Lifestyle and Shopping in Florence
The expat lifestyle in Florence bursts with the same careful combination of antiquity and innovation that makes up the soul of the city. A once-provincial town, with its roots firmly planted in history, is now a bustling international destination with plenty to occupy the eyes and minds of those who move there.
To some, the pace in Florence might appear slow, but change is always in the air. Most people are attracted to the strong creative energy that still lingers in the streets; left over from the force that gave birth to the Renaissance.
The city has a rich cultural life along with a continual string of similarly inspired events happening in and around town. Apart from the well-known museums, churches, monuments and piazzas, expats will find plenty to see and do in the form of modern art galleries, parks, cafés, bookshops and cinemas. An expat’s lifestyle will quickly buzz with scheduled exhibitions, performances and an evolving culinary culture.
For Florentines, socializing starts in the morning with a coffee at the local bar, where people discuss weather, sports, current events and everything in between. Early in the evening, locals return to trendy cafés and bars for an aperitivo. They enjoy and appreciate their Tuscan cooking along with many other cuisines, such as Japanese, Spanish, Brazilian, Chinese, Indian and Thai.
It's difficult not to become absorbed into the art of eating well, and for expats who enjoy mealtime preparation, two open markets sell fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, cheese, pasta and bread: Mercato Centrale and Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio. Many ethnic markets have popped up around town for expats looking for something more exotic.
Shopping in Florence
Florence is shopping haven for locals and tourists alike, with stores and boutiques that cater to a variety of tastes and budgets. Those looking for haute couture should head to Via Tornabuoni, Via Roma or Via della Spada, all of which house well-known fashion designers and luxury goods.
Rinascente and Coin are two of the most popular department stores found in the heart of Florence. And expats wanting to do all their shopping under one roof should head to I Gigli, a mall just outside of town. Those looking to get away from the crowds will find lots of traditional artisans working in botteghe (workshops) where they create clothing, jewellery, accessories and art.
For groceries, expats will find all the big Italian supermarkets such as Unicoop, Conad City, Il Centro and Billa in Florence, and they can head to local markets for fresh, seasonal organic produce.
Arts and culture in Florence
With an incredibly rich cultural history, Florence is home to a number of well-known museums, including the Bargello Museum, Museo dell’Opera del Duomo and Museo di San Marco. There are also plenty of churches, monuments and piazzas, as well as modern art galleries such as Galleria dell’Accademia and the Uffizi Gallery.
Eating out in Florence
Florence is home to some of the best Italian food, so expats should be sure to sample at least a few Tuscan delicacies. There are restaurants to suit all budgets and expats will also find a good range of eateries serving international cuisines.
Sports and outdoor activities in Florence
Expats will find that keeping fit is a priority for many residents, and lots of runners and cyclists take to the paths of Florence's parks. Football is the city’s favourite sport and not only can expats watch a game, they can also join in the action by becoming a member of one of its amateur clubs.
Those that prefer to do exercise indoors will find that there are a number of gyms, yoga studios and indoor swimming pools across Florence.
Family activities in Florence
There’s plenty in Florence to keep children entertained all year round. The Oltrarno district, for example, is home to some great family-friendly sites. Among these are the Boboli Gardens at Palazzo Pitti, which boast lots of open spaces for children to explore while their folks enjoy a picnic in a picturesque setting.
Kids can learn all about the city’s fascinating history through the insightful, age-appropriate exhibits at Florence’s Children’s Museum at Palazzo Vecchio, while the Palazzo Strozzi Museum offers educational displays in English as well as Italian.
In a city known for its food, there are plenty of great ice cream spots, so be sure to treat the little ones to a gelato after a fun-filled day out.