A Postcard Perfect Visit to Florence

Our very personal tour of Florence, Italy through the eyes of our son Nick.

This particular trip to Florence was actually a personal tour given to us by our son Nick who was studying abroad. It was a perfect time for Craig and I to travel to Italy and just enjoy the glorious city from a local’s perspective. Florence’s historic center is relatively small, and easily walkable. It seems that nearly every church and every building contains historic art and important architectural elements.

It was so heartwarming to have Nick take us to his special local spots and to hear stories about his experience in Florence. He shared what he enjoyed, where he hung out and where he especially liked to go. Fortunately, we had been to Florence several times before, so we did not need to take in the numerous iconic sights as a first time visitor would plan to do.

We stayed in a charming hotel located directly on the  edge of the Arno River, the luxurious Hotel Lungarno. A small, lovely, quiet hotel with views to take your breath away.

A visit to Florence - The view from Hotel Lungarno

The view from Lungarno’s La Terraza Bar and just steps away from the Ponte Vecchio.

A cafe latte on our visit to Florence

 My morning latte…ahh…

Spinach and tomato omelet at the Hotel Lungarno

 Breakfast~Spinach, tomato and mushroom omelet.

Hotel Lungarno, Florence

 Hotel Lungarno Lobby and Bar

A view of Florence from the Hotel Lungarno Lobby Bar

 Another postcard view from the hotel


The Duomo on our visit to FlorenceFlorence’s Cathedral, the Duomo ~The grand cathedral stands tall over the city with it’s magnificent Renaissance dome designed by Filippo Brunelleschi.

Piazza Dell Signoria - FlorencePiazza della Signoria

Palazzo Vecchio - Florence

Palazzo Vecchio ~The town hall of Florence with a replica of Michelangelo’s David standing in front.

The Interior Garden of the Santa Croce Basilica.

The Interior Garden of the Santa Croce Basilica.

Baccio Bandinelli in the gardens of Santa Croce

Baccio Bandinelli in the gardens of Santa Croce~ in the rain.

Deli sandwiches in Florence

All’Antico Vinaio (Near Santa Croce)

We stood in line in the pouring rain for these fresh Italian deli sandwiches, stacked high with meat and made on warm, rosemary focaccia rolls. I can smell them now, they were out of this world.


 Craig and Nick between rain showers

A scoop of gelato on our visit to Florence

Delicious gelato from Santa Trinita Gelateria located near Il Ponte Santa Trinita


 A memorable moment indeed


The very old and magnificent entry door to my son’s apartment building on Via Di San Niccolò -It was not a fancy apartment, it just looked the part.


 A glass of wine in the lobby at the end of the day.


 Dinner at a neighborhood trattoria


 The restaurant placed special cuts of meat in a refrigerated glass case at the front door- that was a unique sight.


Caprese Salad


 Roasted Chicken and Potatoes


 Rigatoni Bolognese

Ponte Vecchio - Florence Italy

I must have taken fifty photos of the Ponte Vecchio in different types of light at different times of day.The Ponte Vecchio or “Old Bridge” was rebuilt in 1345 after a flood. Initially it was the only bridge that connected the city from both sides of the river.



Our obligatory selfie – a happy time on a memorable trip.


This post is the second in our new “Postcard Perfect” Series. You can find the first one here: A Postcard Perfect Afternoon in San Francisco.


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40 thoughts on “A Postcard Perfect Visit to Florence”

  1. Sounds like such a wonderful visit to that very wonderful city! Last time we were there, we also stopped at Santa Trinita Gelateria. What a neat place it is and right near the Arno~

  2. Oh what a wonderful experience to have a trusted insider show you around this beautiful city. We are fortunate when we can share our travels with our kids, but even more so when they can show us a glimpse of what will impact them in a lifelong way. This is a special memory you will always treasure.

    • Betsy:It was so incredible to watch Nick mature before our eyes. Living in Europe on his own (at school) so far away from home was an extraordinary and proud moment for us!

  3. I really enjoyed your photos of Florence. What a great location and view from your hotel! It’s always nice to have an insider show you their local haunts, and must have been wonderful with your son as tour guide.

    • Thank you Paula – It sounds like you really know your gelato! I wish I could find a place here that was as good as Italy.

    • Thank you Patti- it was especially thrilling to see where he was living and to understand what it was like for him.

  4. Hi Suzanne, Craig, and Nick,

    I simply can’t think of a better place to spend a family vacation. Charming, authentic, and chock full of beauty. I love the look of your hotel, also — definitely not stuffy.

    So glad you had that special time with your son!


    • Thank you Yasha! It is truly one of the greatest cities in the world to me! I love that it is small enough you can walk everywhere!

  5. The article was lovely, Suzanne, you captured the old world quaintness of Florence in your pictures. It must have been a real treat to tour the city through your son Nick’s eyes.

  6. It makes sense that the offspring of a travel writer will give a good tour. My own daughter did the same for me when we visited her in Chile during her junior year abroad. It was so much fun just sitting back and letting her lead us around, translate, and suggest foods.

    • Carole – You are absolutely correct! It was fun to hear Nick speak Italian like it was no big deal! We just let him lead the way while we were visiting.

  7. What a treat to have your son as the tour guide on your visit to Florence. I love the architecture and all the food looks so delicious! Thanks for sharing Florence with us!

  8. Oh my this was painful to read before breakfast…now I’m REALLY hungry! So many delicious tastes and sights of one of our favorite cities, which we’ve enjoyed with both our children and grandchildren. Thanks!

  9. I can see what drew you to the Ponte Vecchio and why you took several photos at different times of the day to try to capture its ancient beauty. The sky and clouds are gorgeous and Florence looks like an amazing city to explore for days and even weeks. We can’t wait to see it for ourselves.

    • Anita: There are so many wonderful places in the world to visit and enjoy. Of all of the cities of Europe, Florence possesses a charm like no other. It is also quite small, so the traveling is easy and you can see so much! Thank you for reading.

    • Doreen – I hope you make it back to Italy – Pisa is a cute little town, but does not hold a candle to Florence. The food is fantastic!


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