Florence Hotels and Holidays
For a tiny city-state, Florence enjoys an enormous reputation for art, scholarship, architecture and science that belies its concentrated size. Contemporary Florence spills into the lush Tuscan countryside, but the hub of its centro storico, a treasure trove of culture, stylish living and epicurean thrills, can be crossed at a leisurely pace within half an hour. The compact nature of this honey-coloured enclave lends it an intimate atmosphere, zealously preserved by a municipality that ferociously defends ancient civic liberties whose martial and banking skills not only once ruled the papacy, but also had a profound influence on shaping European culture for over five centuries.
Florence is an erudite university centre, bursting with youthful enthusiasm and a down to earth population, who rejoice in a philosophical way of life dedicated to eating, drinking and romantic pleasures. Easy if you are one of its privileged citizens to take its lofty Renaissance accomplishments for granted, but successive generations of visitors have come here to grasp its magnificence and leave with their cheeks flushed by the city's gilded beauty.
A few short steps from Santa Maria Novella railway station stands Florence's Duomo (Santa Maria del Fiore), Europe's fourth largest church and famed for its orange-tiled dome. The Baptistry, with its soaring Campanile designed by Giotto in 1334, traces its origins to the 4th century with its provenance inscribed on bronze doors. Meandering, cobbled lanes lead to the Piazza della Signoria and its famous Palazzo Vecchio, a monumental icon to the city founders' independent republicanism.
Close by, the Galleria degli Uffizi houses Italy's greatest collection of paintings, its magnificent interiors exhibiting priceless works including Botticelli's 'Birth of Venus', where he reveals the lithesome grace of his mistress who posed as a model for many of his presentations of pagan goddesses and saintly madonnas.
Walking through Florence, an overwhelming number of historic places reveal Michelangelo's statuary and lead curious eyes to pry at Palazzo Pitti and its Boboli Gardens graced by ornamental lakes and dominated by a hill on which Forte di Belvedere warns amorous couples against the intrusion of vengeful husbands. From Piazza della Signoria avid shoppers can discover the ancient quarter of San Lorenzo (named after The Magnificent). Here rises a 19th century palazzo built in stone, iron and glass consecrated to the Tuscan passion for food with galleries of butchers, greengrocers and pasta counters.
Huddling round this is a maze of al fresco stalls, retailing high quality leather goods and stylish apparel, and for those in search of the ultra chic, the district of Oltrarno, traditionally an artisans' quarter, has become one of the most illustrious fashion centres in the world.
Smart boutiques line its Borgo San Iacopo, whose tributary lanes are punctuated with exclusive restaurants, cosy bars and trattorie, specialising in delicious traditional Tuscan cuisine. Crossing the River Arno on the Ponte Vecchio, an ancient bridge crammed with jewellery workshops and goldsmith's shops, is a must during your stay in this Renaissance capital of Tuscany.
Multi Centre Holidays
Experience the best of both worlds and combine your Florence holiday with another Italian destination. Citalia offer a fantastic range of multi centre holidays, perfect for taking in all that Italy has to offer.
- The Duomo
- The Baptistery
- Galleria degli Uffizi
- Church of Santa Maria Novella
- Ponte Vecchio
- Boboli Gardens
- Pitti Palace
- Piazza della Signoria
- Basilica of Santa Croce
- Galleria dell'Accademia
- Piazzale Michelangelo
Please note: Excursions operate seasonally. Some entrance tickets may be payable locally.
Walking Tour of Florence: Start from Signoria Square and see sites such as the Palazzo Vecchio and the Loggia dei Lanzi, the Republica square, the Cathedral with the Brunelleschi's Dome and the Baptistery with its famous Gates of Paradise. You will also visit either the Uffizi Gallery with its beautiful collections of paintings from the Italian Renaissance or the Palatina Gallery.
Half Day from £42pp
Pisa: You will be guided through the famous Miracles Square, with the celebrated Leaning Tower, the Baptistery and other beautiful monuments, followed by a visit inside the Cathedral and some free time.
Half Day from £58pp (inc. Leaning Tower entrance) or £40pp (exc. Leaning Tower entrance)
San Gimignano, Siena & Chianti: Starting in the medieval town of San Gimignano, you will have a free time to visit the town's beautiful squares, buildings and churches. Before arriving to Siena, you will stop in a farmhouse to taste some of the best Tuscan wines. In Siena, the local guide will take you to the Palazzo Comunale, the Cathedral and Piazza del Campo.
Full Day from £49pp
Uffizi Gallery Tour: Visit with our expert local guide and enjoy the paintings of the Italian Renaissance from the Masters Giotto, Botticelli, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Caravaggio and many others.
2 Hours from £31pp
Accademia Gallery Tour: Guided tour to see some of the most famous sculptures of Michelangelo, the Prisoners, the St. Matthew and the renowned David.
1 Hour from £31pp
My Florence Tour: Starting at the fascinating Academy Gallery with some of the most famous sculptures of Michelangelo, the Prisoners, the St. Matthew and the renowned David. After lunch you will be guided to the Palazzo Vecchio and Loggia dei Lanzi, Repubblica square, the Cathedral with Brunelleschi's Dome, and the Baptistery with its famous Gates of Paradise. At the end of the walking tour you will enter the Uffizi Gallery to visit its beautiful collections of paintings from the Italian Renaissance.
Half Day from £65pp
Chianti: An excursion to Chianti and Greve, well known for their wines and countryside of unrivalled charm, vineyards, olive groves, Romanesque churches, farmhouses, villas and castles of rare beauty. You will also be able to taste the local wines from two of the wine estates.
Half Day from £40pp
Cinque Terre National Park: Discover one of the most enchanting landscapes in the world. Five villages suspended between sea and land, hanging from sheer cliffs surrounded by hills and vineyards.
Full Day from £79pp
Pisa & Lucca: In Pisa, you will be guided through the Miracles Square, with the famous Leaning Tower and the Baptistery and the interior of the majestic Cathedral. In Lucca, you will see the Anfiteatro Square, the Guinigi Tower, San Martino Dome and the typical 'antique dealers street'. You will visit a local pastry shop in Lucca to taste theBuccellato a typical sweet of the region.
Full Day from £53pp
Vasarian Corridor: This guided tour begins with the Uffizi Gallery and continues onward to the Vasari Corridor, the Medici's secret passageway that runs above the Ponte Vecchio Bridge across Palazzo Vecchio and Pitti Palace. Constructed in 1564 to allow safe passage for the grand dukes and is now filled with precious works or art.
3 Hours from £87pp
Cooking Classes with Lunch or Dinner: Enjoy a lesson in Italian cookery, different excursions are available including enjoying all the food that you have cooked along with Tuscan wine.
3 Hours from £44pp