As the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, it's no surprise that you could spend a lifetime exploring the historical buildings and art collections of Florence. The city led the way in architecture, opera, finance, navigation, science and, of course, art and sculpture. Sitting either side of the River Arno, the city is particularly beautiful as sunset casts a rosy glow over its buildings of honey-coloured Tuscan stone. And as the sun sets and evening starts, it's the perfect time to explore the delights of Florentine cuisine.
Things to Do
Spend some time exploring Florence on foot and you'll discover that much of it has hardly changed since the Renaissance, with narrow cobbled streets, elegant palazzi and fresco-decorated chapels around every corner. The city's museums and galleries are world class and everywhere you go you'll discover the work of Michelangelo, Botticelli and Brunelleschi. It's no surprise that the whole city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is, in fact, so much to do in the city that it's hard to know where to start!
The most famous gallery of all
The Uffizi Museum houses the world's premier collection of Renaissance art with works by the great masters such as Botticelli, da Vinci, Titian and Michelangelo. Tip: It's always wise to buy tickets in advance.
Inside the city's symbol
The 14th-century Duomo di Firenze is the city's symbol with the unique engineering feat of its huge gold dome designed by Brunelleschi. Climb the 464 steps that wind up inside it for a beautiful city panorama.
A city street on a bridge
Ponte Vecchio was first built during Roman days and has always been characterised by its wide arches and the wide arcades that line it. The arcades house a selection of jewellery and gift shops.
Calendar of Events
Many of Florence's annual festivals have roots going back into the mists of time and observing or joining in with them gives you a taste of city life as a local. Many take place in June and July, but whenever you come you are sure to find something going on whether it's to do with art and music or film and food.
Carnival. Carnival in February is a gorgeous celebration of local colour and culture. There are parades of floats and a cast of characters in both Renaissance costume and carnival outfits that reflect the wide ethnic diversity of contemporary Florence.
Patron Saint's Feast Day and Calcio Storico. St John the Baptist is honoured on 24th June with lavish celebrations across the city. The day marks the official start of Summer and concludes with the Calcio Storico, when football teams from different neighbourhoods play a hard-fought game wearing costumes that date from the 16th century.
Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. This music festival runs from late April through to June and sees a full programme of concerts, recitals, opera and ballet taking place across the city.