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Five Affordable Off-the-Beaten-Path Experiences in Florence, Italy
With winding medieval streets surrounded by some of the world's best wineries, paired with endless dining options and designer shopping it is easy to rack a high bill after just one day in Tuscany. Florence, Italy is a city brimming with arts, culture and lesser known places to be explored. In the heart of Firenze lie many secret and not so secret affordable experiences which will make your day, week or month in Florence one to remember.
Visit a Secret BakeryThis is not your typical morning bakery, the treats are fresher than any bombolini you will enjoy with your morning espresso. Beginning around midnight, pull out your map of Florence, or better yet a smart phone. Secret bakeries can be a little tricky to locate, but some Google sleuthing will quickly send you in the right direction. Travel in a small group and follow your nose, whisper when you get close. One you find the bakery, politely knock on the door to exchange a few euros for a delicious bag of Nutella filled treats.
Spend the Afternoon or Evening at Piazza Santo Spirito, Florence's Oltrarno
This area on the other side of the Arno is a great place to retreat to after a morning spent in the city center. Unlike most popular areas in Florence, this neighborhood is rarely overrun by tourists. Instead, you'll find artisans and locals. Once you reach the neighborhood, grab a pizza from Gusta Pizza, sit in the square and enjoy the ambiance, or enjoy a meal al fresco at any of the restaurants nearby. If you visit during the day seek out some of the small artisan shops in the area where you can buy handmade goods.
Bring your camera! This not so secret location offers amazing views of Florence from up high. Most people visit during the day or in the evening. It can get crowded with everything from photo shoots to tour groups trying to snap a photo of the city and Il Duomo. For a relaxing experience, visit and catch the sunrise for the best photos of the city. Grab a coffee or breakfast from one of the kiosks at the top. One piece of advice, if you are not up for a bit of a hike to the top, hire a taxi or catch a bus.
If you happen to be wandering the streets of Florence near Il Duomo, be sure to head down the street and stop by Eby's Bar. At Eby's Bar, Eby himself will make you a beautiful shot with unusual ingredients: Nutella, green apple liqueur, a little hot sauce. They are true works of art. The only way to truly understand this affordable gem in the middle of the city is to visit and see for yourself.
As part of a visit to Basilica di San Lorenzo, you should stop by the Laurentian Library. The staircase and reading room of the library were designed by Michelangelo. Commissioned in the 1520's by the Medici family, the reading room was originally meant to house the family's large collection of books. Due to the library's somewhat strange location, it is often overlooked by tourists, but is relatively easy to find.