1. See all those heels you packed in your suitcase? Laugh at yourself and unpack them all. Two words: COBBLESTONE STREETS.
2. You’re a girl saying this chick is crazy there is no way I am not bringing any heels to Europe. Re-read number 1.
3. Befriend a vendor from the leather market. My guy’s name was Aziz. He’s the best always took me to the best vendors for the cheapest price and would haggle down the prices for me. We even had a super secret handshake. Be jealous.
4. Befriend any and all food vendors. Stop in and say hello to them. Eventually this turns into free food.
5. Don’t randomly hop onto a Vespa even though you think it will make for a good story at the time.
6. If you’re in Florence find Dante’s restaurant. He is a champion.
7. When traveling only bring the pair of shoes that are on your feet.
8. Consider couchsurfing. It’s fun, easy, and super cheap. And now I have friends from all over the world, which is pretty nifty. Just be sure to be safe!
9. Don’t shop at the grocery stores, go to the markets.
10. If you want to stick in your routine and just meet a bunch of Americans Santa Croce is the place for you. Wanna meet more locals? Check out Santo Spirito across the river. Feeling like getting out of you comfort zone? Head to Sant’ambrogio. It was my favorite place, but definitely intimidating. Don’t be afraid to approach Italians and start up a conversation.
11. Go to Pino’s for a 3.50 euro panini
12. At night hang out on the steps of the churches. You’ll meet a lot of people who like to talk.
13. Don’t walk in large groups of Americans.
14. Aperitivo all the time.
15. Piazza Michelangelo is definitely worth seeing more than once.
16. Gusta pizza on the other side of the river. Do it.
17. I survived my entire trip in chucks, toms, and boots. Granted my feet are in really rough shape, but they did the job.
18. Don’t expect to work out outside here and not look like a total alien.
19. I discovered two different secret bakeries. One behind Red Garter. Then one really close to Santa Croce open from 1AM-4:30 AM. Their names are Filipe and Sean Carlo. The employees don’t speak any English, so be ready to practice your Italian. befriend them and they’ll give you free things sometimes and maybe even let you stand in their shop in the freezing cold while everyone else has to stand outside.
20. Go to Cinque Terre.