The Market in Florence

Florence in summer is an entirely different kettle of fish when compared to Florence in winter.

It oozes the same rich history, beauty, and irresistible Italian chaos… but with added depth.

A layer of charm arrives with the heat that glows from the building and pavements. The sunshine glitters along the river and brings the ochre coloured houses to life.

The heavy warmth embraces you as soon as you arrive and doesn’t let go! The air is filled with the smell of herbs, grass, churches and Italian cooking.

It’s a deeply seductive place.

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As soon as we arrived and ditched our bags in the hotel, we were off again!

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Keen to get out, keen to explore, and keen to totally immerse ourselves in Italy.

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White off the shoulder dress {Sells out fast, try here and here. Fits a bit small, size up if you’re inbetween}

Striped version!

Lace up sandals // Sunnies

Prada tote

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We meandered, hand in hand, through the sandstone flanked streets.

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Marvelling at the scale of everything, and popping in and out of shops.

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I bought a whole bunch of local fruit from a jolly Italian mama, and we raced off to find a quite spot to tuck in.

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Wild strawberries always remind me of my grandma, Ma.

She would grow them and getting to sit on her knee and try the first berries of summer was the highest of honours. My grandpa, Ba, grew tomatoes and every time I smell a vine (tomatoes don’t smell, it’s only the vines that do) I think of him and smile.

Even though I was still so young, they’re memories that will last a lifetime.

If you’re lucky enough to still have grandparents in your life, give them a call, send them a letter. I wish I could.

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The streets of Florence are busier in summer. Tourists flock to the area, keen to see what all the fuss is about.

It all adds to the excited chaos of the place, the echoing noise of chatter and if you ignore the selfie sticks, gives you an idea of the busy streets of the past.

And if it all gets too much, there are pockets of peace all around.

You can sit and watch an artist create his temporary masterpieces on the pavement.

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Or tap your toes watching street performers.

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Always watched over by the beautiful Duomo.

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For at least one lunch during your time in Florence, you must visit Mercato Centrale.

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Two floors of food heaven.

Downstairs you can buy all the groceries your heart desires, and upstairs you’ll find the food hall positively bursting with restaurants and things to eat.

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Now, I know I told you that the restaurants are upstairs.

And that’s just what all the guide books and experts will tell you.

But hang on!

Downstairs is a true gem of a lunch spot and one you don’t want to miss.

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Nerbone is as old as the market itself.

It has been serving up simple, exquisite lunches since 1870.

Find it downstairs, ask around, and look for the queue! Full of chattering, laughing locals and the occasional apprehensive tourist, it snakes well past the counter and into the market beyond.

Don’t be put off, it moves quickly and it’s worth the wait.

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A beautifully simple kitchen churns out some of the best pasta and meat sauces in Florence.

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Ask the chap at the counter what’s good and he’ll tell you.

The meat sauce is the stuff dreams are made of. Choose to have it in a bowl, or in a glorious, sloppy sandwich.

Have a pasta dish to go with it, c’mon you’re in Italy!

And order a couple tumblers of chilled wine, you’ll need it. It’s hot as hell down there.

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Sharpen those elbows and try and grab a space at one of the long, marble tables.

It easily grabs a spot in my list of favourite meals of all time.

If you have a chance to go, go!

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Just outside and across the road, you’ll find Basillica Santa Maria Novella.

An exceptionally beautiful spot, that you’ll have almost entirely to yourselves!

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The tortoises you’ll spot supporting obelisks are heraldic symbols of Cosimo I, the first Grand Duke of Tuscany.
Keep an eye out and see how many you can spot here and there.

Oh and if you really want to play the game properly, head to Boboli Gardens for an extra special one.

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We cooled down with iced cappuccinos at Gilli.

And met Julia, Thomas and Zanita for gelato.

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We walked with gelato in hand and caught up on each other’s adventures.

True friends aren’t necessarily people you see every day. They’re the ones who when you do catch up, make you feel like not a moment has passed.

Those are tricky to find, but important to keep hold of once you do!

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J’s scalloped dress // Loafers // Sunnies

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More Italian adventures domani!

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