Italy, Europe

  • Florence View 1

    Exquisite beauty in the Cradle of the Renaissance

How to enjoy Florence

For lovers of art, architecture, literature and history Florence is a real treat. Dante, Botticelli, Donatello, Galileo Galilei, Giotto, Michaelangelo, Raphael and da Vinci have all called the city home and much of their work is on show here

  • Marvel at Giotti’s frescoes in the Basilica of Santa Croce; its cavernous interiors and marble will feel cool in even the hottest of Italian summers
  • Oltrarno is the artisan’s quarter—it contrasts with the opulence of the museums, but is no less fascinating with artists’ studios and workshops
  • Take a break from culture and savor a long and hearty meal at one of the city’s numerous and excellent trattorias

Just as Florence was a magnet for artists during the Renaissance, today it is a magnet for lovers of their work. Admittedly there can be long lines for the most popular museums, including the Uffizi (Botticelli’s Birth of Venus) and the Accademia (Michaelangelo’s David). The trick is to visit out of season, or invest in a Firenze Card. The latter gives you free entry to the city’s 67 museums for three days and most importantly allows you to bypass the ticket line for each one.

For utterly breathtaking views, head to the top of the Duomo’s Cupola. With 463 steps to the top of the Cupola and 414 to the viewing platform at the top of the Campanile, it might not just be the view that takes your breath away. For romance, it’s hard to beat the beauty of the Ponte Vecchio. The store-lined bridge has hosted jewellers and goldsmiths since the 1300s. For upscale shopping see Via Tornabuoni, and wander the cool and elegant boutiques of local designers Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo and Roberto Cavalli.

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    When to visit Florence

    Visit during Easter for cool temperatures and a chance to see the Scoppio del Carro. This 400 year-old Easter Sunday tradition sees an enormous, highly decorated wagon pulled through the streets by white oxen before it is exploded (quite literally) with fireworks and spectacular pyrotechnics.

Hotels we adore in Florence

  • Gourmet guide

    While you’re in Florence treat your tastebuds at the three-Michelin starred Enoteca Pinchiorri—the temple of taste—only two minutes walk from the Palazzo della Signoria.

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