The birthplace of the Renaissance is an art lover’s dream but it’s hard to imagine a prettier picture than the views of this romantic city from the river Arno that runs through it. Florence’s streets have surprisingly changed little since the Renaissance and tucked away in its narrow lanes are stories of the great men and ladies who lived here not to mention some very fine dining opportunities indeed or the fashion boutiques to explore that bear testament to the city that gave birth to both Gucci and Roberto Cavalli.
Areas & Neighbourhoods in Florence
Piazza del Duomo - At the heart of Florence this square exerts an irresistible pull containing the Renaissance architect Brunischelli’s exquisite Duomo amongst other delights. Nearby the Museo Nazionale del Bargello is crammed with artistic treasures.
Via de' Tornabuoni - This is where Florence’s fashionistas hang out as designer boutiques parade their wares. If you need to know the price you probably can’t afford it!
North of the Duomo - This busy quarter is the best area for shopping and at its centre is the vast covered Mercato Centrale and an intriguingand rather hectic street market.
South of the River (Oltrarno) - More swanky shops and architectural delights can be discovered by crossing the Ponte Vecchio. Here you will also find the expansive Bóboli Gardens.
Things to See in Florence
Many of the towers in churches and palaces offer commanding views over the city including those in the Palazzo Vecchio the dome of the Cathedral Giotto's Bell Tower or San Miniato al Monte (where at Vespers you can appreciate the view to the accompaniment of monks singing). The development of Renaissance art can be traced by visiting the Uffizi (where Michelangelo’s sculptures await alongside many other canonical works of art) and the Bargello. The true beauty of Florence however lies all around you - take a tour or just let your feet do the walking.
Things to Do in Florence
Florentine cuisine is a by-word for excellence and there are no shortage of opportunities to sample it in the city. Take a trip out to the surrounding countryside and Chianti vineyards to escape the crowds and indulge your senses. There is plenty of retail therapy to be had in any of the city’s marvellous shopping districts. Opera was born here so this is the perfect place to enjoy a night of arias but it’s hard to tear yourself away from the delights of an evening stroll with gelato in hand.