5 "Fav" Places To Hang in Florence...

Whether you're looking for a quiet place to grab an espresso, a freshly squeezed juice, or an aperitivo with a few friends, I may have found just the place for you!

My life has currently come full circle. I first did a semester abroad in Florence when I was 23. Yes, how cliche! Now, just a few months shy of my fortieth birthday, I find myself back here. How cliche again! Yes, my version of " Eat, Pray , Love!" Thank you Elizabeth Glibert. Hanging around in the extraordinary Renaissance capital of Italy known as Florence ( Firenze), seeing it through the lens of a "mature" woman as opposed to the naive 23 year old late bloomer I was back then, has given me a new perspective on this little, but picture-perfect post-card city.

1. Finisterrae in Santa Croce (Piazza di Santa Croce, 12)

Every day I wake up with the mere knowledge that I am breathing and alive. Depending on where I am going (often unknown) I turn towards the Dante statue in front of Santa Croce, at the elegant Finisterrae bar to grab my shot of espresso and cornetto with pistachio. There I am greeted with free wifi, friendly staff, and plenty of space for people watching while I indulge in some reading of the daily Italian news or so it seems...

2. Ghibellina Forno Pasticceria Bakery (Via Ghibellina 41/R angolo con Via De' Macci)

When headed in the opposite direction of Santa Croce, I am often greeted by the friendly owner Davide with crystal blue eyes and his beautiful wife. Along with their lovely bar staff, generously smiling, Ghibellina Forno is the perfect place for an espresso, a killer cappuccino, accompanied by a glass of water and a thoughtful conversation with Davide. Staff is always attentive, happy to serve your every whim! They also make some delicious salty treats.

3. Rivarno (Lungarno delle Grazie 12r)

There are two in the city, but my favourite location is the one with the little table and stool hugging the entrance of the doorway with a perfect view of the river, churches and castles on the other side. The quaint hidden seating area in the back which is open during the spring and summer offers a romantic setting for you and your significant other, or simply a solo encounter for you and the romantic inside of you who still writes postcards. Rivarno staff have become like a second family to me, making me feel at home with their southern Italian warmth and hospitality. Their freshly squeezed juices and healthy array of salads to choose from leave you refreshed and renewed to take your walk along the Arno river to the Ponte Vecchio bridge.

4. Le Murate Caffe Letterario Firenze (Piazza delle Murate)

Once a convent, then a prison, now a bit of everything, from holding artistic events, social functions, to modern residences. This entire complex boasts a spacious coffee shop, aperitivo hangout with a casual courtyard surrounded by chic converted apartments. It's a great setting for a casual date. Lorenzo, one of the lunch time staff members, as well as the rest of the staff, graciously take the time to chat with me. They have an affordable menu where you can get a primo, secondo and contorno! Not to mention, their choice of music and DJs are always varied and there is something for everyone to enjoy!

5. Mago Balducci Wine Bar (Via Guglielmo Marconi, 24/r)

This place is a hidden gem. Magical décor, as the name may suggest. Small , quaint, and super romantic place, offering benches on the outside to chat and mingle. Charming bar staff provide varied cocktails and wine, made with love and accompanied by an abundant buffet (aperi-cena).

These are just a few of my favourite places to hang out in Florence. There are many more, and I'm just getting started!