You don’t have to be a world-famous painter to experience the beauty and excitement of Florence, Italy—but it would help. Once the stomping ground of Giotto, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and a slew of other artistic geniuses, Florence is home to rich history and stunning views, inside and outside its numerous museums and galleries. Despite its lean toward high culture, Florence keeps its cool with a vibrant nightlife, peaceful gardens and more delicious panzanella than you could possibly eat on one holiday. Challenge accepted? Pack your bags.
Florence hotels are plentiful, so your only conundrum will be deciding which gorgeous buildings or riverfront views you’ll want to see from your windows. On the north side of the Arno River, book accommodation near Duomo for easy access to some of the best sights in town.
Things to Do in Florence
Let us not forget that Florence is in Tuscany, so you can expect to be followed by sunshine (and amazing food and wine) wherever you go. If you stay near Duomo, Cathedral of Santa Maria dei Fiore, be sure to admire the famous dome designed by Filippo Brunelleschi—no big deal. From there, you’re a short walk through tourists and photo ops to Giotto’s Bell Tower and Duomo Museum, where you can climb a lot of stairs and learn more about the historic architecture and culture you’re about to explore. Also nearby, you can escape the crowds in the sculpture garden at Palazzo Vecchio before you shop your way across Ponte Vecchio. Yes, you can shop on a bridge in Florence. If you’re up for more climbing, head to the Oltarno neighbourhood, south of Arno River, for the best panorama of the city from the Piazzale Michelangelo. While you’re in Oltnaro, go on an afternoon shopping spree on Via de Bardi. You won’t see any designer flagships here, but you can snatch up some one-of-a-kind finds from independent artisans keeping the traditions alive. Amid all the sightseeing, don’t forget to eat! The Teatro District, to the north of the Basilica di Santa Croce, is a foodie’s dream come true with open-air dining and a relaxed but busy nightlife. If you eat a little too much tortellini, that’s OK—sleep off the food coma in cosy Florence accommodation and wake up to a perfect cappuccino.
Getting To & Around Florence
Book flights to Florence Airport-Peretola (FLR), just 10 km northwest of the city centre. From the airport, you can catch a bus or taxi to your hotel in Florence, but after that, this is a walker’s city. Buses are very reliable and available throughout all neighbourhoods if you’re looking for accessible transit. Otherwise, pack your walking shoes.
Best Time to Visit Florence
Any time is a good time to visit this Tuscan gem, even during the warmer months (May–September), as the heat draws people outside for alfresco dining and the lazy summertime nightlife. In winter, a light coating of snow makes the buildings look downright magical. You’ll score the best deals on airfare and accommodation in Florence when you book your Florence holiday with Wotif, so get on that already!