Thanks to its countless art museums, maze of cobbled streets, and wealth of great foodie experiences to be had, Florence (or Firenze as it is so-known in Italian) is one of the most popular cities in Europe. But, of course, a visit to the Renaissance city is not always possible, and sometimes a virtual visit is all you can manage. As such, here’s a complete guide for how to recreate the Florence experience at home.
Scroll through gorgeous photo feeds
In times when I can’t travel but am still looking for inspiration, looking at gorgeous photographs is a surefire way to spend an enjoyable half hour. Thanks to the world wide web, there’s simply no shortage of fantastic photos to enjoy.
From Instagram feeds to Pinterest inspiration, I’ll list a few of my personal favourites here (though this is, of course, not an exhaustive list!) @girlinflorence is one of the best-known Florence bloggers and her feed is filled with her adventures in Firenze and beyond.
For those who prefer appetising foodie photography as opposed to architectural shots, then @curiousappetite serves up a continuous spread of food-based photographs from Florence and wherever else her Wanderlust takes her. Another food blogger who’s based in Florence and showcases some of the most beautiful food photography I’ve ever seen is @emikodavies.
Cook up a traditional Tuscan recipe
If you know one thing about Italy, then it’s likely that the cuisine is simply fantastic. From fantastic carb-filled dishes to sumptuous cocktails to a coffee culture like no other, there’s no shortage of mouthwatering delights when it comes to Italy.
Each region of the country have different recipes and Tuscany is no different. One of the best ways to experience Florence at home is to cook yourself up some Firenze-inspired dishes. Some easy to cook at home meals include Panzanella (a kind of bread salad), Ribollita (a warming bean-based soup), and Pappa al pomodoro (a delicious bread and tomato concoction).
Pick up a good Florence-based read
One of the easiest ways to truly escape from the hustle and bustle of every day life is to delve deep into the pages of a good book. I always find that a good fix for Wanderlust is to pick up a nice travel memoir or fictional novel set against the backdrop of one of my favourite cities.
Of course, when it comes to Florence, there’s no shortage of beautiful and fantastic books to read. Whether you’re in search of a non-fiction guide to Renaissance Italy or a hard-to-put-down thriller, there’s something for every kind of reader when it comes to Firenze-based books.
Some top recommendations include The Agony and the Ecstasy (a fictional biography about Michelangelo), The Divine Comedy (Dante’s 14th-century poem is still well worth a read to this day), and A room with a view (the classic English novel is set against the backdrop of none other than the stunning city of Florence).
Indulge in a delicious at-home wine tasting
Of course, just at just a short day trip away from Firenze, you can easily visit Chianti, a region of the boot-shaped country which is famed for its endless vineyards, wine estates, and rich red tipple. Though a visit to the area of Chianti is not always possible, that doesn’t stop you from indulging in a wine tasting at home!
Chianti wines are fairly popular and can be purchased in many parts of the world. A bottle can be as affordable as $10, though more sought after reds can go upwards of $50. Whatever your budget, organise a wine tasting over video call with your friends for an evening you won’t soon forget.
Make a (Firenze) movie night of it
If your attention span is as limited as mine these days, then you’ll likely be finding it hard to concentrate on anything longer than a short form article. As such, one of the greatest ways of escape is via the screen, particularly in binge-able short episodes in the form of series.
Of course, the ultimate series set in Florence is that of Medici (find the listing on Netflix here). Set against the backdrop of medieval Europe, the Italian-British television drama series follows the powerful Medici family over the course of three series.
Alternatively, forget boring comedies or watching your favourite drama show on repeat and instead indulge in a beautiful film set in Florence. Some of the top movies you’ll love watching during your next movie night in include Where Angels Fear to Tread and A Room with a View (one of the most aesthetically pleasing films set in Florence out there).
Brush up on your Italian language skills
If there’s one hobby we could all do with taking up, it’s learning a new language! There are plenty of resources online, as well as the opportunity to do language exchanges with native speakers via video call and telephone chats.
If you truly want to master a new language and don’t live in that language, then some of my top tips are as follows; be sure to practice every day (even if it’s just for ten minutes, you surely won’t regret it), immerse yourself in the language via TV programmes and music.
After all, right now is as good as time as any to take up that new language you’ve been meaning to learn for a while. To help get you started, here’s a quick guide to some beautiful Italian phrases which you’ll find ever-so-useful the next time you venture to Italy!
Visit Florence virtually
While there’s currently no true substitution to visiting Florence in Italy in real life, virtual tours are the next best thing! Luckily, we live in an age of the internet and many virtual tours and visits are a mere click away.
For example, this site showcases various angles of the Florence Duomo. Next, you can explore the sites and artefacts (as well as learn about the fascinating history of the museum) thanks to this virtual tour of the Ufizzi Gallery. Finally, check here for a 360 degree view of the Ponte Vecchio (together with plenty of tourists!)
Window shop for future trips to Florence
Last but not least, while no one knows how far away travel may be, it’s always a fun experience to dream about bucket list destinations and future dream trips. I love using Pinterest and find that it’s an endless stream of gorgeous imagery and Wanderlust inspiration.
You can check out my Pinterest account here. Otherwise, there are many guidebooks you can purchase, including a variety of off the beaten path and secret selections. Alternatively, if you want to start looking for some off the beaten path recommendations for your next time in Florence, check out this guide to secret Florence.