One of the best things to do when visiting a city for the first time is to take a walking tour. Do this within the first day or two of your trip because you’ll learn so much about the history and culture of the town. You’ll be able to appreciate everything a little bit more when you understand the background of what you’re looking at. Plus, when you take a tour you can get some great food recommendations from your local tour guide. My favorite type of walking tour is a food tour, so we of course had to do some sort of food tour in Florence.
When visiting Florence, we signed up for the Truffle Lovers Tour by Slow Tours Tuscany, and we got so much out of it, we can’t recommend this tour enough. Our tour started with a walking tour of the city, then a tour of the Mercato Centrale (the food market), and ended with an exclusive truffle tasting at a local restaurant.
Tour of the City
Our tour guide was amazing. Ivano was so knowledgeable and passionate about the city of Florence. He took us to the Piazza della Signoria, and explained to us some of the nuances of the sculptures in the Loggia (the open air sculpture gallery next to the Palazzo). He pointed out things to us that we honestly wouldn’t have noticed ourselves! Don’t worry, I won’t spoil his fun facts, but know that I truly got a lot out of his tour.
He took us to the Duomo and explained to us the history of the exterior of the cathedral, the bell tower, and the baptistry. Then, we ventured over to the Piazza della Repubblica, where he showed us pictures of the square back when it was the city’s Forum. We walked past the Mercato Nuovo and the Porcellino, through Via de’ Tornabuoni, to the Antinori wine bar and Procacci, a truffle wine bar. It should be noted that after the tour, we went back to the Antinori wine bar for a quick tasting (thanks for the rec, Ivano)!
Tour of the Market
After our tour of the city center, we quickly passed through the Mercato San Lorenzo, which is an outdoor market filled with art, souvenirs, fashion accessories, and leather goods. We went into the Mercato Centrale, which is Florence’s big food market, and this was awesome! We tried food we otherwise wouldn’t have tried without Ivano’s recommendation. As I mentioned in this post, you have to try a sandwich from Da Nerbone, which has been there since the 1800s! We also tried some of the best canolli ever in the food hall upstairs. We went back the next day to get more canolli and an arancino from the same stand (it’s a little food cart in the corner named Ara).
Taste of Truffles
We ended our truffle tour at Degustaria Italiana, which is such a cute little restaurant that has rave reviews and a Wine Spectator awarded wine list. We had a three course truffle tasting and a glass of Chianti Riserva. Our first course was a truffle infused meat and cheese board with truffle infused mortadella, cheese, and a creamy-mousse cheese. The second course was a vertical tasting of three Parmigiano Reggiano with three different ages. Our final course was fresh white truffle pasta. It was divine!
Overall, I highly recommend this tour because you learn so much about the city of Florence while also tasting some amazing food. Buon Appetito!