The leaning tower
I know that this is not in Florence but it was one of my favorite things. I had always read about this place and the tower. I never thought I would ever go there though. Then I found myself walking up to it and actually touching it. It was kind of surreal. It is definitely one of the things you need to see if you are in that part of Italy. But take some time to stroll around the town too. It really has some amazing things to see and do there.
Most important thing in Florence!
Pack as little as possible in a larger bag, so you have less to worry about carrying, but you can carry it up flights of stairs and pack it full of treasures to go home. All i needed was more sunscreen. I had a pair of nice sandles, and 2 Macbi skirts and 4 nice sleeveless shirts, and a scarf/wrap to cover up my shoulders in churches. Pack sunglasses and a SUNHAT! *dont forget underware* SUNSCREEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Anti-diaharria meds, allergy meds, pain killers. Dont forget some bandaids for those mostly inevitable blisters. I broke my shoes in and they were very comfortable, but after 2 weeks of continuous wear some areas were a bit raw, the bandaids help keep you going. batteries, and film. or charger and memory cards for those digtial people. SUNSCREEN Did I mention sunscreen? Oh yes i did, bring aftersun too.
This place was INCREDIBLE - San Lorenzo Market
I really didn't know what to put for the "appropriate type" for this, considering they had EVERYTHING at the market. Quite literally. Sunglasses, ties, scarves, aprons, artwork, ceramics, knock off purses, leather coats of every kind, little clothing shops on the outskirts, jewelry, shoes...the list goes on and on. Of all the shopping we did in Italy, I bought the most from San Lorenzo. Be sure you barter for a good price...all you really have to do is walk away, and they will lower their asking - they are fully aware that there is another stall down the street with virtually the same bag or jacket. I bought a Prada bag for about 35 euros, and it's a REALLY good knock off. In terms of sunglasses, it is technically illegal to buy from the "street" vendors [the ones that carry their stuff around with them], but truth be told, they really do have the best knock offs out there. Don't pay more than about 40-50 euros for a designer bag...ties are usually 3 for 6 euros, and I found that the sunglass vendors would not go lower than 10 euros a pair.
Coming into Florence...
I think the train is the best way to get into Florence. It is fast, cheap, and safe.
It is very inexpensive to get to Florence from Rome by train approx. 25-35 euros (depending on what train you take). There is a lot of room for your luggage on a rack above your seat. I took the biggest most possible suitcase, and i still didn't really have a problem with it. (The aisle ways on the train are very narrow, and there are pretty steep stairs to get on (especially with a suitcase). Also, it is very easy to access tickets to the trains, there are ticket booths all over the station.
My mouth still waters for it!
Trattoria Anita is rather small, located on a side street, but has the best food I found in all of Italy. The restaurant has that classic Italian ambience. The house wine is great, and cheap! The staff was always so friendly and really made us feel at home. The fact that all the waiters are cute doesn't hurt either! Pasta ai quattro formaggi. This is a simple pasta with a cheese sauce dish, but it is the most delicious meal in the world. I still crave it frequently!