Ok. You got me. I could not narrow it down to the typical Top 10 list. In fact, narrowing down my favorites to 15 was difficult. Florence is that good!
15. Gazing at the Ponte Vecchio and the Arno from afar. Honestly, I avoided walking across the Ponte Vecchio as much as I could. It’s too busy, too touristy, too frenetic. I’d rather observe its beauty.
14. Buying chocolate at Venchi. The line was literally out the door for people salivating over the gelato. I wanted a bag of chocolate. And as one woman exclaimed as I tried to cross the line to the chocolate section — “Venchi has the BEST chocolate in Italy!” I nodded in agreement, explaining that’s why I was there. “Good choice,” she replied with that satisfying Italian smile.
13. Having lunch and gelato at Caffe delle Carrozze. Located at the base of the Ponte Vecchio, the charming atmosphere creates a sense of community, where talking to strangers is a must. Case in point, a lovely couple from Cambridge, England, shared their travels with me.
12. Having a cafe at Gilli, a Piazza della Repubblica institution. Well worth it.
11. Piazzale Michelangelo Love Locks. It’s not as popular as the bridge in Paris, but with the Florence skyline behind it, it should be.
10. The Orsanmichele Church Exterior Statues. There must be at least 12, but one is considered to be the first Renaissance statue.
9. Enjoying what really is the BEST gelato in Florence — La Carraia.
8. The Wine Doors of Florence. All around the historical center of Florence, people easily walk by these little doors, which are a symbol of a different time in Florence. The public would walk up to them and the staff of the palazzo would pour the wine through to the then wine enthusiast.
7. The terrace view of Florence from Hotel Baglioni.
6. Yes — the David. Need I say more?
5. Enjoying aperitivo at I Fratellini. It’s a hole in the wall, stand outside place, but has the freshest and most delicious paninis and wine — and good conversation with strangers.
4. A balsamic vinegar tasting at La Bottega dell’ Olio. You will not leave this charming store empty-handed.
3. Lunch on the terrace at the popular Italian department store, La Rinascente.
2. Studying the Italian language at Scuola Leonardo da Vinci. I have a lot more to study, but what a start!
1. Enjoying lunch at Oibo in Piazza Santa Croce with my classmates. Lovely wine, lovely lasagna, lovely setting — lovely company.
So that’s my list — what’s yours?