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Experiences in Florence
Where to go
Things to do in Florence
Top 6 things to do in FlorenceThe Renaissance was born in this small city with world-class appeal. Offering you a glimpse at one of the richest cultural and artistic periods of our history, visiting Florence is like taking an enchanting step back in time. Admire artistic masterpieces from the likes of Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli and Brunelleschi. Discover frescoed churches and grand palazzos in its historic center, listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site. With so much timeless beauty around you, it’s easy to have your dizzying ‘Stendhal’ moment. So we’ve made it easier. From its iconic cathedral with its soaring dome to the towering Palazzo Vecchio and world-class museums, we narrow it down to what you absolutely can’t miss.1. Uffizi GalleryMarvel at some of the greatest works of the Renaissance in these former government offices. Its formidable collection was gifted to the state by the last of the Medici in 1743 and includes Caravaggio’s hair-raising Medusa, Botticelli's renowned Birth of Venus and Titian’s titillating Venus of Urbino.2. DuomoFlorence’s cathedral is impossible to miss. With its stupendous red-tiled dome and marbled facade in pink, green and white, it’s become an iconic city symbol. While the inside is less elaborate, you’ll still be dazzled by the wonderfully detailed fresco by Vasari and Zuccari and the 44 stained-glass windows.3. Accademia GalleryNo visit to Florence is complete without marveling at Michelangelo’s smooth and sinewy David. Carved from a single block of marble, this famed work became a symbol of Florentine power. While it’s the museum’s indisputable star, other highlights include paintings by Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, and Orcagna.4. Florentine foodTuscan cuisine is simple, hearty, and irresistable. Its star dish is the bistecca alla fiorentina, a juicy T-bone slab of meat that’s not for the faint-hearted. But the lesser-known ribollita soup and tripe sandwiches are also flavorsome delicacies well worth a try. Top it all off with a glass of quality local wine.5. Palazzo Pitti & Boboli GardensFormer home to a Florentine banker, Italian kings and even Napoleon, this Renaissance palace’s rich history dates back to 1458. Now it’s the place to gush over sumptuous rooms filled with porcelain, jewelry, and art from the 16th to the 19th centuries. The spectacular terraced garden is also worth a stroll.6. Palazzo VecchioBuilt between 1298 and 1314 for the signoria (city government), this austere palace has long been the seat of Florentine civil power. Marvel at its enormous Hall of the Five Hundred and even delve into the Medici's world of intrigue through the hidden passages. The 94m-high tower also offers sweeping views.Planning your Florence visitWhen to go?While there’s never a bad time to visit Florence, spring and autumn will let you enjoy the city at its very best. The weather is sunny without being too hot, attractions are busy without being packed, festivals are afoot and piazzas gently buzz with activity. Summer is still enjoyable but the city becomes sweltering hot, tourist numbers hit their peak, accommodation prices (naturally) go up and restaurants tend to close, especially those outside the center. We recommend the winter over the summer months. The weather is colder but attraction queues will most certainly be shorter. You’ll also get to enjoy various Christmas markets and see the city decked out in cozy lights and festive decorations. How many days should you spend?Florence is a bite-size city, so if you’re just looking to see the main attractions you’ll more than fit them in over a weekend. That said, Florence’s charms could easily be stretched over four to five days, giving you time to indulge a bit more in the hearty Tuscan food, people-watching at the piazzas and languid way of life. And if you ever find yourself with nothing to do, use the city as a takeoff point for exploring Tuscany and its idyllic towns such as Siena, Lucca and San Gimignano, to name a few.How to get there?Just 4km northwest of the city center lies the city’s main airport, Florence Airport. From here it’s a 10- to 15-minute shuttle (€6 one way) or tram ride (€1.50) to the central Stazione Santa Maria Novella. Otherwise a taxi costs €22 fixed price to the city center. Depending on where you’re arriving from, it may make more sense to fly into Pisa Airport. Trains and buses run regularly to Florence’s main train station, Stazione Santa Maria Novella. They cost between €11 to €15 one way and take from 60 to 90 minutes.How to move around the city?Florence is a small city and it’s easy to get around by foot. Most attractions are within walking distance from one another. It’s also possible to get around by bike in the center. Keep in mind that all forms of motorized non-resident traffic (ie cars, scooters and motorcycles) are banned in this area. The public transport system is also quite efficient and comes in handy when you want to get up the hill to Piazzale Michelangelo. A one-way ticket costs €1.50 and is valid for 90 minutes. Other ticket options include a 10-trip carnet for €14 or a monthly travel pass for €35.Where to shop?Florence’s unique mix of old-world charm, high-end boutiques and quaint artisanal workshops make it a pleasure to shop. Via de Tornabuoni is the city’s most glamorous street, dedicated to luxury fashion houses, including those that famously made their names here: Emilio Pucci, Salvatore Ferragamo and Gucci. Otherwise, if you’re looking for something a little less upmarket, Via Roma and Via dei Calzaiuoli offer more mainstream brands and the Rinascente shopping center. Instead, head to Via del Parione if you want to see Florence’s artisanal side. Leather accessories, marbled stationery and locally designed jewelry can all be found here. The street is also home to some cool modern boutiques and vintage stores.