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Guide to Florence

Once known as the Athens of the Middle Ages.  Today, Florence is the jewel in Italy’s cultural crown with much to fascinate and intrigue any visitor.

Florence is the capital and largest city in the region of Tuscany, on Italy’s west coast.  It is home to around half a million inhabitants. 

Since it was founded first century B.C., Florence has had a reputation as one of the world’s most innovative cities, making many contributions to civilisation.  It is well-known as the birthplace of Renaissance art.  Where Dante founded the Italian language; where legendary artists Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo rubbed shoulders, and as one of the wealthiest cities in the world, was also the origin of the banking industry. 

Today, Florence remains a fascinating and beautiful city.  It has been described as a walking museum, and is small enough to see on foot. 

The centre of Florence is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with stunning art and architecture in abundance.  It was here that influential Renaissance architect Filippo Brunelleschi designed the city’s magnificent gothic cathedral, the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, more widely known as the Duomo.  The must-see cathedral is located at Piazza del Duomo.  It is a magnificent piece of architecture, and one of the country’s largest churches, with the largest brick dome in the world.  Brunelleschi is honoured by a statue on site.  Entrance is free, but there is often a long line to get in.  Pay to climb the dome for an extraordinary view over Florence.

From here you can walk to the impressive Romanesque Palazzo Vecchio, the town hall of Florence.  Don’t be fooled by the statute of David, it is a replica.  Michelangelo’s original famous nude can be seen at the city’s Accademia Gallery.

If on a budget, buy a Firenze card.  This 72 hour card gives users free admission to public transport and many of the city’s major museums, such as the Museo di Palazzo Vecchio and Galleria d’arte moderna. 

End a day’s sightseeing by heading towards the San Niccolò area, on the left bank of the River Arno.   Here you’ll find the Piazza Poggi tower (also known as the Torre di San Niccolo) which offers beautiful views over the city.  If feeling brave, climb the 161 steps to the top.  From here you can see up to the Piazzale Michelangelo.  Afterwards, take a hard-earned refreshment and rest in the neighbourhood’s typical Florentine bars or restaurants and enjoy the excellent Tuscan food and drink.

There is always something to enjoy in Florence.  It celebrates all year round with many festivals and events such as opera and theatre seasons, design week, fashion week, and even a gelato festival!


Top Hotel Deals

See all 5,621 properties in Florence
Aurum Firenze £47
Aurum Firenze

Aurum Firenze

Via Nazionale 8/a, Florence
     
    4.0
    of 5, from 24 reviews
    4.0 out of 5.0

    Located in Santa Maria Novella, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Via Faenza and Santa Maria Novella Basilica and Museum. Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower and San Lorenzo Church are also within 10 minutes. Florence Santa Maria Novella Station is only a 5-minute walk and Stazione Porta al Prado, Florence, Italy is 16 minutes.

    Hotel Bonciani Palazzo Pitti Broccardi £40
    Hotel Bonciani Palazzo Pitti Broccardi

    Hotel Bonciani Palazzo Pitti Broccardi

    Via Panzani 17, Florence
       
      3.1
      of 5, from 1,247 reviews
      3.0 out of 5.0

      Located in Duomo, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Via Faenza, Santa Maria Novella Basilica and Museum and Florence Baptistery. Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower and San Lorenzo Church are also within 10 minutes. Florence Santa Maria Novella Station is only a 4-minute walk and Stazione Porta al Prado, Florence, Italy is 16 minutes.

      Grand Hotel Cavour £76
      Grand Hotel Cavour

      Grand Hotel Cavour

      Via Del Proconsolo 3, Florence
         
        4.3
        of 5, from 1,685 reviews
        4.0 out of 5.0

        Located in Duomo, this family-friendly Florence hotel is steps away from Badia Fiorentina and Bargello. Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower and Piazza della Signoria are also within 5 minutes. Florence Santa Maria Novella Station is 14 minutes by foot and Florence Campo Di Marte Station is 24 minutes.

        Hotel Spagna £31
        Hotel Spagna

        Hotel Spagna

        Via Panzani, 5, Florence
           
          2.8
          of 5, from 534 reviews
          2.0 out of 5.0

          Located in Duomo, this hotel is steps away from Medici Chapels and Santa Maria Novella Basilica and Museum. Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower and Florence Baptistery are also within 10 minutes. Florence Santa Maria Novella Station is only a 5-minute walk and Stazione Porta al Prado, Florence, Italy is 16 minutes.

          Hotel Albani Firenze £79
          Hotel Albani Firenze

          Hotel Albani Firenze

          Via Fiume 12, Florence
             
            4.3
            of 5, from 1,380 reviews
            4.0 out of 5.0

            Located in Santa Maria Novella, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Via Faenza, Santa Maria Novella Basilica and Museum and Fortezza da Basso. San Lorenzo Church and Florence Baptistery are also within 10 minutes. Florence Santa Maria Novella Station is 5 minutes by foot and Stazione Porta al Prado, Florence, Italy is 17 minutes.

            Hotel Pendini £85
            Hotel Pendini

            Hotel Pendini

            Via Strozzi 2, Florence
               
              4.5
              of 5, from 1,362 reviews
              3.0 out of 5.0

              Located in Duomo, this romantic hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Piazza della Repubblica, Florence Baptistery, and Piazza della Signoria. Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower and Ponte Vecchio are also within 10 minutes. Florence Santa Maria Novella Station is 9 minutes by foot and Stazione Porta al Prado, Florence, Italy is 19 minutes.

              Grand Hotel Minerva £118
              Grand Hotel Minerva

              Grand Hotel Minerva

              Piazza Santa Maria Novella 16, Florence
                 
                4.7
                of 5, from 345 reviews
                4.0 out of 5.0

                This family-friendly Florence hotel is located in the historical district, just steps away from Piazza di Santa Maria Novella and Santa Maria Novella Basilica and Museum. Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower and Florence Baptistery are also within 10 minutes. Florence Santa Maria Novella Station is only a 5-minute walk and Stazione Porta al Prado, Florence, Italy is 15 minutes.

                TSH Florence Lavagnini £47
                TSH Florence Lavagnini

                TSH Florence Lavagnini

                Viale Spartaco Lavagnini 70 72, Florence
                   
                  4.3
                  of 5, from 80 reviews
                  3.0 out of 5.0

                  Located in San Lorenzo, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Accademia Gallery, Florence Baptistery and Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower. Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio are also within 1 mi (2 km). Florence Statuto Station is 10 minutes by foot and Florence Santa Maria Novella Station is 13 minutes.

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