Florence

Italian: Firenze

As the stream of day visitors and tour groups dries up, the right atmosphere begins for a quiet city stroll through Florence. Treat yourself to a romantic evening in the city of the Medici.

Florence is a city of great charm. At the same time, in the capital of the Tuscany region, visitors will find works of art from a history that hardly any other city has to offer. Because: Florence is the cradle of the Renaissance. The history of art in Florence is inextricably linked to the Medici family of bankers. They promoted young artists, so an innovative center of art and culture established itself in Florence. Artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Dante Alighieri, Giovanni Boccaccio, Filippo Brunelleschi, Sandro Botticelli, were able to unfold in Florence, leaving posterity with unmatched masterpieces.

Things To Do in Florence

Right in the center of Florence, there is the cathedral square. The religious center consists of the cathedral with the dome that can be seen from afar, the bell tower, and the baptistery. The monumental unit consists of three buildings, each of them is an architectural masterpiece in itself.

The Baptistery of San Giovanni was built in the Romanesque style and consecrated in the 11th century. The three gilded bronze portals are particularly impressive. Particularly well-known is Lorenzo Ghiberti’s Paradise Gate on the east side with ten scenes from the Bible.

Construction of the Cathedral Duomo began in the 13th century in the Gothic style. Filippo Brunelleschi was commissioned to build the dome. His interest was a large, magnificent dome. As soon as the dome was completed in 1436, the cathedral was dedicated to Santa Maria del Fiore. The magnificent Renaissance dome dominates the exterior of the cathedral. Statues were erected for the two master builders of the cathedral, which are to the right of the cathedral.

The highest point is the campanile, Giotto’s Bell Tower. It was designed by Giotto di Bondone and is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. Giotto was 68 years old and did not see the completion of his bell tower. The bell tower is 85 m high and has a pyramidal top.

Things to do in Duomo Square

  • Visiting the Cathedral Duomo. The visit is free. You don-t need any ticket, but you need time
  • Duomos Terraces: You need a ticket and there are 150 steps to climb to have a panoramic visit
  • Climbing to Brunelleschi’s Dome Cupola: You need a ticket and there are 463 steps to climb
  • Climbing to the campanile, Giotto’s Bell Tower: You need a ticket and there are 414 steps to climb
  • Visiting the Baptistery of San Giovanni: You need a combined ticket to access first the Museum and then the Baptistery.

The “power centre” of the city is Piazza della Signoria with the mighty Palazzo Vecchio (built in 1299-1314), the former seat of the head of the guild, the city domination and the residence of the Grand Duke. In front of Palazzo Vecchio is a copy of the famous marble statue of David (1501-1504) by Michelangelo Buonarroti. The monumental statue was created as a symbol of courage, the strength and dignity of the Florentine republic. The original of Michelangelo’s David can be admired in the Galleria dell’ Accademia.

The old bridge, as banal as the translation, is one of the most photographed bridges in the world and is the typical symbol of Florence on postcards. Once the small shops were occupied by butchers, today only jewellery shops are allowed on the bridge. In the middle of the bridge are arcades through which you can see the Arno.

Florence’s Uffizi Gallery is one of the world’s most famous art museums. It houses the largest collection of masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance. In addition, paintings by Italian, German, Flemish Dutch and French painters from the 13th to the 18th century are on display. We recommend visiting the Uffizi Gallery with an art historian. We will get the tickets for you so that you can enjoy the art collection without queuing up. In two hours you will see the most important works of art and get a good insight into the Florence of the Renaissance.

On the other side of the Arno, on the Boboli Hills, is the Palazzo Pitti with the gardens “Giardini Boboli.” Throughout its history, Palazzo Pitti housed the dynasties of the Medici, Lorena and the Savoy, when Florence was the capital of the newly created Italian Republic. With a wonderful view over the city, the one who climbs up the steep lanes to the Forte di Belvedere is rewarded.

We recommend that you book your tickets for the museums and art collections in Florence before your arrival. Tickets for the Galleria degli Uffizi are very popular and sell out well in advance. When we organize a tour or excursion to Tuscany for you, we take care of everything, including tickets.

You need tickets for the following museums:

  • Uffizi Gallery with free entry to the National Archaeological Museum and the Museum of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure
    The Galleria degli Uffizi is home to an immense artistic heritage with thousands of paintings and sculptures.
  • The Palazzo Pitti, the grand palace of the Florentine banker Luca Pitti, was built by the architect Filippo Brunelleschi. You can visit the Palatinate Gallery, the Gallery of Modern Art, the Treasury of the Grand Dukes and the Museum of Costumes and Fashion.
  • Boboli Gardens is an open-air museum with ancient and renaissance statues. Behind the Palazzo Pitti, the Medici family created an Italian garden that became a model for many European dishes.
  • The original of the statue of David (Michelangelo Buonarroti) is in the Galleria dell’Accademia.
  • Medici Chapel in the Basilica of San Lorenzo
  • Museum del Bargello
  • Palazzo Davanzati
  • San Marco Museum
  • Archaeological Museum

If you want to eat typical in Florence and like meat, then a Fiorentina is the right one. This juicy and delicate T-bone steak is a real pleasure. It’s still pink inside, but not bloody. The meat comes from Chianina beef from Tuscany and has a particularly good taste. A Florentina is enough for the whole family.

If you want to see a football match of the storied AC Fiorentina at the Artemio Franchi stadium, you’ve come to the right place.

Get to Know Florence

Let’s breathe a piece of the history of Florence. Like the other towns of Tuscany, Florence was already settled in antiquity, with Fiesole above Florence being founded even earlier. Florence had a strategic position on the Arno River and the Roman trade route Via Flaminia. In the Middle Ages, the once Roman city rose to become the Republic of Florence, a flourishing trading power. The plague raged in Florence in the 14th century, killing more than half of the population and causing famine and riots to devastate Florence. The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio comes from this period.
Wars and struggles for supremacy raged in Italy, Tuscany. The Medici family gained influence in Florence. The Medici dynasty attained great wealth through trade and skillful finance. With the money of the Medici, great buildings such as the Basilica of San Lorenzo di Firenze with the Medici chapels as the burial church of the Medici were built. Cosimo de ’Medici was a patron who promoted artists and scholars. Among them were the important artists whose names are still very familiar to us today and whose works of art in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence and in other art collections around the world astonish visitors. Among the most famous are Michelangelo Buonarroti, Sandro Botticelli, Niccolò Machiavelli and Leonardo da Vinci.

By car

If you can avoid it, you shouldn’t drive to Florence. You agonise through the traffic jam, look for the parking lot and risk driving into the limited traffic zone. Florence, as in most of Italy’s major cities, has limited traffic zones. They are marked with ZTL (zona traffico limitato). Among them there are zones where there is always a driving ban and some that can only be used at night and on weekends. In addition, there are the bans on certain types of vehicles by type of fuel and pollutant class. So, as a foreign motorist, you’re well advised to avoid these zones. The penalties are peppered and the penalty notice is sent to your home.
Parking
In the area of Santa Maria Novella at the station is the large parking garage “La Stazione”. Other car parks include Fortezza da Basso and “Sole” in Via del Sole.

By train

Florence is connected to the network of high-speed trains (treni di alte velocità). The Turin-Salerno and Venice-Salerno lines lead via Florence so you can easily travel on to Rome, Milan or Venice. The Frecciarossa or Italo takes you from Milan to Florence in 1.5 hours.

By air

From Florence Amerigo Vespucci Airport, a shuttle bus runs every half an hour to Santa Maria Novella Central Station. The journey time is about 20 minutes. From Pisa Airport you can take the shuttle bus to Florence, travel about 1 hour and from Bologna Airport it takes about 90 minutes to Florence by shuttle bus.

We combine your trip to Florence with exclusive hotels on favorable terms. This is not always easy, but we are usually able to do so. We have some handpicked places to stay. Book your hotel and place to stay with our experience

  • Four Seasons Hotel Florence (5 stars)
  • Helvetia & Bristol Hotel (5 stars)
  • Rocco Forte Hotel Savoy (5 stars)
  • Hotel Lungarno (5 stars)
  • Villa Cora (5 stars)
  • Villa sull ‘Arno (5 stars)
  • Golden Tower Hotel & Spa (5 stars)

Please include your desired hotel at the time of the inquiry, if this is important to you. Otherwise, the desired hotel category is enough for us. There are also very nice hotels with 4 stars that we can offer.

The whole of Florence city centre is limited traffic zone, which means that it is best to explore Florence on foot. Since many of the original paving stones are still in place, we recommend comfortable shoes. It’s also nice with a bike, when not everything is crowded. In Via S. Zanobi, 54R is a shop where you can rent bicycles: Florence by Bike. The bike rental “Mobike” has also arrived in Florence. You need the app to open the lock, find the bikes and pay the small rent. You can park the bike anywhere you want.

The medieval towns of Tuscany are admired by millions of visitors every year.

Places worth seeing include:

  • San Gimignano, with its 12th-century city center and 14 towers, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Volterra with its many contemporary testimonies from the Etruscan and Roman eras, as well as the buildings from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Souvenirs of alabaster, the translucent stone mined there.
  • Carrara, center of the famous white Carrara marble mined in the Apuan Alps. We are happy to organise a guided tour of a quarry and stonemason factory for you.
  • Fiesole above Florence with excavations from the Etruscan and Roman eras
  • Livorno, a major port city on the Ligurian Sea
  • The Art Nouveau seaside resort of Viareggio on the Versilia coast
  • The picturesque Pitigliano in the Maremma
  • Sorano’s cave dwellings in the Maremma
  • Porto Santo Stefano on the Monte Argentario Peninsula

Please contact us if you are interested in an organised tour of Tuscany. We design the trip according to your wishes.

Map of Florence in Tuscany

You can hover over the dots on the map to see the name of the city. A click will bring you to the page of that city.

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