Italy as a whole is known for its beauty and romance – nowhere is this truer than the wonderful city of Florence. Found in the Tuscany region of Italy, it has a population of around 400,000 locals. This number is swelled each year by the tourists who flock there to see all it has to offer.
The central location of Florence is great for travellers as it makes it very easy to get to other destinations in Italy. The general travel advice is that the best time to visit Italy is during spring and fall due to fewer crowds. The temperatures are also more comfortable then compared to summer – if you are keen to see the Tuscany region in full bloom though, you would need to go in June. But what must you do once settled into your hotel here?
Known simply as the Duomo by locals, Florence cathedral is an iconic cultural landmark. First built in 1436, it is found right in the heart of the city and is easy to get to. The façade of the Duomo is breathtaking, with white marble covering it and gorgeous architecture to take in. The interior is similarly grand and holds the Last Judgement fresco to gaze at.
Although the Duomo is probably the major tourist attraction in Florence, there are plenty of others to see once you have done that. Giotto’s Campanile, for example, boasts a fabulous Gothic feel and awesome Renaissance design to dazzle visitors with. One of the other main buildings in Florence which you should see is the Palazzo Vecchio. This grand palace looks like a castle from the outside and was once the most important administrative building in the city. Other attractions to see here include the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge and the wonderful Iris Gardens, which are only open for visitors to admire for two weeks every May.
Many people come to Florence for the world-class artwork that is on show here. Even wandering around the city will see you come across many fabulous statues in the various piazzas you find, although many will make an effort to visit the Uffizi Gallery. This is one of the most iconic art galleries on the planet and has works from many famous artists such as Titian, Raphael and Carravaggio. The Bargello Museum is also worth checking out for the fabulous Renaissance artwork and sculptures it contains. From Donatello to Michelangelo, the Bargello has works from some of the finest artists in history.
All that culture may leave you feeling hungry or thirsty – the great news is that the food scene in Florence is superb. Although not local to Florence, pizza is easy to find here, as is authentic pasta. The top local dish is a steak creation, known as ‘bistecca alla fiorentina’. In terms of drink, the whole region of Tuscany is famous for its wine. Red lovers will enjoy the local Chiantis while a local white called Vernaccia di San Gimignano is very appealing. The great thing about the food scene here is that there are lots of cafes and restaurants to try out, wherever you are in the city.
Florence, the Jewel in Italy’s Crown
We all know that Italy is home to many fabulous destinations, from Rome to Venice. However, Florence is arguably the cultural jewel in the country’s crown. One thing is for sure – you will not regret spending some time here.
For more ideas on where to go, see our Travel Guides.