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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 2,652 Hotels in Florence
£80
Grand Hotel Cavour

Grand Hotel Cavour

Via Del Proconsolo 3, Florence
4.2
of 5, from 507 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

This Florence hotel is 150 meters from the Bargello Museum and 250 meters from Dante’s House, the Piazza del Duomo, and the Badia Fiorentina. The Duomo Works Museum is 300 meters away.

Hotel Franchi

Hotel Franchi

Via Sgambati Giovanni 28, Florence
3.6
of 5, from 94 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Located in Peretola, this hotel is within 3 mi (5 km) of Cascine Park, Fortezza da Basso, and Santa Maria Novella Basilica and Museum. Villa di Castello and Meyer Children's Hospital are also within 3 mi (5 km).

£89
Relais Piazza Signoria

Relais Piazza Signoria

Via Vacchereccia 3, Florence
4.6
of 5, from 73 reviews
0.0 out of 5.0

Located in Duomo, this apartment is steps from Loggia dei Lanzi, Palazzo Vecchio, and Uffizi Gallery. Ponte Vecchio and Piazza della Signoria are also within 5 minutes.

£79
Borghese Palace Art Hotel

Borghese Palace Art Hotel

Via Ghibellina, 174r, Florence
4.1
of 5, from 419 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Tucked away on a quiet street, this Florence hotel is about 5-minute walk from the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (Il Duomo), Uffizi Gallery, Palazzo Vecchio, and many other famous attractions.

£83
Hotel Albani Firenze

Hotel Albani Firenze

Via Fiume 12, Florence
4.3
of 5, from 495 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Although located just one block from the bustling Santa Maria Novella Station, this early 20th-century townhouse is set on a quiet street in central Florence, one kilometer from the Duomo. Hotel Albani Firenze also is near Fortezza da Basso, Palazzo dei Congressi, Centro Affari, Santa Maria Novella Church, San Lorenzo's Market, and San Lorenzo Church.

£135
Grand Hotel Minerva

Grand Hotel Minerva

Piazza Santa Maria Novella 16, Florence
4.7
of 5, from 82 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Dating back to the Middle Ages, this grand residence is one of the oldest hotels in Florence and occupies the charming Santa Maria Novella piazza, 150 meters from the main train station.

£54
Hotel Cosmopolitan

Hotel Cosmopolitan

Via F. Baracca, 187, Florence
4.4
of 5, from 264 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

A 10-minute drive from Florence Peretola Airport airport, Hotel Cosmopolitan is within a 15-minute drive of Florence's city center, the Cathedral of Santa Maria dei Fiori, and the Statue of David at Galleria dell' Accademia.

£69
C-Hotels Ambasciatori

C-Hotels Ambasciatori

Via Luigi Alamanni 3, Florence
3.9
of 5, from 193 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

C-Hotels Ambasciatori is surrounded by masterpieces. It's a 6-minute walk to the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, 10 minutes to Florence's Duomo, and 15 minutes to Galleria dell’Accademia - which houses Michelango's David and Botticelli’s Madonna and Child.

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