I love to travel. Does that need to be said? My ideal trip is one that involves traveling by car (I love the flexibility of leaving when I want to and not having to worry about being late for a plane/train/bus/covered wagon). It involves food (obviously), and wine (also obviously), and usually a good dose of history and gorgeous scenery. Perhaps most importantly, my ideal trip always, always, always takes advantage of government holidays and three day weekends!
Sometimes, in my enthusiasm to turn three day weekends into four, five, and let’s face it seven day weekends, I forget to consider the implecations of traveling on a particular holiday. Sometimes, it’s no big deal. Anti-fascism day in Croatia is the perfect time to visit Friuli, for example. However, when traveling in the west, Easter is Easter is Easter. Here are three tips for making the most out of your Easter in Florence.
1. Reservations. Reservations. Reservations.
I like to think we’re all savvy enough to realize that a city jammed with people who want to visit the exact same places you do + a limited amount of time = stressful vacation. Luckily, Florence makes it
easy possible to buy tickets ahead of time for most major attractions. Even though buying your tickets in advance will save you time, the system isn’t flawless. You can only pick up your tickets from will call right before your appointment time. We still ended up spending over 45 minutes waiting in line. Besides planning ahead to visit some of the major sights, we also made sure to call ahead at a few of the restaurants we wanted to visit.
2. Get Up Early
This is one of my favorite “travel hacks” for just about anywhere. So simple. So worth it. While visiting Siena, we made sure to get up extra early. We beat the crowds to the Cathedral, and even managed to snap a few photos in the beautiful morning light without a soul in sight. Plus, I find that people are usually much more forgiving of my lack of language skills when they aren’t swamped with customers.
3. Enjoy the Crowds
There’s no way to escape the crowds at Easter in Florence. Easter weekend is a popular time to visit for everyone from Italian tourists, high school Italian classes, college students doing a semester abroad, to busses of Eastern Europeans. Luckily, as long as you can resist pulling out your best street brawl punch on the 65 year old woman with a razor phone clamoring to the the front of the crownd to take a photo (with said phone) of Botticelli’s Primavera, big crowds make for great people watching.
4. (Bonus) Do Your Research
If you are more of a ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ traveler (I’m only judging you a little bit), you can still save yourself a little stress and possibly disappointment by doing a moderate amount of research before you go. Many sites are closed on Mondays, some on Sundays, and some just specifically for Easter. If it’s your first time to Florence, don’t miss the Uffizi or Academia just because you couldn’t be bothered to spend five minutes on google. Three of my favorite blogs for eating/drinking/exploring your way around Florence are Girl in Florence, Living in Florence, and Curious Appetite.
Accommodation in Florence
Historic Home in Georgofili (Airbnb)
I was ready to move in to this gorgeous loft just steps from the Ufizzi Gallery. Comfortable bed, incredible windows, and a small but well equipped kitchen.
Eating in Florence
Osteria de Cinghiale Bianco
Typical Tuscan cuisine. We ordered a gigantic steak, tender pork with polenta, and of course Vin Santo with biscotti for dessert. This cozy little place is popular with tourists, but often recommended by locals, and they serve our favorite wines from Querceto di Castellina!
Borgo San Iacopo 43, 50125, Firenze, Italy |Tel: +39 0 552 157 06 | Cell:+39 345 393 9540
Il Borro Tuscan Bistro
A modern take on Tuscan fare. We tried a delightful appetizer of anchovies three ways, carpaccio with goat cheese mouse and balsamic vinegar, roasted octopus, and roast beef. Gorgeous modern interior and great house wine. (Il Borro is also a winery, so you won’t find any other wines on the list.)
Lungarno Acciaiuoli 8or, 50100, Florence, Italy | +39 055 290 423
Ironically slightly less charming in Florence than Manhattan, but still worth a visit. Started by Mario Batali and Lidia and Joe Bastianich, this market is comprised of two restaurants, a coffee bar, desert counter, and wine shop. If you are looking for wine, make sure to head upstairs where they stock some great wines from all of Italy.
Via Martelli 22, 50121, Florence, Italy | +39 055 015 3603