stroll across the Ponte Vecchio? There are many sights to see, streets to roam and meals to eat. Give yourself at least five nights in the city to really fall in love with Florence.

    Where to Stay

    First of all, the historical center of Florence is quite small, and (unlike Rome), you'll be able to walk from one end to the other in around 30 minutes. You can choose to stay within the center and be just a five-minute walk to the main sights, or you can stay outside of the center and be just a 15-minute walk away from the best of the city! Florence is a very safe place to travel to, so no matter where you stay, you'll be fine walking around at night.

    READ MORE: Tips From Ornella: How to Spend Your Free Time in Florence

    Have a look at The Tourist House Liberty, which offers rooms in the traditional style, as well as three new rooms which are more modern. The location is great — just a five-minute walk to the train station, and about 10 minutes to the Duomo. There are also a lot of restaurants and cafes nearby. The rooms at this hotel range from $50-$100 depending on the time of year you plan to travel.

    Where to Eat

    Food is one of the great joys of travel, and this is especially true in Italy! The cuisine in this country is exceptional. Florence offers many regional dishes for you to sample. Don't miss the steak, the bread stew and the gelato. Check out these restaurants during your stay in Florence:

    Trattoria Mario (Address: Via Rosina 2r angolo Piazza del Mercato Centrale) This is one of the best restaurants in the city! The food here is home cooked and based on traditional Tuscan recipes. The food is fresh as well — the ingredients and menu change based on the season. Some meals to try include the ribolleta (bread soup), Tortelli di patate al ragu (pasta with meat sauce) and Bistecca alla Fiorentina (beef steak). The portions are large, the meals are very affordable ($4.50 and up), the seating is communal and the restaurant is always buzzing!

    pasta in florence italy

    Simbiosi (Address: Via De Ginori 56R) This is the spot to go for organic, fresh, local food. This restaurant is proud of its organic ingredients and the meals are really tasty. Try the pizzas, which are cooked in the wood-fired oven right in front of you. The prices are fair as well with pizzas starting at $7. Perche no! (Address: Via dei Tavolini, 19-red 50122 ) This artisan ice cream shop (gelateria) has been around since 1939, and serves up some of the best gelato in Florence. The ice cream is homemade every morning, but choosing which flavor(s) to have can be a difficult task! Try the pistachio and dark chocolate.

    What To See and Do

    This list will only be a fraction of what you can spend your time seeing and doing in Florence. This is a city filled with incredible sights and alleyways for you to discover. The Duomo: An obvious choice! This towering Cathedral of Santa Maria (Duomo) dominates the Piazza del Duomo, and is absolutely stunning. The outside facade is in gothic style and the details are incredible. Make sure to get an up-close look at the ornate design. The inside is almost as equally impressive as the outside. Be sure to purchase a ticket, which will allow you to go to the top of the cathedral for views over the city.

    the duomo in florence

    The Ponte Vecchio and River Arno: Take a stroll along the River Arno — this is one of the most peaceful things to do in the city. But, in order to find some quiet spots, continue going until you are further away from the main touristy areas. Be sure to cross the medieval Ponte Vecchio (old bridge) as well, which has vendors selling their goods.

    Go on a Walking Tour: Joining a walking tour will allow you to see the city through a local's eyes. The tour with Walks Of Italy offers a morning trip, which starts with wine tastings! The day continues on with the sampling of local foods (including gelato) visiting the market where Florentines actually do their shopping, and learning about sites along the way. Have a look at the tour here.

    READ MORE: Florence Side-Trips: Make Cinque Terre Itinerary Item 1

    Visit Markets: If you walk around the city long enough, you'll find many markets. The one listed above which is where the locals shop, is just one of many. Impromptu international markets will spring up in various squares, with vendors showing off their traditional foods. The San Lorenzo Market is outdoors, with stalls selling everything from leather to clothing and souvenirs. The market starts at the Church of San Lorenzo, and runs along Via Ariento to Via Nazionale.

    cheese in florence at the market italy

    Other notable sites include the Statue Of David, the Piazza della Signoria and the surrounding Tuscan hillside — which is a great place to watch the sunset.

    Have you traveled to Florence? Which foods, sites and accommodations do you recommend? Share with us in the comments!

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Nick and Dariece Notes from the Goats

Nick and Dariece Nick and Dariece are the couple behind Goats On The Road, a website designed to inspire others to live a financially sustainable, location independent lifestyle. Masters at making money abroad and turning their travels into a way of life, they've been on the road since 2008 and have explored some of the least visited places on earth, finding adventure wherever they go. They are also full time contributors at Credit Walk where they share their expertise of making money and travelling forever. Check them out at Goats On The and follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
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