That’s Amore! Love Florence, Love Food?Eat Italian for less by Alexandra Delf

Florence Cheap Eats

Florence is expensive at the best of times and if you are on a budget, eating out can be tricky so if you are looking for incredible traditional Italian food on a shoestring, here are some suggestions.

Traditional

Osteria il Buongustai
Via dei Cerchi, 15r, Florence, Italy ( close to piazza signoria)
055 291 304
Pastas from 5-6 Euros situated near Piazza Signoria, so great for when you are out and about in the centre and are looking for a fresh traditional meal.
Acasamia ( a casa mia ) , santa ambrogio area of Florence
ristorante, pizzeria, braceria | Via Pisana 165/r, Florence, Italy
+39 0557390449 | www.pizzaecarboneacasamia.it
Pizzas from 4 Euros, what more could you ask for? They also have a great array of pasta, grilled meats and home cooking at great budget prices in a central location!

Trattoria La Casalinga

Via dè Michelozzi, 9-red, 50125 Florence

055 218624 www.trattorialacasalinga.it

A favourite of the local Fiorentines, this restaurant has been going for many years.  I would recommend popping in at lunchtime as dinnertimes get hectic, especially on a weekend night, expect queues out of the door.

Aperitivo Anyone?

Aperitivo is a great time to grab a Mediterranean buffet style meal for the (only slightly inflated) price of a glass of wine, Spritz or whatever takes your fancy… Usually available through the late afternoon evening you can take advantage every evening! It also gives you the opportunity to try the ambience of some of the upmarket bars and restaurants in Florence at a seriously discounted rate.

Aperitivo at Kome

This great sushi restaurant is usually pretty pricey, however head here for aperitivo between 7-9 on Wednesday evenings and you can grab 2 glasses of wine with a plate of special sushi and Asian buffet for only €10!! Having personally given this a try last week, I would definitely recommend it, although you only receive a small plate of sushi, the buffet is abundant!

Kome -Via de’ Benci, 41/r Firenze  055 2008009

Aperitivo at Kitsch

Viale Gramsci 1r Firenze 055 234 3890

Describes itself as one of the most packed and vibrant aperitivo destinations in Florence! Check it out for yourself. Spend just 8 Euros between Aperitvo hours of 19.00-22.00 afterwards drink prices vary from 4-8 Euros.

Aperitivo at Pop Cafè Santo Spirito

Pop Cafè is situated in the ideal location of Santo Spirito where you can soak up the bustling evening atmosphere whilst enjoying a cocktail or glass of wine.  Aperitivo is available from 19.00-22.00 and often includes a live d-j set.  The food on offer ranges from currys and dahl to pizza and chips! Great place to watch life go by!

Fancy a quick snack, give these a try….

Apparently the best sandwiches in town…

Salumeria Verdi also known as Pinos
36/R, Via Verdi
055 244517

A favourite in the office, fresh fast and affordable with an amazing array of fresh meats, veg and cheese to choose from. You will not be disappointed!!

L’Antico Noè                      
6/R, Volta di San Piero
055 2340838

Amazing traditional hot paninis, grilled to perfection!

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Savvy Shopping in Florence – by Ségolène Guitton

Shopping in a large and well known European city is not the same as shopping in a big department store back at home so here are a few smart tips on shopping in Florence so that you can have the most enjoyable time:

1. Dress accordingly – when walking the city, you will quickly come to realise that the place is filled with tourists, and as street venders and merchants try to sell you whatever they have on them, make sure you come accross as a customer used to the Florentine way of shopping and not some tourist window shopping for pretty much anything because street venders see tourists as incapable of knowing the real value of things in florence (thanks to the change in currency) you can be sure that as soon as street venders spot you as a tourist that prices will suddenly go up

2. Check out prices from your home country – make sure you check the local going rate of items you are thinking of buying before you head to your destination, that way you will know whether you are getting an actual bargain by buying it abroad

3. Designer Boutiques have the same prices everywhere – if you are thinking of buying that amazing leather cross body bag from Prada, and thinking it has to be cheaper abroad then think again, designer boutiques in Florence and Milan hold the same prices as the boutiques they have in the rest of the world – the only place you  might get them at a cheaper price is at the airport in duty free shops

3. Bargain, bargain, bargain – as you are scanning through something to buy on the streets of Florence, bring out your best bargain game, you might be surprised at how much you can save

4. Shop around – if you are planning to purchase something that almost every little boutique in Florence is selling make sure to go to a couple of shops and checking the prices before you commit to one place in particular. This is because prices vary from place to place: for example the more inversely you are to a major tourist area, the more prices will drop

5. Always ask for a receipt – I know it may seem like tedious task but trust me you will be thankful for that receipt when you want to return that particular item, or  when you are trying to figure out how much you spent that day, and also because you might end up needing it for a TVA refund

6. Count your change – make sure the shopkeeper gave you back the right amount or even charged you the right amount, you never know

7. Know the opening times – opening hours of stores varies accross countries so make sure you figure out opening hours before you head anywhere essential such as the bank or the post office: large shops in central Florence usually remain open from 10am until 7.30pm with slightly shorter hours during the weekends, while smaller shops close at lunchtime usually between 1pm and 2.30pm-3.30pm (these shops are usually closed on sundays).

8. Beware of counterfeit goods – as you wander the streets of Florence, you are bound to come across street venders selling fake designer bags and sunglasses; these items can be remarkably convincing and the prices don’t hurt either (especially if you bargain), however, buying as much as selling them is against the law and if you get caught, you might face a hefty charge so beware!

9. Know the sales period – if you are on a hunt to save money and would still enjoy splurging on a few items maybe decide to come to Florence during its sales season: Florence has two sales periods, the first one is usually between mid-January and early February and the second one is between mid-July and August

That being said, have an amazing time shopping in Florence!

Shopping in Florence: A unique experience à la Florentine – by Ségolène Guitton

If you are from abroad and have never been shopping in a typical European city, be prepared for a different kind of shopping experience right here in Florence.

Shopping is a different adventure for everybody, but whether you are looking for high street clothing stores, high end brands, vintage, antiques or home furniture, Florence is the place to be.

If you are on a quest for the latest trends from the world of high fashion such as Gucci, Prada, or Ferragamo, you should head to the streets of Via Tornabuoni, Via della Vigna Nuova, and Via dei Calvaiuoli. These streets are filled with the latest fashions and haute couture collections from the biggest italian and international designers.

Yes, Florence does hold some of the everyday clothing stores we see all over the world such as H&M, Zara and all these other high street brands but as you walk through the city from famous monuments to little secluded streets you will find that Florence holds many little boutiques unknown to the world outside of the city. And as a total Fashion addict as myself, I think that is amazing, what better place than Florence to find this unique top or accessory that no one else will have when you get back home? If you are an individual with a distinguished sense of style, Florence is the place to be to find that one more unique touch to add to your look.

As you spend more and more time walking around Florence, you will come to realise that people were not lying, Italy is the birthplace of leather. I cannot describe how many shops I see every day filled with only leather goods, excellent quality leather goods for that matter. And while you may see many of these shops, make sure you take time to pop into some of them as you may be surprised with what you might find. Although leather goods can be found all over the city, make sure you check out the Santa Croche Leather Workshop: located in the cloister of the church of Santa Croche, this workshop is the most famous place to find leather items, ranging from bags to belts through bracelets all made in creatively natural shapes and textures.

Another thing that can make your shopping experience in the city that much more unique is the possibility to see craftsmen at work: the other day while I was wondering around Palazzo Pitti enjoying a nice walk in the sun, I came across this little hat boutique and while you walk around the shop admiring those beautiful handcrafted hats you cannot help but be distracted by that man in the back making those same hats surrounded by fabrics and drawings, something you rarely see in those big department stores back home.

While walking around Florence you might start to fill overwhelmed by the number of tourists and shops so here is a list of some of my must go places while out shopping:

Leather Goods

– Monaco Metropolitano (most commonly known as MM, this shop is home to a fantastic range of accessories all handcrafted and produced far from “the world of industrial mechanization”)                                                                                               – Santa Croche Leather Workshop

Jewellery

– Ponte Vecchio (if you love jewellery and are looking to purchase some high quality accessories, make sure to visit the gold sellers on the Ponte Vecchio – the place is filled with jewellery shops where you can find unique necklaces, earrings, bracelets, watches, rings and much more.)

Antiques

– If you are a lover of antiques, you should head towards Via Maggio (located close to the Palazzo Pitti) and Via de Fossi (located close to Sante Maria Novella).
I actually live on Via Maggio, and every day on my way back and forth from work I cannot help but stare at the amazing artworks and collectables they have on displays.

Haute Couture Fashion & High Street Fashion

– A large number of internationally high end designer stores can be found on the streets of Via Tornabuoni, Via della Vigna Nuova, and Via dei Calvaiuoli                                                                                                                                                                  – If you head towards Piazza della Repubblica, Via Calimala, and Via Por Santa Maria, you will find big international chain stores such as H&M and Zara as well as large Italian department stores such as Rinascente