Florence is one of those rare cities that can transport you back in time because of their immaculately preserved history. An epicenter of art, architecture, and history, this gem of a city is the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, which ultimately spread to the rest of Europe and pulled the continent out of the Dark Ages. Renaissance and neoclassical architectural styles were invented in Florence, a fact that makes this magical city the architectural ancestor of almost every historical city including London, Paris, Rome, Barcelona, and Saint Petersburg.
Florence has been home to revered personalities such as Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Galileo, Bruni, and Machiavelli. Historical churches and cathedrals, ancient bridges, stupendous museums, enchanting art galleries, and narrow medieval backstreets tell the story of the city’s majestic heritage.
Florence – Getting Around
Today, the city continues to reverberate with the energy of its glorious past as well as a plethora of modern tourism facilities. Well-connected internationally via the Amerigo Vespucci airport, the city is also extensively linked with the rest of Italy through a network of roads and railways. Once you reach Florence, you can buy a Firenze Card, which grants you entry into some 30 museums and allows free use of public transport for 72 hours. Most of the tourist attractions are within walking distances of each other, but you can always ride a bus or hire a taxi if your legs are not keeping up with your passion to explore.
Tourist Attractions in Florence
Florence is most famous for its amazing museums that hold a priceless wealth of historical treasures. The Uffizi is the most well-known, but the list is virtually endless. Bargello, Academia Gallery, Pitti Place, Museo dell’ Opera del Duomo, Museum of the History of Science, and the recently opened, fashion-oriented Gucci Museums are just some of the worthy places to visit Florence. And, if you don’t happen to be a history fan or have had too much of it, there are countless other places to visit and activities to engage in.
You can ride a bus to Fiesole, a beautiful hill located 15–20 minutes to the east of the city, from where you can enjoy breathtaking aerial views of the historical relic. You can also shop for souvenirs at innumerable shops and stores scattered across the rustic streets of the city. Or, relish the fabled Italian cuisine—pizzas, pasta and more—at one of the world-famous restaurants such as Trattoria Mario or Enoteca Pinchiorri. Spas and fashion outlets are always around the corner, just in case you want some pampering itinerary ideas.
The Uffizi GalleryThe Galleria Della Uffizi is a reason alone to visit Florence. It contains the world’s premier collection of Renaissance art, dating from the 12th to the 17th century. It has 50 rooms chock-full of over 1,500 pieces of art. You may find yourself overwhelmed with the sheer abundance of masterpieces. It’s best to plan ahead. Purchase tickets in advance to avoid long lines, and choose a particular era or artist and plan to visit a section or two of the enormous gallery. For a much-needed break, the roof-top café serves up the fresh air, light refreshment and lovely views over the Piazza Della Signoria.
The Ponte Vecchio
This stone bridge over the narrowest point of the Arno dates from 972. The jewelers’ shops all along the bridge are a long-standing tradition. They have sold their sparkling wares on the Ponte Vecchio since the 16th century when Fernando I de Medici ordered them to replace the bridge’s less pleasant previous tenants, the town’s butchers.
This enormous church is Florence’s most iconic landmark, it’s also one of the top three must-see sights in Italy, along with the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Roman Coliseum. Its red-tiled dome, lovely campanile (bell tower), and intricate white, green and pink marble façade are truly breathtaking. The church was begun in 1296 and completed about 150 years later. Its dome, designed by Brunischelli, has 463 interior steps, which you can climb if you’re not afraid of heights. The interior of the church contains some excellent Renaissance frescoes, sculpture and paintings.
The Pitti Palace
The Palazzo Pitti is an enormous palace, originally built for some Medici rivals, that served as the official Florentine rulers’ residence until 1919. The palace houses several galleries, including the Galeria Palatina, with an impressive collection of Renaissance art, and the Galeria del Costume, a less-visited, but fascinating, smaller gallery.
Climb up the hill to this terrace and loggia, and you will find a wonderful spot to enjoy panoramic views of Florence and the Arno Valley. Built in the 19th century, it was originally designed as a monument to Michelangelo.
Florence is also home to some of the most luxurious and stylish hotels such as the Salviatino. Housed in a magical building from the neoclassical era, probably the best hotel in Florence, is a tribute to the rich past and enviable present of the city. Designed in a style that beautifully fuses together modern luxury with medieval opulence, the Salvation offers just the perfect abode in the heart of Florence. Its artistically decorated, plush rooms invite you to their cozy embrace after a tiring day of sightseeing.
Heartwarming services, mouthwatering food, a range of contemporary facilities, and economical rates make it a great place to stay in Florence.