Florence has been considered the epicenter of the Renaissance, a remarkable era marked by profound cultural, artistic, and intellectual advancements that spanned from the 14th to the 17th centuries. Renowned figures in the realms of art, literature, and philosophy, including Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Dante Alighieri, and Niccolò Machiavelli, were either born or resided in Florence during this period, rendering it a bustling hub of artistic and intellectual activity.
The city is also known for its delectable gelato, a classic frozen dessert that hails from Italy. Numerous gelato shops in Florence boast about having the finest gelato in the country, and sampling various flavors of this creamy treat is a popular pastime among both tourists and locals.
Florence is also famous for its leather goods and craftsmanship. The cuisine of Florence involves cooking with high-quality ingredients. Some popular, must-try dishes include Florentine steak (bistecca alla fiorentina), ribollita (a traditional vegetable and bread soup), and cantucci (a type of almond biscotti).
If you head to Florence in spring or summer, be prepared for the tourist-frenzy that awaits. A city best experienced by wandering and dining alfresco means that the spring to summer months are heaving, and this will impact your Florence day tours considerably. Try a visit in autumn for a more authentic Italian experience and lower costs.
Navigating this small-scale city requires a good pair of walking shoes, above all else. Here’s our travel breakdown of the best ways to find your way through Florence.
This compact city is best explored on foot. When considering what to do in Florence, be sure to ideally leave a whole day free to meander the laneways and piazzas and discover Florence’s lesser-seen gems. Florence is too small to require a train system of sorts. Rather, locals rely on their two feet or public buses to get around. Using the bus system is cheap and convenient for those with plenty of things to do in Florence but feeling less inclined to walk.
For places further afield or if you are in a hurry, taxis are your best bet. Be sure to hail a licensed cab, you can spot a registered taxi by its yellow and white paint markings and the meters inside.
Florence is famous for its opulent history, artistic heritage, and stunning architecture. Top attractions not to be missed in Florence include the iconic Florence Cathedral (Duomo), the renowned Uffizi Gallery, the Accademia Gallery (housing Michelangelo's David), the picturesque Ponte Vecchio, the grand Pitti Palace, the serene Boboli Gardens, and the panoramic Piazzale Michelangelo for stunning vistas of the city.
Florence can be pretty crowded during the peak tourist season. We recommend booking your Florence activities in advance to avoid the worst crowds and long queues. Consider going to Florence during the low season in spring or fall. If you are visiting during the peak season, make sure to visit popular Florence attractions either early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Booking skip-the-line tickets will also help you beat the crowd.
Florence is a relatively safe city, although you should always exercise caution when visiting somewhere new. Keep these travel tips in tow so your trip can go off without a hitch.
Petty thieves are known for operating in the city centre, particularly in busy tourist hotspots like the Piazza Duomo. Keep your valuables close by carrying your bag to your front and keep only small change where possible.
In an emergency, dial 112. Uncover the beauty of Florence’s narrow, less-populated laneways in the daytime or on one of the walking Florence tours by night. Wandering alone through dark and deserted streets is never a good idea.
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