What to Do, See, & Eat in Florence, Italy

by Gigi Griffis

Welcome back to my Ask a Local series.

Today, still in celebration of my upcoming Italy guide, I’m giving you a teeny tiny peek at one of the Florence interviews you’ll find inside.

A huge thanks to the charming, snarky, hilarious M.E. Evans of Surviving in Italy for the interview.

First tell us about you.

I moved to Florence in the fall of 2009 to do a graduate year in painting. I have no idea why, since I doubled in sociology and English in college. I’ve lived in Italy ever since. I met my husband only a few months after I arrived. He wasn’t the only reason I stayed but he was definitely a large reason. I write, paint, hang out with my poodle, and make fun of how my husband pronounces “cloves,” in my free time.

If someone is visiting Florence for the first time, what do you recommend they see or do?

In my opinion the best thing a tourist can do is to simply spend a day or two like a local. It tells you a lot more about a culture and place than a building that was constructed hundreds of years before. I studied art and I love it; Florence is amazing, but what makes it different from the rest of the world is the culture.

With that in mind, in Florence, I’d recommend strolling the city and shopping, going to Due Fratellini, located at Via dei Cimatori 38, for lunch, grabbing a gelato, sitting at the park, going home and changing into night clothes, grabbing an aperitivo, and then having dinner at Giuggiolo, located at Viale Righi 3.

What are your top three favorite bars and restaurants?

I love Due Fratellini (Via dei Cimatori 38) for lunch; it’s where a lot of locals go during the work day. I also love Giuggello (Viale Righi 3). They do the bistecca Fiorentina (my husband’s favorite) very well. And one of my favorite pubs is Finnegins Pub, at Via San Gallo 123R.

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Is there anything tourists do that locals find rude or strange? What can we do to better fit in with the culture?

There a many things that tourists do that Italians find rude and weird. A simple list would be: wearing flipflops outside (Italians do not wear these unless they are at the beach), expecting the same things that you’d find in your home country (this is especially a problem with American tourists; Italians don’t eat in 30 minutes, for example, so the waiters are not going to be fast to get you in and get you out), and screaming and/or crazy, drunk behavior (Italians start drinking in their teens, so they’re pretty good at handling their alcohol. It’s considered trashy and disgusting to get screaming loud drunk in public).

Anything else you want us to know?

Florence is incredibly dog friendly. You’ll see dogs in shops, in restaurants, and out on the street at all hours of the day/night. It’s perfect for us and our demonic poodle, but weird people who dislike animals might be bothered. Florence is a very fashionable city, but it’s different from Milan or Rome. The style is sort of elegant-bohemian. If you’re considering packing all of your pastels for summer, don’t and, guys, leave the basketball shorts at home.

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Gina April 22, 2014 - 9:54 am

I love all the interviews – such a great idea for a book! – and I love the Surviving in Italy blog so it was a nice surprise to see it included :) For your book, be careful that it’s bistecca fiorentina, not bistecco. ;)


Gigi April 22, 2014 - 11:04 am

Good catch! Thanks!

M.Elizabeth Evans April 28, 2014 - 1:31 pm

Thank you Gina! You’re sweet. Thanks again GIGI for including me! Lots of fun. ;) And yes! Bistecca! EEK! GOOD CATCH!

I’ve Been Busy Lately: Where I Am When I’m Not Right Here | Living In Italy.Moving To Italy. Loving In Italy. Laughing In Italy. April 28, 2014 - 1:37 pm

[…] I Was Interviewed For A Tourism Book. An Excerpt Can Be Found Here […]


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