Florence is among the most beautiful Italian cities. Yes, it doesn’t look so ancient and mighty as Rome, but it amazes visitors with the elegance of its architecture and abundance of art masterpieces. Florence gave the world many famous artists and doers, including Leonardo DA Vinci, Michelangelo, Dante and Galileo.
It was Florentine dialect that formed the basis of modern Italian. And it’s here in Florence, a famous Italian sailor and explorer Amerigo Vespucci was born. And it was Florence, where Renaissance was actually started.
Florence is a perfect destination for everyone who is interested and appreciates Italian history and culture. Almost the whole historical center of Florence is one large open-air museum. Its every corner, building and sculpture is unique and has great historical and cultural significance.
5 must see attractions
Address: Piazza del Duomo
Grandiose dome of the Florence Cathedral is shown in the vast majority of tourist postcards and souvenirs, and there are good reasons for this. It’s the world’s 5-th largest cathedral that can fit up to 30,000 people! Special mention deserves its facade decorated with multicolored marble tiles and variety of sculptures.
Address: Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6
Uffizi Gallery keeps one of the most important art collections in the world. To the delight of ordinary tourists and true connoisseurs of art, Uffizi Gallery, occupying an area of 13,000 square meters, is full of artwork by Italian and foreign artists of the 13 – 18th centuries.
Basilica di Santa Croce
Address: Piazza Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, 12
The Gothic Basilica di Santa Croce is one of the largest ones in the city and is also considered the largest Franciscan church in the whole country. Most tourists are attracted by unique chapels of the church that are decorated with interesting frescoes by famous Italian masters.
Address: Piazza Signoria 1
Palazzo Vecchio is an architectural gem with luxury and pompous interior. In addition to admiring architectural excellence of the palace, you will also enjoy a nice collection of beautiful paintings and sculptures.
Address: Via della Pergola, 12/32
The theatre is located in historical center of the city just 200 meters to the east of the Florence Cathedral. Not many tourists know that Pergola Theatre is among the most ancient ones in the world. Its building was constructed in 1656 and it is here, Verdi’s Macbeth was given its first world premiere.
Main features of Florence shopping
Florence is not only an ideal place to rest and to get acquainted with the art of the Renaissance, but also a quite popular shopping center. In Florence, you can buy interesting souvenirs and gifts for freeness or family, different cute and funny handmade accessories and branded Italian clothing from the latest collections.
The most fashionable shops are located at Via dei Tornabuoni Street. There you’ll see clothing of such famous brands as Versace, Armani and Gucci. If you are mainly focusing on purchasing Italian luxury clothing and accessories you can also take a stroll along the Via della Vigna Nuov Street.
Florence is rightfully considered a city of jewelry craftsmen. Connoisseurs of stylish, elegant and, what is more important, unique jewelry must definitely visit Ponte Vecchio. It’s the oldest bridge in the city dating back 1345. First, there were only butcher shops on Ponte Vecchio, but nowadays, the bridge is considered an important architectural landmark. Only the most prestigious jewelry stores operate here.
Those looking for some antiquarian things will find a lot of interesting stuff at Via Maggio and S. Spirito. And finally, tourist with tight budgets will be more than delighted by affordable prices in different outlets located out of the city itself. The most popular place with a great selection of qualitative goods is The Moll.
When planning your shopping day in Florence, you should take into account that most shops and malls operate from 9am to 1pm and from 4pm to 8pm. Traditionally, there are two seasons of sales in Florence. Winter sales starts on first Monday of January and last about 60 days, whereas summer sales are held from early July.
Exploring Florence surroundings
About 85 km to the west of Florence, you’ll find a small town of Pisa with the world-famous leaning tower. Two hour car trip to the north of Florence and you are exploring delicious cuisine of Bologna – the city with the European oldest university and almost 40 km of elegant porticos.
Other interesting places worth mentioning are towns of Lucca, Pistoia, Arezzo, Siena and Cortona. Although they all are small and don’t have many historical sights, they attract visitors by their pleasant and cozy atmosphere of the Italian provincial towns.
Transport in Florence
Public transport in Florence consists of hundreds of bus lines and single tram line. There is no subway in the city. You can check out the bus schedules on the official website of ATAF (local transportation company).
The cheapest ticket costs 1.2 EUR and is valid 90 minutes. If you plan to use public transport quite often, then it is preferable to purchase tickets valid for the whole day (costs 5 EUR). Tickets can be purchased at newsstands or any other place marked with the orange inscription “ataf”. Remember that a fine of 45 EUR will apply for travel without a ticket!
Taxi in Florence isn’t the best way to explore the city, and you’ll understand why after getting acquainted with their rates. For instance, 3-kilometer trip will cost you 4.5 EUR plus 1 EUR if you have some baggage. There are also additional fees for taking taxi at night or on Sunday.
In general, Florence is a compact city and all major tourist attractions are located not far from each other. But if you would like to explore nearest provincial cities or do shopping in the outlets located out of the city limits, then probably you should consider renting a car. You can check actual prices online: http://italy.rentalcars24h.com/florence-airport/florence-airport-car-rental-return
Author Bio: Lily Berns tries to provide readers with useful info regarding their travels. She likes to find special places for pleasant vacation in Italy.