Florence, known to the Italians as Firenze, is a world class destination for any traveller that wants to experience the best art, taste real gelato, drink outstanding wine and take a romantic stroll through this city’s historic streets.
Now Florence may not seem like the first destination that comes to you when you think of visiting Italy but in my opinion it rivals Rome in every. Whether that’s art, food, atmosphere, culture, architecture, the list goes on.
So be prepared to rethink your plans when you read about exactly what Florence has to offer you, it’s not called the cradle of the Renaissance for nothing.
Where to Stay
Before we talk about all there is to do in this incredible city, you will need to make sure you find the ideal base for your stay. You may be a bit overwhelmed as you can take your pick from a wide variety of B&B’s, hostels and apartments. But if you want my choice it would have to be the Brunelleschi hotel in Florence.
This 4 star hotel is located in a great area of the city as it’s close to many of the best museums you’ll want to visit all whilst providing you with a classy and comfortable base to relax at the end of the day. The amenities of this hotel are top notch as they include everything you’ll need to make your stay as comfortable as possible with things such as satellite TV, Wi-Fi, a hi tech gym and 2 high end restaurants that are perfect for a refined taste of Florence.
What to See
Art dominates this section as Florence is home to some of the greatest masterpieces known in world but the most magnificent has to be the statue of Michelangelo’s David in the Accademia Gallery. This museum not only houses this world renowned statue but you’ll also find more works from Botticelli, Pontormo and Orcagna to name a few.
If architecture is more your preference then Florence’s Duomo should be top of your list as this is the iconic cathedral of this city and the fourth largest in the world. Taking almost 150 years to build the vastness of this structure has to be seen in person to really grasp just how enormous it is. Located in the Piazza del Duomo the cathedral is partnered with the Florence Baptistery and Giotto’s Campanile to help make up the UNESCO World Heritage Site that covers the centre of Florence.
What to Eat
I mentioned it above so it’s no surprise that gelato is the food that you have to try when you’re in Florence otherwise you’ll be missing out on something special. There is no shortage of gelato shops so simply choose one that catches your eye and indulge in some of the best gelato anywhere in the world in practically any flavour you want, just remember this isn’t ice cream it’s so much better.
As this is Italy you can of course expect excellent pasta dishes, wine, pizza and everything else Italy is famous for but the other food that Florence loves might surprise you, I’m talking about steak. This city serves some of the biggest and best steaks you’ll find in Europe, I recommend the Bistecca Fiorentina which is essentially a T-Bone that is meant to be shared with your entire party but when the steaks this good then sharing isn’t so easy.
What to Do
Florence has endless amounts of activities you can do that everyone will enjoy but I would personally recommend taking a walk through its famous markets especially San Lorenzo. This market sells pretty much everything but if you’re looking for a souvenir to take home for friends or family then this is the place you’ll find it. Just remember that you never pay the asking price for anything here, bargaining is commonplace so the expert hagglers among you will walk away with a bargain.
If you’re after a more romantic activity then taking a stroll through one of the many gardens on offer would be a good place to start as you’ll be spoiled for choice. There’s the Boboli Gardens, Giardino Bardini and Rose Garden that are truly exceptional, they provide the perfect scenery when walking hand in hand with the one you love.
How to Get Around
This is pretty simple as the easiest way to get around in this marvellous city is to walk, walk everywhere. Everything you could want to see is usually within walking distance but even if it isn’t close by walking gives you the opportunity to experience this city in the truest sense.
To see the buildings, smell the amazing food and interact with the local people, this is the real reason walking beats any other transport.