Florence Travel Information
Birthplace of the Renaissance,
Florence has gained a rich artistic and cultural legacy, a
celebration of the works of Michelangelo, Botticelli and Giotto.
This heritage can be seen in the myriad of
museums, galleries and lavish architecture that crowd the narrow streets
of this truly romantic city.
Small enough to explore on foot,
and set within the gentle green valley of the river Arno, this beautiful
city is a classic choice for a short break.
Florence Travel and Flight
Although Florence has 400,000 inhabitants and has grown to
incorporate a wider area of 11km (7 miles) by 8km (5 miles), the centre of
Florence – steeped in history and rich in artistic and architectural
treasures – is like a living museum, so well preserved are the buildings
(though crumbling in places).
Birthplace of the Renaissance and
the one-time financial centre of Europe, it is home to a wealth of
monuments, museums, churches and great libraries, most of which are
situated on the north bank of the river, within a triangle created by
the river and 2 main roads and covering an area of around 2.8km (1.75 sq
miles). The most popular attractions are quite stunning and even the
hordes of tourists which buzz around them at all times cannot detract
from their initial impact (although prolonged exposure to the crush can
Cafes, restaurants and Italian ice-cream parlours
line the streets near all major attractions, and the streets themselves
are narrow and quite dark as tall buildings block out the sun. There is
an extensive pedestrianised area in the centre, but the concept is
loosely interpreted with buses, thousands of mopeds, bicycles, 3-wheeled
postal vehicles, police cars and delivery trucks all having access. You
can escape from the slightly claustrophobic tangle of streets along the
river side or at Boboli Gardens on the south side of the river, where
it's possible to walk up into the beginnings of the Tuscan hills and
look down on Florence from above. Temperatures and humidity soar in the
summer months and the best temperatures – and most tourists – are found
in spring and autumn; August is low season, as the locals tend to take
their holidays at this time and many of the more quality restaurants are
In the region of Tuscany,
three-quarters of the way up the "boot" of Italy; inland, midway between
the Ligurian and Adriatic seas. 80km (50 miles) east of Pisa. 4.8km (3
miles) south east of Amerigo Vespucci airport.
In a low-lying position on the banks of River Arno, surrounded by high
Where to Stay
Great range of
small to medium sized hotels and pensions of all categories, but prices
tend to be pretty high.
What to Do
famous green and white cathedral (Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore), topped
by Brunelleschi's dome and with associated museum; Uffizi art gallery
offering masterpieces by great artists, from Botticelli to Rembrandt;
Academy Gallery housing Michelangelo's David; Modern Art Gallery, in
Pitti Palace, containing works by 19th- and 20th-century Tuscan artists;
Silver Museum displaying treasures from the Medici family collection;
church of Santa Croce with the tombs of Galileo, Machiavelli and
Michelangelo; other churches include Santa Maria Novella and San
Lorenzo; the extensive Boboli Gardens.
Nightlife: late-night dining; a
dozen piano bars; about 10 discos; 5 cinemas; rock, jazz and classical
music concerts; Teatro Puccini for modern theatre; Teatro Comunale for
opera, concerts and ballets; Teatro della Pergola for classical drama.
Duomo and Baptistry
Palace and the Royal Apartments of the Medici
Uffizi Gallery - home to the famous
masterpieces such as Botticelli's Birth of Venus
Accademia - home to Michelangelo's original David.
Clime to the top of the Campanile for
panoramic views of the city.
If you like shopping, you will find
designer shops around via dei Tornabuoni; the Ponte Lorenzo market is
excellent for leatherwear.
A full range of restaurants and
to suit all budgets. Local family owned trattorias are popular and offer food
typical of the region. Traditional fare is simple and rustic, with basic
ingredients centring around white beans, polenta and the ubiquitous
pasta. Regional specialities include grilled steak and baccala, a dish
consisting of dried cod cooked with oil, garlic and pepper. Chianti is
the local wine.
Florence is the
fashion capital of Italy with lots of upmarket boutiques and shoe shops
in the shopping area stretching from the station to the cathedral.
Expensive gold and jewellery shops surround Ponte Vecchio. Various
markets, including San Lorenzo for local produce, some bargain souvenirs
and quality leather goods; antique markets on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of
every month. Gucci and Prada outlets a little outside the city.
Half day tour: nearby country houses and
gardens; interesting, historically rich towns and villages including
Fiesole, Pisa, Lucca and Montecatini Terme.
Full day tour: Siena; San
comprehensive, colour-coded bus service covers the city. One ticket is
valid for 60 mins, regardless of how many buses taken or distance
travelled. Tickets are purchased from main bus stations or from
tobacconists and punched in a machine on the bus. Other tickets are
available for 3 hours, 1 day or 7 days. Plenty of taxis but – although
metered – they tend to be expensive; taxi ranks can be found on most
piazzas and by the train station. Florence is a compact city and can be easily
explored on foot or by bus. There are good train links to other Italian
Who is it for?
International visitors of all ages are attracted by the art,
architecture and history, often as part of a tour.
walk to Piazziale Michelangelo for some of the best views of Florence.
Walk up to San Miniato al Monte, one of the most beautiful Romanesque
churches in Italy, then stroll back along the river.
Florentine steak with the local Chianti in one of Florence's many
temperatures (Approx) 'C
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23 JUN 27 JUL 31 AUG 30 SEP 26 OCT 21 NOV 15 DEC 10
Not to Miss in Florence
> Cradle of the
Renaissance, packed with treasures of art and architecture
Uffizi is Italy's finest art gallery and the Accademia houses 'David'
> Home to Brunelleschi's Cathedral Dome, Giotto's Bell Tower and the
Baptistry doors by Ghiberti
> Visit the Goldsmiths on the Ponte
Vecchio or shop at the lively markets of San Lorenzo
> Cross the
Arno and climb to San Miniato for a panoramic view of Florence
Sip Chianti in the medieval Piazza della Signoria, scene of Savanorolas
Bonfire of Vanities and later of his execution
> Florence is the
city of Dante, Machiavelli and the Medici
> Take a trip to
beautiful Sienaor or Pisa with its leaning tower.