The picturesque city of Florence has a great deal to offer, and not just to those with an interest in art and culture: the ancient city lies on the River Arno, and combines magnificent Renaissance buildings with a very Italian lust for life. Here’s where you can enjoy la bella vita and learn why Florence is worth visiting.
City of sights
If you visit Florence, you should really plan to stick around for at least a few days. The capital of Tuscany is bursting at the seams with beautiful architecture, idyllic squares and amazing shopping opportunities. So which of the countless sights should you be sure not to miss?
You’ve got to cross this bridge : the famous Ponte Vecchio links the historic city centre with the Oltrarno quarter, and is one of the oldest segmental arch bridges in the world . There are dozens of small shops directly on the Ponte Vecchio itself – these are full of jewellery businesses, and a great place to go rummaging about for something nice.
Centre of the Old Town: Around the Piazza della Signoria , magnificent Renaissance buildings such as the Palazzo Vecchio and the Loggia dei Lanzi line up one after the other. The square itself was once home to Michelangelo’s famous Statue of David , although this has since been replaced with a copy. The original can be admired at the Museum Galleria dell’ Accademia today.
Insiders will tell you that the Boboli Garden (Giardino di Boboli) is the loveliest park in all Florence! This is a place which combines nature and art. Alongside trees offering shade, statues and fountains, it has fascinating caves designed by artists. There’s also a fantastic view out over the city!
Shopping fans: don’t forget to go shopping! A visit to Italy without going shopping would be unimaginable. The best place to go to do this is the Via de’ Tornabuoni . On the most elegant shopping street in Florence, you’ll be tempted by the classy boutiques of Italian fashion designers. A souvenir from Gucci, perhaps? Or would you prefer Versace?
Culinary insider tips
Where else can you enjoy such amazing culinary experiences as much as with the Italians? One of the best Florentine addresses for pasta is the rustic Trattoria da Mario in the market quarter. Or if you’re looking for something sweet, you should seek out one of the numerous ice cream parlours on hot days, like the Gelateria La Carraia on Piazza N. Sauro. And fans of good wine should make sure they enjoy a glass of deep red Chianti , whose grapes flourish in the Tuscan vineyards surrounding the city. The best place to do this is in a traditional wine bar with a view onto the Arno…
Florence inside – what not everyone knows
- Florence has its own system of house numbers : blue and black numbers indicate residential houses. Red numbers mean restaurants and shops.
- The most typical dish in the city is neither pizza nor pasta, but a T-bone steak by the name of bistecca alla fiorentina .