Yes, this is where one of the seasons of the Jersey Shore was filmed. And no, I did not go to the pizza place where they worked at (though not going to lie, a part of me wanted to.) While I did spend three nights in Florence, I really only had one day to explore, since the other two days were spent in surrounding cities. So as you would imagine, the schedule was pretty tight. But before I get into that, here is some information that I hope will help you out if/when you visit Florence:
- While doing research for Florence, I read that apertivo is very popular here (but I’m not sure if it was just here, or all across the country). It’s where you go to a bar/restaurant, buy a drink, and you would get a buffet of their appetizers. You wouldn’t be making a meal out of it, but I would imagine that it’s more of a time to catch up with people and socialize. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to experience this since we usually finished our busy days pretty late. But I guess that’s just another reason for me to go back to Italy!
- Instead of staying at a hotel, we opted for an Airbnb. This is a site where people rent out their apartments (usually, the apartments are used for the sole purpose of renting out – the ‘hosts’ don’t actually live there). It was an interesting experience. It was nice in the sense that it made me feel like I was actually living in Florence. Like I was a local. The one we stayed at had a kitchen, living room, two bedrooms, and a small dining area. But on the other hand, the showers were extremely small – think, broom closet small, and I wish I was exaggerating. Also, the apartment seemed kind of old. I think I still prefer hotels. They feel cleaner and safer. Not that I didn’t feel safe, but it’s just more for my own peace of mind. Also, you would have to meet up with the host to check in/out and when we were checking out, she was late. She almost made us miss our train to Rome. So we ended up having to leave the key in the apartment and closing the door behind us. So there’s that too.
- Don’t forget to stop and check out the street art. There’s nothing like it. I’m not sure what the artists use, if it’s chalk, paint, or what – but whatever they use, it’s usually a replica of a famous piece of art, like the Mona Lisa. It’s just amazing to be able to watch them at work, using the streets of Florence as their medium.
- I’m pretty sure this rings true for all touristy parts of Italy, but BEWARE of gelato places trying to rip you off. Like what happened to the guys in this article. While mine was nowhere as extreme, I still got ripped off. The prices they display outside, where they scoop you the gelato, magically triples when you go to pay inside. So I ended up paying about 8 USD for a small cup of gelato.