This is a 10-day itinerary featuring the best of Tuscany. This trip includes the city of Florence, Siena, San Gimignano, and San Miniato al Monte.
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Europe10 days / October 2017
Highs & Lows
Dining in Siena while overlooking the Tuscan countryside
It was difficult to find gourmet food among the many tourist restaurants in Florence
In October 2017, I arrived in Florence as my first stop in a three week trip through Italy. One of my best friends had recently moved to the city and I had decided to visit her. The first seven days of my trip were spent exploring Florence’s cobblestone streets, unique architecture, and awe-inspiring art museums.
During the last three days of my trip, I decided to visit the Tuscan city of Siena, as well as the town of San Gimignano and monastery San Miniato al Monte. These day trips allowed me to see the beautiful Tuscan countryside and learn more about the region’s history.
Q & A
How was the food?
Unfortunately, many of the restaurants that are in central Florence are now targeted towards tourists and were not very good. My best meals were in Piazza Della Passera and Mercato di San Lorenzo. In general, I would say that Siena had a better overall quality of food within walking distance of its main square.
What tips would you give a friend?
I would recommend studying a map of Florence before your arrival. Once I understood the general orientation of the city it is much easier to find my way from one destination to the other. Since the cathedral is the highest point, I used it as a central marker to get my bearings.
Since many buildings in Florence and Tuscany do not use indoor heating until winter, I would recommend bringing warm clothes and pajamas if you are visiting in the fall. I found it best to dress in layers since the temperature fluctuated significantly depending on the time of day and amount of sun.
After flying into Italy, my initial plan was to take a connecting flight from Rome to Florence. However, due to an unexpected delay, I missed my connecting flight. Consequently, I opted to take the train to Florence that leaves directly from Rome’s airport. In retrospect, I should have taken a train anyway as it was less expensive and offered more departure times.
For Florence’s busiest attractions such as the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral and Uffizi Gallery, I highly recommend booking a ticket ahead of time through each attraction’s website. In Florence, I decided to stay in two different monasteries that were both located a short walk from the main square. Monasteries are a great accommodation option in Italy, as they are usually in a central location, quiet, affordable, and safe for solo female travelers. I booked my monastery stay through the website monasterystays.com.