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Holidays in Florence allow you to experience one of Europe’s most culturally and historically significant cities. Florence is a vibrant city nestled among the idyllic green hills of Tuscany. It retains a sense of intimacy and romance thanks to its relatively small size, while also offering a remarkable selection of museums, galleries, and restaurants, which continue to impress even the most regular visitor. Every stroll has the potential for something remarkable, whether it’s peering out of the Vasari Corridor or wandering across the Giardino di Boboli. Alternatively, for those looking to relax, there are beautiful vistas to be seen while enjoying a rooftop aperitivi in the evening.
Perhaps most known for its remarkable historical architecture, you will easily find renowned pieces of art by famous artists such as Filippo Brunelleschi, Leon Battista Alberti, and Michelangelo throughout the city. Florence continues to celebrate this tradition with impressive modern buildings, notably The New Florence Opera House, maintaining the city’s reputation as a marvel from every angle. Any visiting foodies will undoubtedly revel in Florence’s food culture, from its seven Michelin starred restaurants to the brilliant bustle of the Mercato Centrale. For peaceful and romantic retreats, there are numerous opportunities for short trips to the surrounding landscapes and towns, allowing for blissful escapes into Italy’s rural life.
As the leading specialist in Italian holidays, Citalia will help make your trip to Florence a unique and unforgettable experience.
Across the cobbles of Florence’s streets, beneath the shuttered windows and quaint balconies there are hidden treasures, many close to the Arno River. Wander through the Piazza della Passera, which holds a wonderful respite from the energy of the centre. Here you can sample delicious gelato in the afternoon sunshine or enjoy wine from the surrounding vineyards, notably a Chianti, in one of the intimate bars. One evening you may even stumble upon a gathering of locals and visitors alike, mesmerised by an impromptu musical performance.
One of the finest panoramas of the city is to be found south of the river and at the top of the Bellosguardo Hill. Stroll along the secluded roads, away from not only the crowds but also modernity, where you will feel as if you’re visiting an Italy of the past. Catch glimpses of Florence through the trees, taking in the gorgeous terracotta roofs, making for a perfect picnic spot.
There is no shortage of cultural institutions within Florence and, alongside the prestigious Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia Gallery, you may find a host of fascinating museums. If you are captivated by the impressive Duomo then the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo will complement your interest, offering a closer look at the design and creativity behind the cathedral.
Florence is within a short and easy train journey of many wonderful towns and villages. Escape from the city with a journey into Fiesole where you’ll be able to wander along picturesque streets, passing centuries of history that can be explored in depth at the town’s archaeological area. Alternatively, for a greater experience of Tuscany, you can try our Tuscany Self-Drive Tour, which will take you across the region to experience the historical sights and some of the best wines.
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.
Bringing together the wider Tuscan specialities, delicious food and drink within Florence is abundant, with many dishes telling the history of the region. The Panino al Lampredotto, for instance, was once the dish of the working class Tuscans, and is now an emblem of Italian comfort food. Often served with a punchy herb blend or a hot sauce, and certainly with a bread strong enough to soak up the moorish juices, this is a fantastic sandwich to eat as you explore.
There is a luxurious, dome shaped dessert called Zuccotto that some stories claim was originally inspired by Brunelleschi’s architectural masterpiece. Although you’ll find many restaurants interpret it in their own way, the dish is most typically sponge cake soaked in alchermes, filled with whipped cream and decorated with sweet additions such as seasonal berries or chocolate. The alchermes, which was historically used as a medicinal liquid, is intensely sweet and aromatic, and the entire dessert feels wonderfully indulgent. An excellent treat to be shared.
Florence’s culture of wine can be seen on almost every street. You may even notice the buchette del vino, small windows scattered across the city, which were once used to discreetly sell wine to passers by. Some even retain a small plaque, detailing their hours of operation. Many modern bars and vendors will have confident expertise of the regional grapes and wines, allowing you to try some of the local favourites, notably Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti, and perhaps even their favourite Vin Santo.
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*.