The expat lifestyle in Florence bursts with the same fascinating combination of antiquity and innovation that makes up the city’s soul. A once-provincial town with its roots firmly planted in history is now a bustling international destination with plenty to occupy the eyes and the minds of those who move there.

Shopping in Florence

a display of meats and cheeses in a storeFlorence is a shopping haven for locals and tourists alike, with stores and boutiques catering to various tastes and budgets. Those looking for haute couture should head to the shopping streets of Via Tornabuoni, Via Roma or Via della Spada, all of which house well-known fashion brands and luxury goods. 

Rinascente and Coin are two of the most popular department stores found in the heart of Florence. Expats wanting to get all their shopping done under one roof should head to I Gigli, a mall just outside of town. Those looking to get away from the crowds will find plenty of traditional artisans working in botteghe (workshops), where they create clothing, jewellery, accessories and art.

For groceries, expats will find typical outlets from big Italian supermarkets in Florence, and they can head to local markets such as Mercato Centrale and Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio for fresh seasonal produce. Many ethnic markets have also popped up around town for expats looking for something more exotic.

Entertainment in Florence

Carousel in Florentine amusement park at nightWith an incredibly rich cultural history, Florence is home to several remarkable 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. 

The city has a rich cultural life, and expats will find plenty to see and do in the form of theatres, cafés, bookshops and cinemas. There are also many lively events happening in and around town throughout the year.

Eating out in Florence

Florence is also home to some of the best Italian food, so expats should be sure to sample at least a few Tuscan delicacies and adapt to the role of food in Florence. For Florentines, socialising is centred on food. The morning starts with a coffee at the local espresso bar, where people discuss the weather, sports, current events and everything in between. Early in the evening, locals return to trendy cafés and bars for an aperitivo. While Tuscan-style cooking is naturally popular with the locals, many other cuisines are on offer, such as Japanese, Spanish, Brazilian, Chinese, Indian and Thai.

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 expats can become members of or watch one of Florence’s amateur football clubs. Those who prefer to exercise indoors will find several gyms, yoga studios and indoor swimming pools across Florence.

Family activities in Florence

a view of a hill with a castle on top of itThere’s plenty in Florence to keep children entertained all year round. The Oltrarno district, for example, is home to some choice family-friendly sites. Among these are the Boboli Gardens at Palazzo Pitti, which boasts lots of open space 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 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. Those looking for an escape can rest assured that there are several options to choose from when it comes to a weekend break from Florence.

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