stay at: We got a great deal on a room at Hotel Isabella and the centrally located boutique hotel completed delighted us during our 3 nights there. The hotel is impeccably decorated and the service level of the staff is on par with a 5-star resort - plus the breakfast included with the room is actually a tasty spread rather than the normal sad fruit and yogurt bar you might expect.
grab lunch at: After settling in, hop across the street to Procacci for a glass of wine and mini sandwiches. Procacci usually has about 6 or 7 different types of two-bite sandwiches for about $1.50 a piece (don't miss the black truffle one!).
take a tour at: Talk a short walk through the winding cobble-stoned streets over to Basilica Santa Maria Novella where you can tour the centuries old church. Afterwards, walk around the corner to the Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella which is the pharmacy of the monastery- you can wander through various rooms browsing their selection of perfumes, beauty products, tea, liqueur, and old-school health remedies dating back to the 1600s. I picked up a bottle of this perfume.
grab an afternoon snack at: You will need to have gelato as much as humanly possible while in Italy and the hand-made gelato from Il Carraia Gelataria blew my mind- definitely try the caramel flavor!
go shopping at: Wander your way back through the city until you reach the street Lungarno Degli Accaiuoli which runs along the river. On this street are a handful of artisanal paper shops and leather goods boutiques.
grab cocktails at: After freshening up for a night out, head over to Fusion Bar for some pre-dinner cocktails- I highly recommend their Negroni as Florence is the birthplace of this classic drink.
get dinner at: You absolutely must book yourself a table at Il Santo Bevitore and come hungry! Chris and I dined here on our first night in Florence, we loved it so much that we debated coming back the next night in order to sample more of their menu!
go dancing at: Rivalta Bar is a newly opened restaurant that also has what they refer to as an "american dj set" after hours- it's a great place to grab a nightcap, have a drink and people watch.
get breakfast at: On your way out grab breakfast or weekend brunch at Il Rifrullo.