- Location: Italian region of Tuscany
- Best time to Visit: Spring and Autumn
- How to reach: Florence is well-connected by air and rail with the rest of Italy and with Europe. The city has its own airport, the Amerigo Vespucci, located at a distance of only 3 miles from the center. Frequent train connections are available from other major cities including Milan, Rome and Venice to reach Florence.
- Nearest International Airport: Pisa International Airport
- Nearest railway station: Florence Train Station
It is where the Renaissance found a home under the patronage of the mighty Medicis. It is here that Michelangelo learnt the tricks of his trade in his formative years and Leonardo developed his art. It is here that Pico della Mirandalo preached the new mantra of Humanism to the world in his short life span of twenty five years, and it is here that Dante sung the magical cantos of ‘Divine Comedy’. Florence has a mystic charm that never fails to transport travelers to the stormy and intensely creative days of the early modernity in Europe. Few other European city had such a great influence in defining history.
You will be immersed in art when you are in Florence, chances are that you will have quite an overdose of it. So, whoever is planning for a trip to Florence must not forget its thriving food and wine culture. In spite of being over-run with huge number of travelers for centuries, Florence remains one of the world’s most beautiful cities and that is why people continue to come to spend a vacation in Florence, an artistic, architectural and a cultural gem. Established on the site of an Etruscan settlement, Florence, Italy, the symbol of the Renaissance, grew to economic and cultural pre-eminence under the Medici in the 15th and 16th centuries. The historic center of Florence features a wealth of Renaissance art treasures.
Top Florence attractions
Some of the attractions you won’t want to miss while you are in Florence are:
- The Accademia Gallery: Established in 1561 with high patronage of the Medici, the Accademia Gallery was the first academy of drawing in Europe.
- The Bargello (Museo Nazionale del Bargello): The Bargello, also known as Palazzo del Popolo, was constructed to house first the Capitano del Popolo and later, the Podesta which was the highest magistrate of the Florence City Council.
- Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square): Piazza del Duomo is famous for four masterpieces of medieval architecture — the cathedral, the baptistry, the campanile (the ‘Leaning Tower’) and the cemetery. Its most unique feature is the massive dome designed by Filippo Brunelleschi.
- Ponte Vecchio: The medieval bridge of Ponte Vecchio over the Arno River is known as the oldest wholly-stone, closed-spandrel segmental arch bridge of Europe.
- Palazzo Pitti and Giardino Boboli: Originally owned by Luca Pitti, the Palazzo later became the property of the Medici family and the grand structure now boasts no less than seven museums.
- Sante Croce: This wonderful Gothic church, built in 1294, features the tombs of several illustrious Florentines such as Michelangelo, Galileo, Ghiberti and Machiavelli.
- The Uffizi (Gallerie degli Uffizi): With a treasured collection of Renaissance paintings which include the precious works of Giotto, Masaccio, Paolo Ucello, Sandro Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Titian and Caravaggio, the Uffizi is one of the world’s greatest art galleries.
What to do
Besides the soccer stadiums and the race courses, there are “velodrome” for cycle races, tennis courts and swimming pools, an 18-hole golf course at Ugolino, shooting ranges, bowling, places for canoeing water polo, riding schools and clubs, an Aero Club, skating rinks and so on.
Aside from sightseeing, shopping is another option for pastime for travelers. Major fashion-houses have opened extravagant stores in the city. If you are looking for shoes, leather goods and elegant Italian style, visit via Tornabuoni, via della Vigna Nuova, piazza della Repubblica and via Roma. Besides shops, Florence is also well-known for its open-air markets. There are also some good stalls by the San Lorenzo market.
Where to dine
Florence boasts of one of the most versatile cooking traditions in Italy and Florentine cuisine is related to a tradition of simple dishes prepared with genuine, tasty but plain ingredients. Over the past few years, traditional Italian eating and drinking habits have been grabbed in Florence by the appearance of several eateries that combine a restaurant, pizzeria and wine bar under the same roof.
Florence offers numerous opportunities for entertainment, with several clubs, pubs, and discos. You will find a number of places where you may have a beer or a glass of the best Chianti wine. The clubs and pubs are located within proximity to the city center, around the Cathedral or in the famous squares of the city.
Where to stay
There is a huge variety of hotels in Florence and they are always ready to accommodate the coming travelers. Starting from luxury hotels, there are numerous options for those to whom budget is the main concern. You will surely find suitable accommodation in Florence according to your taste, mood, and budget.
Florence has a rich cultural heritage that bears wonderful testimony to its centuries-old civilization. Get ready to enjoy this fascinating city.
Related Links :
http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=oaEZGD_xt1c: This is a great guided travel video on a trip to the Historic city of Florence. Check out all the chief attractions of the city and get relevant travel information from this clip!
http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=v4W9eT–0DI&feature=related: Find out the top five destinations in Florence from this highly informative travel video.