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Hotel Brunelleschi | Italy
Available: May 30, 2021 - Dec 31, 2023
Villa La Massa | Italy
Available: May 16, 2022 - Apr 30, 2023
Villa La Massa | Italy
Available: May 16, 2022 - Apr 30, 2023
Florence, a charming city nestled among the Tuscan hills, has a long and storied history. Today, its cobbled streets and stately buildings still stir the soul – and the imagination. If you didn't know any better, you might think you had traveled back to the 14th century when you strolled down Via Tornabuoni.
But, the chic shops and fashionable Italians will remind you that you're very much in the present day. And while you're here, take in the Renaissance art, enjoy the gorgeous sunsets, and savor the delicious Italian cooking. Oh, and Florence's romantic charm is not to be missed.
After the Romans left, Florence was taken over by the Longobards, a Germanic people. Not long after, Florence became a city-state all on its own. In the 1300s, it became a leading powerhouse in trade thanks to its booming textile and wool industry, supported by a robust Florentine banking system.
Florence's power has always been in the hands of great families. The Medici family is the most notable example. The emphasis in Florence shifted from guilds to the republic and eventually into the hands of noble families. The Medici had control over Firenze for three centuries, and later much of Tuscany.
The Medici were a fun-loving bunch who helped Florence grow into the thriving city it is today. They were the driving force of the operation, and their influence helped Florence become the intellectual and cultural hub of Europe. During their time, the city witnessed an explosion of art and creativity.
Today, Florence is jam-packed with unique attractions, so much so that you could say the entire city is one big museum! No wonder it's on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
If you're looking to enjoy all that Florence offers, the best time to visit is between May and September. You'll be treated to beautiful weather, fantastic art festivals, and delicious open-air dining. Just be prepared for the crowds and higher hotel rates during the peak tourist season.
If you visit during the cooler months, you'll probably enjoy shorter lines at the Uffizi. However, you might experience temperatures as low as mid-30s Fahrenheit.
Florence is packed with things to see and do! Whether you're looking to explore world-famous museums or take in the stunning scenery, there's something for everyone in this beautiful city.
Why not go on a walking tour for a fun and educational way to spend your day in Florence? Several great tours will show you all the city's highlights. And what's even better, Florence Free Walking Tours offers daily tours in English. Just be sure to give your guide a little extra at the end.
You need to check out Take Walks for a tour of the city's art or history. They offer great walking tours that cover the city's art and history. Their guides are knowledgeable and always give you behind-the-scenes access to all the best sights.
Furthermore, Fat Tire Tours offers bike tours that are perfect for seeing all the city's best.
If you're looking for a breathtaking view of the city, make your way to the Piazzale Michelangelo. It's well worth the hike.
This popular spot was designed back in 1869, and today it's one of the best ways to take in the city's stunning skyline without spending a dime. And if you're lucky, you might spot the bronze cast of David amongst all the other bronze casts of Michelangelo's works.
National Museum of Bargello
The museum has been around since the 1300s. It's full of original works by Donatello, Antonio Rossellino, Bandinelli, and other Renaissance masters. Plus, it has the most extensive collection of Italian Renaissance and Gothic sculptures in the whole country. And it's only a short walk from the Piazza della Signoria. How convenient!
If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the Duomo, then Sant'Ambrogio is the perfect spot for you. This quaint district is full of charming old buildings and lovely little shops. And of course, the market here is not to be missed. Even though it's not as famous as the Central Market, it's worth visiting. You'll find a great selection of fresh produce, and the atmosphere is much more relaxed.
Moreover, during your stay, be sure to experience some of the delicious traditional foods Florence offers, like lampredotto and finocchiona. Also, don't forget to try the pecorino sheep's cheese and wash it all down with some of the local wines.
Furthermore, Trattoria Da Rocco is your place for a delicious Tuscan meal. This market is open Monday-Saturday from 7 am to 2 pm.
Are you looking for a unique and fun way to explore the Arno River? Then sign up for a stand-up paddleboarding session. Next, paddle your way beneath the Ponte Vecchio before retiring to a glass of delicious Chianti. Toscana SUP will take care of you.
Florence is known for its vineyards, and there are plenty of options for tours that will take you to visit a few of them. Most times last half a day and include some wine tastings.
You can arrange your tour if you have your vehicle. Just make sure you don't drink too much wine because then you won't be able to drive. Just be sure to stay sober if you're going. Many wineries also offer designated driver programs, so you can still enjoy some vino while someone else takes the wheel.
If you want to learn all about Florence's delicious cuisine, you need to take a food tour. You'll get to try the best dishes the city offers while also learning about the history and culture that make the cuisine so unique.
Moreover, with tours like Devour Tours, expert local guides will take you on an in-depth journey through the food culture, introducing you to all the best dishes. So if you're a foodie, you won't want to miss out on this tour.
In Italian culture, la Bella figura is everything! Translated as "the beautiful figure," it covers everything from a person's clothes to their manners and actions. To Italians, all of life should be beautiful.
Moreover, learning a few Italian phrases is a great way to impress Italians and make them like you even more. Italians are usually more than happy to help if they see you trying to speak the language.
Additionally, when you walk into any store or restaurant, remember to say hello to the employees. A Buongiorno as you come in, and an arrivederci as you leave, will do the trick.
"Ciao" is another excellent way to be polite. It's less formal than other options, but it's still perfectly acceptable in most situations. Just like in America, being polite and saying "Please" (per favore) and "Thank you" (Grazie) will go a long way in Italy too.
On Sundays, lots of places like restaurants and grocery stores remain closed. And even though some Florence attractions open early, lots of them close for a siesta after lunch. Also, check the hours of operation for attractions before you finalize your itinerary, as some places are closed one day each week.
Italians are also a lot less strict about personal space than Americans, so don't be surprised if they give more than a handshake when meeting for the first time. Instead, expect a kiss on the cheek or even on the mouth.
Furthermore, if you want to fit in with the locals, remember that reciprocation is key - so don't be shy about returning favors. And speaking of etiquette, try not to point with just your index finger - Italians tend to use all four fingers when gesturing. Finally, the official currency is the euro.
Florence is the perfect place to indulge in some of the world's most famous artists and enjoy delicious local cuisine or Michelin stars dishes - and wine from Tuscany.
If you're looking to save some money on your Florence vacation, head to Mercato Centrale Firenze for meat, fresh produce, cheese, and bread. You can create your delicious meal just like the Italians do. Plus, several top tours in Florence can also help you navigate the market.
Or, if you're in the mood for some delicious Italian food, Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco and Pitti Gola e Cantina are great choices. They're located near the Boboli Gardens, and travelers have praised them for their excellent food and atmosphere.
Moreover, if you're looking for a romantic dinner spot, Ristorante La Giostra is the perfect place! This intimate restaurant is known for its extensive wine list and gourmet cuisine. Plus, it's the former resting place of the Salvemini Square carousel to enjoy a little bit of history with your meal.
Tuscan cuisine is the way for some truly delicious and simple Italian food. Delicious pasta with just a few key ingredients is rich and flavourful, and there's also a great selection of fish and meat fish dishes. But, of course, no Tuscan meal would be complete without a healthy dose of olive oil.
Lastly, enjoy a delicious scoop (or two) of gelato. The key to finding the best gelato is to look for the stands with the darkest pistachio gelato — these are usually the most authentic and delicious ones. You'll find the best gelaterias in Oltrarno and around the Piazza di Santa Croce.
When it comes to finding a place to stay in Florence, you've got plenty of options. But with so many great choices, it can be tough to decide where to stay. So let's take a closer look at some of the best places to stay in this historic city.
If you're visiting Florence for the first time, check out the Centro Storico area. You can easily walk to major sights like the Duomo and the Uffizi, and you'll enjoy the atmosphere of the Renaissance city.
Moreover, Santo Spirito and Oltrano are two central neighborhoods close to the Arno River. They have lovely piazzas surrounded by wine bars and cafes, making them perfect places to relax and enjoy the good life.
Santa Croce is another lively neighborhood to explore in Florence. This area is next to the historic center and features a vibrant local market. You'll also find a large piazza in front of the iconic Santa Croce church.
San Niccolò is just a stone's throw from the historic city center. This charming area is famous for its lively restaurant scene, artisan workshops, and stunning city views.
Florence, Santa Maria Novella is another excellent option. There are many hotels and hostels in the area, so you're sure to find something that suits your needs. Just be careful when choosing your accommodation. Otherwise, you might end up in a less than a charming hotel.
Lastly, Fiesole is an excellent place to enjoy some breathtaking views of Florence. It is only a 10-15 minute drive from the city, making it the perfect day trip destination.
The choices are yours, from classic Palazzo Hotels with antique furniture to modern Boutique Hotels with a rooftop bar.
The main reason people travel is to experience different cultures and see historical landmarks. However, 70% of tourists stay at their hotel or resort instead of venturing out to explore.
The number of tourists visiting Florence is growing steadily. In the first 8 months of 2019, there was an increase of around 8 thousand visitors. Researchers believe that this trend will continue to preserve the city's history and beauty.
The study showed that tourists are pretty satisfied with their experience, but there's always room for improvement. Local transport, traffic, and accessibility for special needs guests could use a little boost. Improving the tourist system helps keep it relevant and generates income for other economic sectors.
Florence is a great city to explore on foot. You can easily walk across the center of the town in less than 30 minutes, and it's the best way to get around and see everything. But don't even think about renting a car here unless you want to drive in circles for hours. The streets are so narrow and winding that you'll never find your way out.
However, buses are a great way to get around the city. ATAF makes it easy and efficient to take the bus, and you can even buy tickets online or at select stations. Then, hop on the bus that Google Maps recommends, and you're good to go.
Additionally, taxis are an option! But be warned – their meters start at 3 euros, and prices only go up from there during evening hours and on Sundays. So if you're only looking to travel a short distance, it might not be the most economical choice. Besides, Uber's not available here anymore, but you can still grab a taxi on virtually any street.
Beware of pickpockets when exploring Florence. The Santa Maria Novella train station and city buses are hotspots for pickpocket activity. Keep your valuables close to you and be vigilant to avoid becoming a victim.
Be careful of other scams when walking around Florence, especially in crowded areas like the Duomo. Beware of strangers offering you "free" gifts. They may try to force the item into your hand and then demand payment. Instead, politely refuse their offers and go about your business.