Art, commerce, cuisine, and history mingle in breathtakingly beautiful Firenze, or Florence, in the heart of Italy’s sunny Tuscany region.
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Home to a stunning array of timeless art and architecture, from the iconic Duomo to Michelangelo’s beloved statue of David, Florence remained at the forefront of the Renaissance.
Today, the city still delights vacationers and locals with its esteemed Uffizi Gallery, exhibiting Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” and da Vinci’s “Annunciation.” Fortunate visitors shop for gold and jewelry as they cross the city’s oldest bridge, the Ponte Vecchio, much as they did centuries ago.
Explore the historic hill towns and vineyards of Tuscany, including the medieval San Gimignano, Siena and Monteriggioni, the walled town mentioned in Dante’s Divine Comedy.
Chill out in Chianti at a traditional Tuscan winery, as you sample some of its best vintages and authentic culinary delights.
What To Do
Florence’s red-tiled Duomo forms the centerpiece of this beautiful city. Named in honor of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Gothic structure was built atop the remains of the basilica of Santa Reparata. The Duomo’s crowning glory, its deep red dome, was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi during the 15th century.
Stroll amid the Piazza della Signoria, once the center of Florence’s political life and still the hub of its vibrant social life.
Explore the Palazzo Vecchio with its three diverse eras of architecture: Roman ruins, Medieval fortress and amazing Renaissance chamber and art. Visit the palace’s Salone dei Cinquecento (Hall of the Five Hundred) with its impressive sculptures, paneled ceilings, and historic frescoes.
What To See
View some of the world’s most exquisite artwork, including Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” and da Vinci’s “Annunciation,” at Florence’s renowned Uffizi Gallery.
Marvel at the Baptistery of Florence, the oldest religious site in the city. Dedicated to St. John the Baptist, all Catholics in Florence were baptized here until the 19th century.
Shop for gold and jewelry on the city’s oldest bridge, the Ponte Vecchio, as you cross Florence’s famed Arno River.
Search for pottery, fashions, and souvenirs in the open-air markets of Piazza San Lorenzo.
Purchase leather goods and more in the 16th century Mercato Nuovo.
Sample fresh produce, meats, fish and cheese at Florence’s charming Mercato Centrale.
See and be seen, night or day, at the bustling Piazza della Signoria in the heart of Firenze.
During summer months, many of the city’s nightclubs close as locals cool off beside the sea. Other times, Florence offers plenty of nightclubs and bars catering to both locals and vacationers.
Florence with Kids
Ride an antique carousel in the heart of Florence at the Piazza della Repubblica.
Develop your kids’ fashion sense while improving their sense of history at the Gucci Museo.
Hands-on workshops for children ages five through twelve help little ones grasp the importance of this timeless art form.
Stroll across the Ponte Vecchio to Oltrarno, where you’ll discover Pitti Palace and the Giardino di Boboli, with delightful gardens, grottos, fish ponds and plenty of lawn space to roam freely.
Off the Beaten Path
Be sure to schedule a day-trip to Pisa, with its iconic “Leaning Tower,” just a little over an hour west of Florence.
Explore the delightful Tuscan hilltop town of San Gimignano, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walk through its maze of medieval architecture.
Tour the beautiful seaside villages of the Italian Riviera at Cinque Terre and Portovenere, just a few hours by car or motor coach from Florence.
Food and Drink
The Italian people are passionate about great wine, food, art, music, and romance. Sample some of the region’s finest wines and delicacies in the hilltop town of Chianti in Tuscany.
Everyone connects pasta with Italy. You might not associate steak with this warm Mediterranean country until you sample their Bistecca all Fiorentina grilled rare over a wood fire.
You haven’t experienced Tuscan cuisine until you try its hearty delicioso pappa al pomodoro, a flavorful bread, and tomato soup.
Be sure to visit the new Mercato central, where you can find all sorts of farm-to-kitchen items plus delightful food stands catering to hungry tourists and locals seven days a week.
When to Go
The best time to visit Florence is between April and June and during September/October when the weather is usually good, and there are fewer tourists. It’s hot, humid and busy in July and August, while early winter can be surprisingly pleasant with fewer crowds.