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The Italian city of Florence is capital of the scenic Tuscany region. Florence is one of Europe’s most popular city break destinations and it’s easy to see why. The city is home to some of the most beautiful architecture and most popular cultural attractions in the world.
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What to See?
Florence is often considered to be one of the cities in Italy that is part of the trinity of must-see places to visit in Italy, also including Rome and Venice. Florence is also touted as one of the most romantic cities in Europe. It’s also a good place to start if you are keen on exploring the surrounding Tuscan landscape.
The multitude of museums that pack this city. The most obvious one is the Gallerie dell Accademia which houses the Statue of David, created by Michelangelo. The list of historical and cultural landmarks to see in Florence is almost endless, and sometimes require more than one visit. Other notable sights include the Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) and the Duomo. You are bound to come across some sort of architectural marvel on your exploration of Florence.
Florence, like other places in Italy, is well geared to the tourist scene with souvenirs ranging from the El Cheapo and kitsh (think Statue of David figurines) to the very expensive that may take years to pay off. If you are feeling especially wealthy, you can buy something made from gold on the Ponte Vecchio, like many other visitors do throughout the course of the year.
Where to Stay & Eat?
Mangia, mangia, mangia! (Eat, Eat, Eat!). With Italy being one of the culinary hotspots of the world, eating is well ingrained in Florence. While the usual suspects of great food like pasta, pizza and gelati are everywhere and are worth pigging out on, why not check out the unusual shop called the Casa Del Formaggio which I stumbled across in a narrow alleyway during my exploration of Florence. The Casa Del Formaggio (The House of Cheese in Engish) has an insane range of cheese and smallgoods which are almost bedazzling as soon as you walk into the store. Sure, the food there is great, but for a taste of the bizarre, check out the family of stuffed pigs sitting at a table, dressed up in local costume. No joke! I love it!
‘Drink, drink, drink’ is directly proportional to ‘Eat, Eat, Eat’ in Italy, and Florence is no exception. I can’t help myself but have a glass of red with whatever I’m eating. Italian wines, especially the reds, come from a huge number of grape varieties and they all taste good and are reasonably priced. I think wine is an official food group in Italy!
Like Venice, Florence has to cater for the millions of people from around the world who visit each year. Hence, accommodation options are available for every budget, from backpackers to high end hotels. Obviously, it’s much cheaper if you come to Florence outside of peak season to avoid the strong possibility of not being able to find a bed! If you want to still visit Florence to avoid the hordes of people but still have nice weather, try coming in the shoulder season.
Florence is pretty compact, so it’s worth just wandering around to see what you can stumble upon. Florence is another great city to explore on foot, so soak it all up and take in the surroundings whilst stomping around in your favourite pair of walking boots.
Where to Go?
If you are feeling like a dose of the country, get out to the surrounding Tuscan landscape and soak up the countryside. You’ll probably end up at a local winery since grapes seem to be the dominant crop of Italy, but what’s wrong with that – just be sure to designate a driver!
To the bell tower ring at the Duomo. The Duomo is probably the best-known of Florence, which is the domed cathedral of the city called Santa Maria del Fiore.
Coming to Florence in peak season if you can, as you will be spending most of your time in lines waiting to see the local attractions. Try the shoulder season like April or September, when the weather is still nice but the crowds are much less in your face.