Florence first thing in the morning is as delicious as a cappuccino and cornetto.
Early risers are in for an absolute treat. Watching Florence stir and stretch at dawn is a pleasure to revel in at least once in your life. If you’re lucky to be staying in accommodation with an Arno-side view, then you can see the changing shades of the cityscape from the comfort of your hotel room. Otherwise follow our tips to see a different Florence, free from tourists and full of bona fide city life.
Skip the queues
The earlybird catches the worm or, in plain English, morning people go to the front of the museum queues. If you’re only in Florence for a few days, don’t let your lasting memory be of the three hours you spent in the line for the Uffizi. Tour company Ciao Florence offers exclusive morning opportunities to visit the Uffizi and the Vasari Corridor, allowing you to avoid queues, and even enjoy Italian-style breakfast at the Uffizi Cafe with its breathtaking views of the city.
Walk the city
When the summer heat is on and the humidity is starting to get you down, the best time to see Florence is at sunrise. Stroll out of the centre and visit residential neighbourhoods with their own village vibe, such as Campo di Marte and Gavinana. Or do the Lungarno Loop, walking under the arches of the Vasari Corridor, along lungarno Acciaiuoli and lungarno Corsini, crossing Ponte alla Carraia bridge and walking along the Oltrarno embankments.
The markets of Florence will get you out of bed in the morning if nothing else will. A riot of colour and smells, of shouting and vibrancy, our favourites are the ground floor of Mercato Centrale and Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio. Take a tour to discover these gastronomic gems to taste Chianti wine, learn about seasonal fruit and vegetables as well food and wine curiosities, such as the “buchette del vino”, holes in the walls of Florentine palaces through which wine used to be sold.
Breakfast like a local
Observing Florentines at colazione is unique insight into local life. Head to local favourites like Robiglio (via dei Tosinghi 11R) or Bar Galli (Via dei Banchi 14 – The Florentine’s local) and order a cappuccino and cornetto. Enjoy it standing at the counter, Italian style, or sit down but pay more for the privilege. The bar is not just a place to eat and drink; it’s very much the nucleus of the local neighbourhood and community. Find out more about how to navigate at an Italian café here.