"If you don't have the time to travel, create a career that gives you more freedom…until then, take a 12-hour vacation."

Florence, Italy is a sightseeing mecca filled with picturesque churches, bountiful markets, authentic restaurants and so much more. It can be a bit overwhelming, but you'll be surprised how much you can fit into 12 hours. Make sure you wear your comfy walking shoes, you'll be doing a lot of it!

SOMETHING SWEET  9:00am
There are plenty of pasticceria's to choose from for your morning caffe, but I Dolci Di Patrizio Cosi has an amazing pastry case filled with delectable treats! Try the Millefoglie Glassato Al Pistacchio (1,10 Euro) and, of course, a cappuccino (1,20 Euros). You can have your beverage standing at the counter (Italian-style) or seated at the nearby tables.
Borgo degli Albizi 15/r, 50122 Florence, Italy, +39 055 24.80.367

 

HAGGLE AT A FAMOUS MARKET  11:00am
San Lorenzo Market is one of the largest open-air markets and worth a visit. At first glance, it seems more like a glorified flea market; tons of booths selling much of the same items. But, delving deeper reveals an abundance of leather goods, scarves and clothing, all with reasonable pricing. But, be prepared to haggle for a bargain and for the shop owners to pester you for your business.  
Via del canto de Nelli, Florence, Italy

 

GASTRONOMIC BROWSING & NOSHING  2:00pm
If you are anything of a foodie, don't miss a visit to Mercato Centrale, a huge indoor produce and meat market. Immediately upon entering the double-doors you'll be struck by the openly hanging prosciuttos, salamis and cured meats. Enjoy samples of Wild Boar salami, nosh on freshly baked focaccia (2,30 Euros) or just browse the incredible food booths.
Via dell'Ariento, Florence, Italy

 

EXERCISE WITH A VIEW  4:00pm
After loading up on carbs and salumi, climb the 462 stairs to the top of the Duomo (8,00 Euros), the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiori. The view from the top of the Duomo was simply…stunning, worth every painful step. The interior of the cathedral is just as spectacular as the exterior with artistic features throughout. You are also able to light a candle in remembrance of someone special. (Cost: free to view the interior of the Duomo, 1,00 Euro to light the candle).
Piazza del Duomo, Florence, Italy

 

GOOD LUCK WISHES 5:30pm
Get some good luck at Mercato Nuovo by rubbing the nose of the famous Fontana del Porcellino. The bronze wild boar statue was cast in the 17th century by Pietro Tacca which is a replica of the original located in the Uffizi Musuem. His nose is now really shiny from all the wishful rubs it has gotten.
Via Calimanala, Mercato Nuovo, Florence, Italy

 

HAPPY HOUR ITALIAN-STYLE 6:30PM
Catch happy hour before heading off to dinner at the Enoteca Wine Bar, Note Di Vino. The walls are lined with oils, vinegars and wines for sale. Try the Chianti Classico (5,00 Euro) and nibble on the complimentary crostini. We munched on the Vegetable, Garlic Oil and Classic Tomato toasts for free! 
Borgo dei Greci, 4/6r. Firenze, Italia, Tel 055.21.87.50  

 

TRENDY DINING 8:00PM
There is no shortage of Italian restaurants in Florence, but Il Santo Bevitore is amongst the trendier, yet it was still quaint and reasonably priced. The staff is young, hip and charming. The menu is completely in English, even though there were mostly Italians dining there. Try the Assaggio 3 Formaggi (7,50 Euros) which is served with a pear & mustard jam, Risotto Mantecato with Quail (9,00 Euros), Pappardelle with Wild Boar (10,00 Euros) and the Pear Spinach Salad (5,00 Euros).
Via Santo Spirito 66 r, Firenze, Itayl, Tel +39 055 211264

Read about my 10-day trip to Northern Italy Here