Where to stay: Hotel Palazzo Guadagni
Location is key when you have just a short time in a city, and nowhere is better situated than the Palazzo Guadagni. This hotel is at the heart of one of Florence’s coolest squares, Santo Spirito, and has one of the best roof terraces in the area. It’s a magical spot to enjoy a morning espresso or an evening cocktail as the sun dances across the rooftops.
For more information, visit www.palazzoguadagni.com.
Where to eat and drink: II Santo Bevitore
Along with Camillo and Alla Vecchia Bettola, Il Santo Bevitore is an excellent spot for dinner (it also has two wonderful sister spaces, the wine bar Il Santino and a bakery, S Forno) – I particularly loved dining al fresco. The service is impeccable and the food is sublime. Although the menu changes regularly with the seasons, standout dishes include marinated tuna, chicken liver terrine and a sour cherry pie with pistachio cream.
Where to go for drinks: Pop
While many enjoy perching on the walls of the Arno with a beer, or catching up with friends at Piazzale Michelangelo over a bottle of wine, Pop in Santo Spirito is ideal for those in search of a spritz and some snacks. They serve the most delicious nocellera olives, fresh bread, guacamole and tomato salsa to accompany your apperitivo.
Where to go for gelato: Gelateria Santa Trinita
Situated on the south side of the river with extraordinary views of the Arno and towards the Ponte Vecchio, Santa Trinita is for any lovers of gelato. The historic setting of the Frescobaldi Palace Bridge and breath-taking views compliment the colourful flavours that await inside. Black sesame, pistachio and chocolate are all exceptional, but on particularly hot days, opt for a Sicilian citrus granita.
Where to visit: Uffizi and Santa Maria Novella
The Uffizi is undoubtedly one of the best museums in the world, renowned for its remarkable collection of Renaissance art and brightly coloured ceilings. Look out for Hugo van der Goes’ Portinari Triptych, Artemesia Gentileschi’s Judith and of course Titian’s infamous Venus D’Urbino. Afterwards, wander to Santa Maria Novella, a beautiful church that is home to emblems of the Florentine Renaissance, such as Masaccio’s Holy Trinity and Domenico Ghirlandaio’s Tournabuoni Chapel. Santa Maria del Carmine, Santo Spirito and San Miniato are all churches worth visiting, too.
Where to shop: Epoca, Clochard and Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy
Florence is a haven for vintage shopping – head to Epoca for statement pieces, with its carefully curated selection of bold and brilliant clothing. Clochard is a small, unassuming little shop with the loveliest owners, where you can rummage around for the perfect piece. Finally, the world’s oldest apothecary, the Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy, is great for gifts, selling the most beautifully packaged botanical treasures to take home for family and friends.