One of the most beautiful and fascinating cities in Italy, Florence is a place where you’ll find everything from ancient history to modern art. It’s a city that will enchant and surprise you every time you visit!
Don’t miss the chance to climb up Giotto’s Campanile, the marbled Gothic tower that delivers spectacular views across Florence. You’ll also want to spend some time in the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, gawking at the gilded frescoes.
Florence, one of the oldest cities in Italy, has long been a centre for arts, finance and trade. It is credited with being the birthplace of the Renaissance movement and the inspiration for some of Europe’s most famous works of art.
In the Middle Ages, Florence resisted the tyranny of the Holy Roman Empire and the Papacy. It was a city-state, meaning that it had its own institutions and could choose its leaders.
It also introduced a gold coin called the Florin, which was used by merchants throughout Europe. This reflected the strong economic strength of the city and its citizens.
In the early 12th century, Florence became a republic and was governed by a council of nine city counselors, who came from the trade guilds. They were elected for a two-month term.
The city of Florence has a rich architectural history that reaches back centuries. The cradle of the Renaissance, Florence is home to many famous museums and buildings, including the Uffizi Gallery and Piazza del Duomo.
Renaissance architecture emerged in the early 15th century, ushering in a revival of classical architectural forms. It supplanted Gothic medieval aesthetics and became a major artistic movement throughout Europe.
One of the oldest churches in Florence, the Basilica di Santa Croce, is an example of this style. On the outside, it looks like a Gothic church, but inside it is a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture due to Filippo Brunelleschi’s careful use of proportions.
There are some world-famous museums in Florence, including the Uffizi and Accademia galleries, but the city is also home to a plethora of lesser-known collections that most visitors don’t know about. These are often tucked into Florentine corners that most people walk past without realizing, so take a look to see what’s waiting for you!
A great place to start is the Medici Chapels, where Michelangelo’s iconic sculptures stand in impressively grand settings. It’s worth taking a guided tour of this UNESCO World Heritage Site for the best experience, but the art is also stunning to explore in isolation.
Food & Drink
Tuscany is best known for producing some of Italy’s finest wines, but this central Italian region also offers hearty dishes of wild game and vegetable-rich stews. Taste these flavors at a traditional Tuscan restaurant or enjoy them on an adventurous street food tour.
In Florence, you’ll find classic Tuscan dishes like ribollita (slow-cooked pork and tomatoes) and bistecca alla fiorentina (a dry aged steak), as well as some of the most unique regional street foods. Try a lampredotto, or cow’s fourth stomach, which is traditionally slathered in green sauce and served as a sandwich.
While you’re at it, try a glass of local wine or two. Chianti is a popular choice, but you’ll find other great wines produced in Tuscany at wine bars and cafes.
Whether you’re looking for high-end designer brands or artisanal gifts, Florence is one of the best places to shop in Italy. You can find everything from small, family owned shops selling local handicrafts to glitzy designer boutiques and open air markets.
The city has a long tradition of art and antique trade, which is reflected in its museums and historic edifices. The most popular places to shop are Via de’ Tornabuoni and Ponte Vecchio, but there are countless other shopping opportunities to explore throughout the city.
You’ll also find a range of outlet malls around Florence. McArthurGlen Barberino Designer Outlet and The Mall Florence are great options, offering a wide range of designer labels at discounted prices. There are also a number of specialised stores that sell only unique, handmade products.