This bustling and beautiful Tuscan city and one of Europe's greatest cities of art has everything
Florence is a city of art, history and beauty like no other. Brimming with museums, galleries and medieval churches, each one packed to the rafters with priceless masterpieces, Florence is quite rightly considered to be the renaissance capital of the world. Here you will find some of the most important works from Michelangelo, Botichelli and Da Vinchi, as well as iconic Cathedrals and historical architecture.
Often voted as one of the best cities in Europe, Florence is the capital of Tuscany and undoubtedly the jewel in its crown.
What to do
You will find no shortage of things to do in Florence, the biggest problem for most visitors is how to fit it all in. Head first to the Magnificent Il Duomo, standing proud in the Piazza del Duomo this impressive gothic structure is considered one of Italy's grandest cathedrals, and one of Florence's most popular sites. Dating from 1926, behind it's elaborate façade you will find an interior packed with gothic treasures. It's impressive central dome was the largest in the world until 1881. And for the energetic, a climb of the 463 steps to the cathedral's lantern offers magnificent views of the city and even the snow-capped peaks beyond.
For art lovers The Uffizi is a must. This treasure trove of renaissance art is the home to one of Botichelli's finest pieces, 'Birth of Venus' as well as hundreds more iconic works.
Follow the crowds to the Galleria dell'Accademia, the home to Michelangelo's David. As well as the iconic masterpiece you will find more historic works of art in this one building than you'll find in most entire cities. Head there early to avoid the crowds.
The Ponte Vecchio (old bridge) is the most famous bridge in Florence and one of its most iconic landmarks. More than a bridge, this magnificent structure is lined on either side with small boutiques and jewellery shops. Take some time to indulge in a little retail therapy and take in the views it offers.
What to eat
Unsurprisingly there are no shortage of dining options in Florence, catering for every budget and taste. For those looking for fine dining, head to Enoteca Pinchiorri, Florence's only 3 Michelin starred restaurant. The wine list is epic and they feature a tasting menu of 15 small plates.
For a typical old school trattoria, head to Antica Trattoria da Tito. Established in 1913, this traditional Tuscan restaurant has been serving some of the finest fresh pasta and meat and cheese platters in the city. Run, don't walk to L'Girone De Ghietto, one of the city's most famous sandwich shops. The queues often run round the block, so yes you will have to wait your turn but their delicious sandwiches will not disappoint.
No trip to Florence would be complete with a Gelato stop. For some of the best the city has to offer try Gelatria La Carria, right off the Ponte Alla Carraia or Mordilatte, less than a block away from the Duomo, it offers a prime location, creamy flavours and abundant portions.
How to get there
Florence is located approximately 170km northwest of Rome. If arriving by car it's worth noting that much of central Florence is a restricted traffic area between 7.30 am and 7.30pm on weekdays. If you are staying in a hotel in this area you'll need to organise well in advance for them to send you a temporary permit.
If arriving by train, Florence's main station is very central and many of the central hotels are accessible from here by foot. Most low-cost carriers use Pisa's Galileo Galilei airport, 80km west of Florence. It is connected via a bus service run by Autostradle up to 20 times per day.
The Bologna, Milan and Rome airports are also large airports you can fly into. From there you can rent a car or take a train into Florence.
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