Tips to Stay Healthy in Florence By Alycia Oliver

When the word Florence comes to mind what do you think of? My guess would be pasta, gelato, food, and more food. And no, food is not the only important thing in Italy there are many beautiful historical structures, yet when I came to Italy people were forewarning me not to be upset if I “gained a little weight”. Travellers want to enjoy their vacation and mindlessly eat without thinking of all the calories and carbs they are consuming. If you are studying and working abroad in Florence and are here for the long haul a 2-6 month “vacation” may not be acceptable. The following are a few guidelines to follow to ensure a healthy and happy lifestyle in Italy that you may usually maintain back at home.

Juice Bars

For those who have fresh fruit and vegetables in their morning routine, coming to Italy to only find pastries and breads in the morning will be a shock. To do worry- the fresh juice bars scattered around the town will save you. My personal favorite is called Love Life Juice Bar, located close to Santa Croce. Here you can select the fruit you like and they will blend it into a nice refreshing drink. You can also find salads, quinoa, yogurt and granola and many other healthy options to satisfy your needs.fruit-salad

Locate a Gym

If you are going to be in Italy for a longer period of time locating a gym at the beginning of your stay will be the most resourceful. Here they will provide workout classes as well as full access to a well-equipped gym. With a little research and a bit more cash you will also find a spa included with a gym membership. This includes steam rooms, saunas, and hot tubs. Don’t procrastinate, or else a membership may not be worth the amount of time you have left!

Running on treadmill

Feet First

Take advantage of all the walking you will be doing in Florence! Boycott taxi’s and buses if you can and use your two feet to get to all your destinations. Surely enough working elevators are hard to come by in Florence, so getting up and down from your apartment will be a workout on its own! Do yourself a favor and choose the activities that require exercise. Climb the 417 steps to the top of the Duomo as well as the Bell tower and hike to the top of the Michael Angelo Piazza to watch the sunset! You will be having fun while getting a work out at the same time.

Fresh, Fresh, Fresh.

The fresh farmers markets are the place to be. Italians cook with the freshest of fruits and vegetables keeping their bodies healthy and strong. Some restaurants even make their own pasta right there in the restaurant. Eliminating all the extra chemicals added to foods will make you feel better about what you are indulging on. check out a restaurants review, and do your research to find the freshest restaurants in Florence.

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Hydration is Key!

It is very important to remember to drink lots of water in Florence. With all the walking and the smothering heat you will start to feel ill without water. Water will give you energy, tide you over between meals and keep you feeling healthy. Although you do have to buy water in restaurants (at usually a hefty price) it is possible to find 1 euro very large bottles of water! Stock up while you can.

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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!

Gelato: A Love Story – By Zoe Eager

Having come to grips with the fact that they were going to have to roll me off the plane nearly on, I decided to dive headfirst into Italian cuisine and work off the consequences later. With this rationalization firmly under my belt, I took up the grueling task of taste-testing ice creams from pretty much every gelateria I came across, and compiling a list of the best ones for my adoring readers (both of them).

Some of these places have been raved about for years and are considered Florence ice cream superstars; Grom (via delle Oche) is one such place. Situated a convenient stones-throw from the Duomo and boasting an impressive list of accolades, Grom has the air of a cooly arrogant gelato celebrity, perfectly secure in its ability to secure customers without providing particularly welcoming service.

It’s damn good ice cream though, don’t get me wrong. They make it by hand every day and take great pride in using the freshest ingredients from around the world. It tends to be a bit softer than the average gelato – more like American soft seve, wheras most gelato has a moldable, almost claylike quality to it that I actually prefer – but their salted caramel and pistacio flavors are hard to beat in terms of taste.

My personal favorite gelatereia is actually only two streets away, also just off the Duomo. Mordilatte wins best in show hands down in my opinion, scoring high in terms of quality, choice, value, and, most importantly, taste. Mordilatte is actually one of their flavors, a marscapone-based sweet-cream flavor that has an unbelievably amazing texture – an absolute must try.

Carabè (via Ricasoli 60/r), a Sicilian gelateria, is situated on Via Ricasoli, between Piazza Annunziata and the Duomo; its pretty tiny and easy to miss, but worth finding for the outstanding granità – if you go (and I strongly recommend that you do), go for the almond flavor; it’ll knock the socks off your Magnum bar.

Gelateria dei Neri (via dei Neri — between the Uffizi and Santa Croce) and Gelateria San Trinità are tied for a win in the Most Exotic category, the former boasting flavors like soy and passionfruit, as well as anti-Italian, much scoffed-at sugar free gelato; the latter offers up the bizzarre but completely awesome fondente flavor, a dark-chocolate-and-sesame blend. Awesome ice cream for those with an adventurous palate, and totally worth the extra euro they charge.

More info and pics coming soon!