Give yourself at least five...
Give yourself at least five days here. Especially if you have any interest in art history. Take your time, and make an itinerary. There is a tremendous amount of things to see. The Churches of Florence are the most beautiful. Each has it's own individual charachter.
Cultural tips & Comments?
For cultural tips on Italy please refer to my Rome homepage, where I extensively speak about this topic..... being among Italians might change a little bit from one city/region to the other, but in general it's pretty much the same and I've always enjoyed it no matter where I've been!
The Campo, the huge main plaza...
The Campo, the huge main plaza in Siena is the site of the annual Pialo, the famous houserace through the center of the city. Siena is a lovely city and a great day trip from Florence but sadly can be badly crowded with tourists at mid-day. Perhaps it would be better to spend a couple of nights here and stroll around in the evening.
Bus from the Airport
I've taken both cabs and buses to get between the airport and Florence city center. Cabs are of course the most convenient option but will cost btw 20 and 30 Euros. The bus on the other hand was also surprisingly easy and cost only 4 Euros. It goes from the airport to the Florence train station (which is in the center of the city). The only drawback is if your hotel is far from the train station you may need to catch a cab from there. Trucking luggage down some of the city streets (especially the narrow cobblestone ones) could be difficult.
Best meal of my life - no exaggeration!
Ok, this place knocked my socks off. I have never, ever had a better dinner in my whole life. After four years in Houston, Texas (a fabulous town to eat in, I will say) this says A LOT.
Tucked on a small street, Via Trebbio, the Trattoria Trebbio has a nice mix of locals and tourists in a homey - but not cute - atmosphere. This is the perfect place to unwind for three hours eating a wonderful, languid meal and sipping wine until 11pm. We were lucky enough to stumble upon this place as it was quite close to our guesthouse (see my accomdations tip) Really, EVERYTHING we order was good. In particular, I was very impressed with the Caprese (fresh mozzarella and tomatoes) - which I usually find pretty bland. But at this restaurant you eat it and go "oh man! that's what this is supposed to taste like!"
The Crepe Florentine is also delicious, as is a veal dish with artichoke (I can't remember the exact name.)
The beef with rosemary and tortella with ragu was also good.