The capital of Tuscany and a city that has almost single-handedly earned Italy the reputation as one of the world’s most inspiring and beautiful countries.
Whether you have a couple of hours or a couple of days, it’s hard not to fall in love with Florence, its stunning monuments, its rich heritage and its endearing citizens.
Florence is no stranger to prestige and power.
It was the capital of Italy from 1865 to 1871, and played an important role in shaping the country before that as the Renaissance seat of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.
It has been the centre of the arts, science and culture for centuries and is considered the “Cradle of the Renaissance”.
Although Florence has more striking and inspiring buildings than many cities put together, a trip to the city isn’t complete without a stop at the Uffizi, the Duomo, the Piazza della Signoria and the Church of Santa Croce.
By train: see schedule
By car: From Bucine head for Levane. At the traffic lights in the town centre, turn left towards Montevarchi. Once in Montevarchi follow the signs to the highway (A1 green sign). You can enter the motorway from the Valdarno entry (on the outskirts of Montevarchi), which heads for Florence. Exit at “Firenze Sud”, you can park your car here and walk or take a taxi to get into the heart of the city. (From Bucine tot. 48km)
-Palazzo Vecchio: Surely one of the most symbolic buildings in Florence, the palazzo was built around the 13th century, when it was known as Palazzo dei Priori. It was the heart of all business and government when Florence was the capital of Italy and is still today the seat of the municipality. Visitors can explore the halls of the palace at their leisure, many of the walls inside are decorated with frescoes by important Renaissance artists.
-Galleria degli Uffizi,: One Italy’s best museums, it houses numerous collections of art by artists of such calibre as Botticelli, Raphael, Titian, Piero della Francesca, Vasari, Bernini, Correggio, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Masaccio and more…
-Campanile di Giotto: Probably the most famous bell tower in the world, it sits next to the Church of Santa Maria del Fiore and was built in the late 13th century.
-Baptistery of San Giovanni: Defined by its characteristic dome, but full of frescoes painted by the artist Lorenzo Ghiberti that can’t be missed.
-Church of San Lorenzo: Also known as a basilica, it was the private church of the Medici family.
-Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore or the Duomo of Florence: The fourth biggest church in the world and the religious heart of Florence.
-Basilica of Santa Croce: Belonging to the Franciscan order, this beautiful church has a Gothic style and endlessly striking artworks and frescoes.
-Basilica of Santa Maria Novella: Another big and beautiful church, regarded as one of Florence’s most significant in terms of artistic and cultural value.
MUSEUMS IN FLORENCE:
• Uffizi Gallery, tel: 055-23885 (to book: tel: 055-294883)
• Museo Nazionale del Bargello: Via del Proconsolo 4 (to book: tel: 055-294883)
• Medici Chapels: Piazza Madonna Aldobrandini, tel: 055-2388602
• Brancacci Chapel: Church of the Carmine, Piazza del Carmine, tel: 055-2382195
• Brunelleschi’s Dome: Cathedral, Piazza Duomo, tel: 055-2302885
• Boboli Gardens: Piazza Pitti, tel: 055-218741
RESTAURANTS RECOMMENDED BY ITALIAN DINING OUT GUIDE “Gambero Rosso”: • Cibreo Restaurant, at Andrea del Verrocchio 8 / r, tel: 055/2341100, closed on Sundays and Mondays. • Enoteca Pinchiorri Restaurant, Via Ghibellina 87, tel: 055/242777, closed on Sundays and Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for lunch. • Don Quixote Restaurant, Via C. Ridolfi 4 / r, Tel: 055/475430, always open. •Beccofino Restaurant, Piazza of Scarlatti Lungarno Guicciardini, tel: 055/290076, closed on Sundays
Florence Tourist Offices:
1. Via Cavour 1r, tel. 055/290832-3
2. Borgo Santa Croce 29r, tel. 055/2340444 – 2264524
3. Piazza Stazione, bus shelter outside the arrivals, tel. 055/212245