A Stroll Through Downtown Florence

My husband is from Florence, Alabama.  Well, technically he is from Killen, but for those of you not from North Alabama, let’s just say the Florence area.  I first visited Florence when my husband and I started dating. While in college, I met several people from Florence including my husband. Something that always surprised me is that people from Florence actually loved their small town and wanted to move back there one day.  I was used to meeting college age people who longed for bigger and better places than where they grew up, but this attitude about Florence was refreshing.IMG_4069

Florence was listed on a Top Ten Small Towns in America list a couple of years ago, and their downtown is one of the great reasons why.  So, when my husband and I decided to head over to Florence to visit family last weekend, I jumped at a chance to spend time downtown with my little family and eat at one of my favorite restaurants!


The beautiful campus of UNA is nestled in the heart of downtown Florence, and it is one of the reasons this downtown is so great.  It is a beautiful and historic little campus.





My son had so much fun running around campus.  UNA also has real lions on display (their mascot).


After roaming around downtown and UNA’s campus, we headed over to eat dinner with my in laws.  My favorite restaurant in Florence is Ricatoni’s.  It has a fun atmosphere and delicious food. 



The minute you sit down, they bring out bags of fresh, warm bread and their house seasoning (which you add olive oil to).  My absolute favorite dish (and the favorite of the women in my husband’s family) is the ravioli.  They serve their cheese ravioli with a creamy red sauce.


I get hungry just looking at this picture!  They also house a wood burning pizza oven.


I cannot say enough about this place.  My husband is also a fan of the fettuccine, but I have never had a dish here that I did not like.  Ricatoni’s is listed on the 100 places to eat in Alabama before you die.  If you are in the Florence area, it is definitely worth a try.

Our other favorite restaurant downtown that was closed on Sunday, but deserved a shout out, is Trowbridge’s.


Trowbridge’s has been around since 1918.  It was also listed on 100 places to eat in Alabama before you die.  It has the atmosphere of an old fashioned diner, and it is dearly beloved by all the locals.  We prefer to get a chicken salad sandwich there and a hotdog.  You can also pick out an ice-cream treat at the counter.  You will feel like you are stepping back in a time.  This is a great place for the whole family.


If you are ever in the shoals area, or want a fun weekend getaway, you will not regret strolling through downtown Florence.

~ xoxo Laura


33 thoughts on “A Stroll Through Downtown Florence

  1. I grew up in Florence, AL. I love my hometown so much. I live in Atlanta now which is just no place for a small town girl. In addition to the University (from which I graduated), another thing that makes Florence special is the Tennessee River that flows between Lauderdale & Colbert counties, & the big, beautiful TVA lakes. Georgia just has nothing that compares. I dream of moving back home. My family has been there for generations. There’s no place like home!!


    1. I’ve grown up here, in The Shoals, too. I’m originally from Rogersville, but now just a town over in Lexington. I’ve moved away 2x and that 2nd time was it. I’ll never move from this area again unless something major requires it. You’re right when you say there’s nowhere like it, especially the river. I’ve been many places and nowhere have I seen a river as beautifully placed as ours. If you want to shop or go out, there’s Florence. If you want piece and quite, there’s all the little, country towns on the outskirts. It’s wonderful. Hope you make your way back one day!


  2. UNA is indeed historic…it is the oldest university in the state, older than both U. of Alabama and Auburn! Florence has a fine tradition of academic excellence, and it’s just a wonderful place to be…


  3. I absolutely love this little town. I grew up in the killen area as well. To date I’ve moved twice and always end up back home. I hopefully will get to raise my own kids here someday!


  4. Florence and the entire Shoals Area consisting of Muscle Shoals, Tuscumbia, Sheffield cities and home of music famous Fame Recording Studio, W. C. Handy Blues , world fashion designer of the year “Billy Reid”, the lakes for recreation from the Tennessee River and most of all the real estate is so reasonable. Come and visit us!


  5. My father came to Florence State Teachers College in 1954 as a history professor !! so many wonderful memories of growing up there
    Trowbridges was the place to get the best hot dog and milk shake


  6. I was born in Florence and lived there until I was 10 – went back for the first time when I was 30, and it felt like really going Home! Be sure to try YUM next time you’re there!


  7. Laura, My Dad was Col. Cheyne. He was head of the ROTC at Florence State before it became the U. N. AL. My sister is Shirley Moseley. Her daughters, my nieces, are Molly Moseley Beck who now lives in Maine, & Sara Moseley who has a cottage on Hawthorne. I lived here from 1958-1984. I now live in Florida. I truly miss Florence. However, because of my family & many friends there, I keep up with all that is going on. My husband, Doug & I were charter members at Turtle Point. Many fond golf, Fri. dinners, formal dances
    Shopped all of the stores, but especially loved Earline’s!!!
    Look forward to your future messages!!!


  8. When you heard that familiar song by the band ALABAMA, “My home in Alabama no matter where I lay my head”, holds true more and more every day in my heart. Those pictures of my home town floods so many memories as I grew up as a child. and I’m sure for others as well!


  9. I grew up in Florence. I graduated from Coffee High. I live not far from Florence & go back to visit family every chance I get. My mom & I always went shopping on Sat. I think we went to every store in Florence ( she was a shopper ) We always had lunch at Trowbridges. They had the best Tuna sandwiches, no one can make them like Trowbridges. It’s been years since I’ve eaten there but the next time I go to Florence it will be my lunch stop for sure. Thanks for sharing, it brought back so many good memories.


  10. I grew up in florence alabama.i now live in madison…but there’s no place like home….I still drive to florence to work everyday…una is a beautiful place to see.although sumtimes I get tired of being there lol.sometimes I feel like I’m there more then the students are…..I have a big part in keeping una beautiful (well the floors anyway)…we do all there carpet and tile work….and Trowbridge ‘s I’ve been there alot of times a good friend of mine used to work there…and the stories there never get old….they say there’s a ghost there….but there are hundreds of things in the florence area that is worth seeing…..


  11. I too, grew up in Florence and left when I was 10. So many good memories of family in the Cloverdale area! Although I live in Flint, Mi. my heart and soul remains there! Long live this sacred place!


  12. I was born here in 1948,and I have never left nor even thought about it,,I was born at ECM Hospital and after 20 Yrs,I retired there,,if someone ever told me I had to leave this Beautiful Town,,I don,t know what I would do,,,maybe lay down and die of grief ‼️We have the Best of everything,and everyone is so Friendly and so willing and ready to help thy neighbor,,it’s kinda hard to put into words what my hometown means to me,,,,SWEET❤️ HOME ❤️ ALABAMA❤️


  13. Our large family moved to Florence in 1947 when my Daddy, Ralph Snell,
    became one of the founders of Mars Hill Bible School (from which each of his 10 children graduated). My parents are both gone now, but several family members still live there. Going to Florence even now, almost 70 years later, is still GOING HOME.


  14. Hometown, grew up in North Florence on Chishlom Rd. Appleby Junior High, Coffee High, Florence State were my schools early on. My dad help built Wilson Dam single lock while working for TVA. Many memories and old classmates were made here. Worked my first job at Winn-Dixie. Enjoyed many great times at Shoals Creek and Emerald Beach as with “cruising” the boulevard! Remember many good restaurants and hangouts during the sixties….ONE GREAT TOWN!


  15. Hometown, grew up in North Florence on Chisholm Rd. Appleby Junior High, Coffee High, Florence State were my schools early on. My dad help built Wilson Dam single lock while working for TVA. Many memories and old classmates were made here. Worked my first job at Winn-Dixie. Enjoyed many great times at Shoals Creek and Emerald Beach as with “cruising” the boulevard! Remember many good restaurants and hangouts during the sixties….ONE GREAT TOWN!


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