This Travel Writer’s Guide To Florence focuses not only on a guide to travel but specifically with the needs of a writer in mind. A traveling writer needs to know the history, where to find inspiration, a great place to write, and a great place to lay their head. That way all you’re energy can funnel into creating!
Florence was founded in the 1st century BCE. During the 14th–16th century, Florence achieved prominence in commerce, education, and especially the arts.
At this time, many Italian thinkers declared that they were living in a new age. They decided that the barbaric and unenlightened “Middle Ages” were over and that the new age would be a rebirth of learning and literature, art, and culture. This rebirth is now called the Renaissance. Fifteenth-century Florence was the home of the Renaissance and the birthplace of our modern world.
As the home of the Renaissance, Florence remains alive with creativity. As if the spirit of the Renaissance seeped into the stone streets and buildings, you can still feel its presence to this day.
Some of Florence is sprinkled with upscale shopping and dining, it still retains an untouched charm from centuries ago.
While the city itself is enough to inspire any writer, here are a few locations that are specifically inspiring:
Dante Alighieri was instrumental in establishing the literature of Italy. His depictions of Hell, Purgatory and Heaven provided inspiration for the larger body of Western art and literature. If you are curious about getting a feel of the times when Dante was alive, then you will want to start at this museum dedicated to his childhood home.
The St. Margaret church, dating as far back as 1032. They call this Dante’s church because this is where his family attended and where he officialized his arranged marriage
3. La Terrazza
Although not a historical landmark, this rooftop provides an incredible vantage point to overlook the rooftops and bridges of Florence. Make sure to visit just before sunset for an even more spectacular view.
Up the long stairs and past the Giardino delle Rose, you will find another enchanting staircase and church, lined with cypress trees. In front and behind the church lay this hauntingly beautiful cemetery. You are even permitted to enter the church and its basement lit with candelabras.
On the way back from the church and cemetery, you may notice a doorway that appears to be leading into a store from Hogwarts. Without ruining the fun, we’ll let you explore it on your own!
Aside from all of the inspiring places to explore and unwind in Florence, here is a list of places to bring along your laptop or notebook.
Just past the cafes, this vast garden is located up a hill on the outskirts of the city of Florence. A place where you can spend the day writing on a bench, overlooking the city.
Central library founded in the 18th century, with access & guided tours. A perfect indoor space for writing, surrounded by literature.
In this laidback courtyard, you can write while enjoying food and drink. The most interesting part of this location is that it was formerly a jail.
This co-working cafe provides indoor and outdoor seating, wifi, printer and scanner, plugs, and of course, fresh food, coffee, and pastries. You can buy an hour, a day, a week, or a month.
This vegetarian cafe also serves as an amazing place to read and write, with contemporary design and walls lined with books.
These public gardens were laid out in the 15th–16th centuries, with Renaissance statues & ornate fountains. A picturesque location to draw inspiration from.
Where to stay: There are many different neighborhoods to stay in Florence, however, some are a bit nicer than others.
Centro Storico is always a great choice if you want to be close to all of the sights and cafes. It is also one of the most aesthetic places to stay, as it is home to all of the upscale shops (without losing any of the old-world charms).
Next to the historic center is Santa Croce with a lively local market and large piazza in front of the iconic church.
Another good choice is Oltrano and Santo Spirito which is close to the Arno river with a piazza surrounded by cafes and wine bars.
San Niccolò is known for artisan workshops, a thriving restaurant scene, and magnificent views of the city.
If you’re on a budget then you may consider Santa Maria Novella. It is convenient however lacks charm unless you choose your accommodation wisely.
We highly recommend this Airbnb, located in Centro Storico. The location is fantastic, and the decor has immense character while also feeling brand new.
Getting there: The easiest way to get to Florence is by train from any of the neighboring cities. While uber is not available, there are taxis that you can find outside of the train station.
While you’re in the city, there will be no need to have a car. Almost everything is within walking distance. Or you can use one of the many electric scooters found around the city.
When to go: You will want to avoid the very end of summer when Florence becomes very hot. However, this is when most of Italy flees the cities and heads to the seaside so it can be a bit less crowded.
If you’re looking to avoid the crowds, but you don’t mind chilly winter then you can go from October to April. However, the peak time for Florence is May through September. Earlier in the season however will be less crowded.