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Florence is a city like no other – romantic, bustling and utterly charming. Set in the heart of Tuscany’s rolling hills, this surprisingly small city is packed full of some of Europe's most impressive artistic treasures. Known the world over for its world-class art and museums, Florence is an indoor and outdoor exhibition.
Brunelleschi’s miraculous dome takes centre-stage, watching over the surroundings like a proud parent. Nestled within a maze of cobbled streets below are countless historical gems, ranging from Renaissance masterpieces like Michelangelo’s David to ancient structures, including the impressive 13th-century Palazzo Vecchio. The River Arno snakes through the heart of the city, crossed by the famed Ponte Vecchio – a medieval bridge lined with dozens of tiny jewellery shops.
It’s no wonder that Florence has birthed many of the world’s best-known artists – it’s a beautiful city and one that will have you returning again and again.
Florence is home to some of the world's greatest masterpieces. The Uffizi Gallery houses the world's largest collection of Botticelli, while the Galleria dell'Accademia is famous for its Michelangelo collection, where David takes pride of place. Florence's artistic treasures are showcased everywhere, from piazzas and palaces, to churches and, of course, its museums. Perhaps the most striking landmark in Florence is Brunelleschi's dome on the city's cathedral. Climb the stairs to the top for beautiful views across the city. Florence's unsung charms are not to be overlooked either. Enjoy strolls along the Ponte Vecchio, indulge in aperitivo, and take full advantage of the city's plentiful shopping opportunities. For an idea of how you can fit the city's highlights into a weekend break, take a look at our guide to spending 48 hours in Florence.
The majority of international flights arrive into Pisa airport (PSA), which is approximately 60 minutes from the centre of Florence. Direct flights to Pisa are available from Belfast, Bristol, East Midlands, Leeds Bradford, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton, Manchester and Newcastle and take approximately 2 hours. Flights into Florence airport are also available to book through our Travel Centre.
Florence is a year-round destination, with the busiest tourist crowds arriving in spring and summer. Autumn is a perfect time for visiting – the city is less crowded and the temperatures are still pretty good. Winter can be chilly and there are chances of snow, but generally the streets are emptier and the Christmas markets are well worth a visit.
Florentine and Tuscan wines are famous all around the world. Florence is surrounded by wine production areas, the most renowned of which is Chianti. Typical cuisine enjoyed in Florence is cooked using fresh ingredients, taken from the surrounding countryside. Just like the rest of Italy, the cuisine here is cooked with passion and gusto. Dishes are often simple yet follow great recipes. Florentine dishes are those you could often associate with meals eaten in the autumn and winter; hearty and perfect to accompany that bottle of Chianti. Visitors can enjoy dishes such as stracotto (braised steak) and arista (roast loin of pork) as well as a variety of appetisers and antipasti. Florentine steak, or bistecca alla Fiorentina is another local dish – the cut of meat is huge, so probably best to share between two!
Florence is celebrated as the birthplace of the Renaissance. Renowned for its achievements during this period, Florence's rich history dates back before the days of the Renaissance. Florence was founded in 59 BC by Julius Caesar who named it Florentia (flourishing) and designated it as a retreat for retired military veterans.
Florence's location, situated on a major route between northern Italy and Rome, meant it became a bustling commercial centre. It was then, in the 3rd century, that Florence was named as the capital of Tuscany.
If you would like to pre-book one of our excursions, please call our Italy Experts on 01293 762410*.