This beautiful Italian city is worth a trip to Italy for a few days. Located 3 hours by car from Venice and Rome, 4 hours from Lake Maggiore (and only 2 hours from Venice and 1h30 from Rome), the capital of Tuscany has a lot to offer you: gardens, museums, shopping, ice cream !!! Enjoy the “farniente” when you read our article.
Small historical informations on Florence
Florence, or Firenze, is considered the cradle of the Italian Renaissance and as such houses an incredible architectural and cultural wealth.
The city of Florence was built in 59 BC on the banks of the river Arno. But it was in the twelfth century that the city experienced a golden age that lasted until the sixteenth century. Marked by a rich political history, Florence has benefited during this period of a tremendous artistic and economic boom that will make it one of the most powerful cities in Europe, but also one of the most beautiful.
The city has long been a city-state and was run by patrician families like the Medici. The famous family ruled Florence in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and it is owed to him including 3 popes and 2 queens of France, Catherine and Marie de Medici. Great names of art are also born or lived in Florence, like Dante Alighieri, Donatello, Sandro Botticelli or Leonardo da Vinci.
What to visit in Florence?
Piazza del Duomo is one of the most important tourist squares in the city. It is full of treasures. We can only advise you to walk there to look for them.
The Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, built in the 13th century and located on the Duomo square, is a true masterpiece, both inside and out. It is dubbed Duomo because of its incredible dome, the largest in the world.
In front of the cathedral, the baptistery of San Giovanni Battistero di San Giovanni, still older than the Duomo is famous for its three bronze doors decorated with bas-reliefs.
Also next to the cathedral is Giotto’s Bell Tower, dating from 1298 and 84.70 meters high. Its five levels are like the cathedral and the baptistery adorned with white, green, red and pink marble.
The piazza della Signoria is Florence’s other main tourist square, and is also a must, which is home to the superb Loggia des Lanzi.
There is also the Palazzo Vecchio, the old palace, whose construction was completed in 1316. This fortified palace was seat of the power of the Florentine Republic and the Duchy of Florence and is currently the city hall of Florence.
The Uffizi Gallery is also a palace in Piazza della Signoria, one of the most important museums in the city.
The Ponte Vecchio is one of the symbols of the city. Its specificity lies in the fact that stalls and other small shops are located along the entire length of the bridge. Crossing the Arno, the bridge is indeed a Mecca of goldsmiths and jewelery.
On the other side of the bridge, you will find the Pitti Palace, the largest palace in the city, built by the Pitti family in 1458 and bought a century later by the Medici. Another must because of its size and beauty.
Adjacent to the Pitti Palace, the Boboli Garden is famous for its landscapes but especially for its Roman and Florentine sculptures.
There are many other things to see and visit in Florence. Huge museums, such as the Galleria dell’Accademia housing the David of Michelangelo, or the National Museum of Bargello and its collections of Gothic sculpture and Renaissance. Churches all more beautiful than the others, like the basilica San Lorenzo which includes works of brunelleschi, Donatello or Michelangelo, or the basilica Santa Croce and Santa Maria Novella.
As you can see, Florence is rich in cultural and artistic heritage and overflowing with churches, palaces, gardens and museums that will stir your curiosity and arouse your interest.
And if you want to take a break between two visits, why not stop and enjoy an ice cream in a gelataria. We have found 4 nuggets for you:
- Gelateria dei Neri, via ‘Neri
- Gelateria La Carraia, Piazza Nazario
- Galetaria Santa Trinita, Piazza De Frescobaldi
- The Nocciola Strego – Firenze Duomo, Via Ricasoli
Where to sleep when visiting Florence?
The city is full of hotels and the AirBnB are not lacking in Florence. You can make your choice based on your wallet or what you want to have nearby. However, we advise you to choose your accommodation in the center of the city, in the neighborhoods we are going to talk to you about.
The most historic district is the Duomo. This district brings together a lot of the cultural and architectural wealth of Florence. This is one of the most expensive neighborhoods to offset the many benefits of this neighborhood. Close to many tourist attractions, it is also a good shopping area, as all the streets around the Duomo are full of shops. If you want to heat the blue card, you can also go to the luxury shops of Tornabuoni Street.
Another tourist area is Santa Croce, with its basilica and charming houses that do not seem to have changed over the centuries. Centrally located there are many restaurants and bars. An ideal place to enjoy a good glass of chianti, the famous red wine of Tuscany.
The most gourmands will probably want to stay in the Mercato Central neighborhood, the central market, near the San Lorenzo market and many typical trattorias. This district, with that of Santo Spirito, is really the culinary center of Florence. Why not try a ribollita, a Tuscan soup, or tripe, specialties of Florence, in one of the many restaurants in this area.
Finally, the district Santa Maria Novella, which is also part of the old town, is very convenient because close to the station, and quite unfrequent compared to the others.
To visit near Florence, San Gimignano
62 km from Florence this small town with walls full of history is one of the most picturesque in Tuscany and even in Italy. We can only encourage you to come admire the architecture of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries and 13 tower houses, to stroll on the Piazza della Cisterna, or visit the Sant’Agostino church. If you have the opportunity, San Gimignano is really a beautiful and interesting place.
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