Florence is not only the capital of the Italian province of Tuscany, but also the capital of a whole era: the Renaissance! On a trip to Florence you will undoubtedly come into contact with the life works of such outstanding artists as Michelangelo, Raphael or Botticelli. Wealthy families like the Medicis have shaped the city of Florence for centuries as builders and patrons. The historic center of Florence has been completely preserved and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1982. A trip to Florence is a lesson in art, history, and culture, making it a perfect site for a last minute holiday, a minibreak, a romantic getaway or any type of trip to be honest.
Florence, as an Italian city, offers not only architecture and artistic treasures but also a wide range of opportunities to get active.
Around the Piazza della Repubblica you will find a selection of cafes, restaurants, and ice cream parlors right in the historic center. For those who prefer something more rustic, take a walk across the Santa Trinita Bridge to the other side of the river in the Oltrarno district. There, along the Via dello Sprone, you will find many traditional osterias and trattorias.
Our pirate tip: The aperitivo is an Italian institution which means that starting around 6pm you head for a cocktail, a glass of wine, or a beer at the nearest bar. Many bars in Florence also offer a small selection of appetisers for relatively little money to accompany your beverage. If you're looking for a wide variety of appetisers, check out the always-hopping Moyo near Ponte Vecchio.
The Palazzo Pitti, the Palazzo Vecchio, the Galleria dell'Academia, the Leonardo da Vinci Museum, and the Uffizi Gallery: Florence is full of collections, exhibitions, and museums and it makes sense to do your research to discover which one will interest you most. You may have trouble deciding on the spot—there are more than 70 in the city!
Among the classic art museums are more exotic collections, such as the Silver Museum, the Museum of the History of Science, or the Porcelain Museum.
In the Via de'Tornabuoni, you will find shops with names like Armani, Versace, and Prada, while footwear stores are mainly concentrated in Piazza Duomo. Many traditional Florentine handicraft shops are located in the Oltrarno area around Piazza Santo Spirito.
Nightlife is not exactly what Florence is famous for. However, as in any other major Italian city, there are a number of clubs and discos such as the laid-back Space Club or the elegant Rio Grande with four dance floors and two restaurants.
The early bird catches the worm! Early risers in Florence have a clear advantage. Nothing is better than enjoying an al fresco breakfast at a local cafe while the other tourists are still in bed or having breakfast at their hotels. Many authentic cafes open early in the morning, as it is common in Florence, as well as the rest of Italy, to stop for coffee on the way to work.
A visit to Florence can be combined with a trip to Pisa, which is just one hour away on the train. The extensive beaches at Viarregio are only an hour and a half away by train or car. The medieval town of Siena in turn is about one and a half hours south of Florence and is also easily accessible by bus and train.