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Exploring Florence

The glorious city of Florence was the birthplace of Europe’s most important cultural movement, the Italian Renaissance, sparked by the city’s incredible wealth and power between the late 13th and 16th centuries. Today it is one of the world’s most popular visitor destinations for its gems of art, culture and architecture. The city’s immense riches, gained through trade, provided the boost which ended the Dark Ages and the finances which created the splendour and industrial development of Europe in the Middle Ages.

Even the Age of Discovery voyages which opened up the Far East and India were financed from Florence, spurred on by the all-powerful Medici family over the several centuries of their dominance of European politics, religion and matters of state. Florence itself is a monument to perhaps the world’s most powerful dynasty, and attracts millions to its magnificence every year. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the old city centre’s famed landmarks and attractions include palaces, mansions, iconic museums, the Duomo cathedral, the fabulous Uffizi Gallery and the Piazza della Signoria, home to sculptures by Donatello, Cellini and Giambologna.

Sights nearby

Florence’s treasure house of cultural and artistic wonders is second to none, and many of its heritage buildings now house hotels such as the Hotel Regency and the Palazzo Ricasoli.

Michelangelo’s David
One of the world’s most famous sculptures, Michelangelo’s David, is now housed in the Galleria dell’ Accademia along with many other examples of the work of this monumental Renaissance genius.

Uffizi Gallery
Housed in one of the ancient ruling Medici family’s finest palaces, the Uffizi is one of the world‘s great galleries for its renowned collection of Renaissance artworks as well as artifacts from the Roman and other classical antiquity periods.

Florence’s grand palaces
Florence is known for its grand palaces, testimonials to its power and wealth in the Middle Ages. Two of the finest are the Medici family’s Pitti Palace and the Pallazo Vecchio, (old palace) with its fine Renaissance sculptures and works of art.

Ponte Vecchio
Lined with jewellers’ shops since the time of the Medicis, the Ponte Vecchio spans the banks of the River Arno and is Florence’s last remaining ancient bridge.

Duomo di Firenze
The symbol of the city is its magnificent cathedral with its massive dome created by Renaissance architect Bruneschelli considered one of the most impressive feats of engineering of the Renaissance period.

Eating and drinking and shopping nearby

Florentine cuisine is as much a delight to the taste buds as the city’s beauties are to the eye. Delicious dishes at all price levels are found, although within the Old City the food is aimed at tourists rather than locals. The rule for gourmets is to eat where the locals eat, and visitors should remember that food and drink prices foral banco (standing up at the bar) dishes and coffees are far less than if you eat at a restaurant table. For fine dining par excellence, Enoteca Pinchiorri, set near the Hotel Santa Croce, is the culinary experience of a lifetime, and the 1,000-year-old lampredetto fast food (tripe cooked with tomatoes and herbs), is a unique Florentine experience. Florence is every fashionista’s retail dream destination, and souvenirs include jewellery, Murano glass, shoes to die for and other leather goods.

Public transport

Florence’s international airport is the main air arrivals hub for millions of visitors every year. Links with the city and its hotels are by taxi or bus, with a journey time of around 20 minutes. The ancient centre of the city is totally pedestrianised except for residents with driving permits, but is easy to access via bus or taxi. If you’re planning on staying adjacent to the district, exploring its wonders on foot is perfectly feasible.

Florence travel guides

Florence travel guides

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