Florence at a glance
Florence is a Renaissance city famous for its art and architecture and its center is a protected World Heritage Site by Unesco. Steeped in history and culture, it is the home to works of the masters (Botticelli, Michelangelo and Da Vinci to name a few) and a perfect base to explore Tuscany and the Chianti countryside.
Florence cheat sheet
Get the best of Florence in no time:
- Dining: you can eat well in the majority of restaurants in Florence, just maybe avoid the ones right on piazza Duomo if you want a more authentic experience.
- Food: the local specialities are fried vegetables (verdure pastellate), stake Bistecca alla fiorentina, beans (fagioli all’uccelletto), around september you can get some fresh porcini mushrooms.
- Churches: the Duomo (Santa Maria del Fiore) there always a long queue to visit.
- Museums: Uffizi if you like medieval and renaissance art, the original David by Michelangelo is at Galleria dell’Accademia, cappella Brancacci is in the Oltrarno in piazza del Carmine.
- Florence city structure: Florence is divided by the river Arno, the citizens calls the center the area of the station, the duomo and Piazza della Signoria, where the Palazzo Vecchio is located. Then on the other side of the Arno river you have the Oltrarno neighbourhood rich with restaurants, bars and hangout places for Florentine people. You also find Piazzale Michelangelo in this area.
- David di Michelangelo: there are 2 replicas of the David di Michelangelo one is located in the Piazza della Signoria in front of the Town-all (Palazzo Della Signoria), the other is at the center of Piazzale Michelangelo. The original is in the Galleria dell’Accademia.
Florence – Food and drink
The most famous dish is undoubtedly the fiorentina steak which you can enjoy in many of the local restaurants. There are of course other dishes that are worth trying while you here. However, if you like steak, you don’t want to miss this opportunity! We recommend ‘Il latini’ not just for the food, but for the whole experience. Be warned – book ahead!
The N°1 Outdoor activity in Florence: eBikes
Electric bikes are a great way to explore the areas surrounding Florence, for example the Fiesole area which is a beautiful town on the hill on the side of Florence. You can book good quality and powerful enough electric bikes at ebikesflorence.com
Piazzale Michelangelo and Giardino delle rose
As you walk from Ponte Vecchio up to Piazzale Michelangelo (which is a must here!), you will pass by the quiet entrance of the Giardino delle Rose. Make sure to have a stroll here – it’s free entry and a lovely place. Even when the roses are not in bud, you will get lost in the contemplation of the serene sculptures.
Florence at night
For a taste of a real Florentine hangout after dark, cross the bridge from the centre and enjoy a walk in the oltrarno neighbourhood. (Oltrarno literally means beyond the river arno). Make your way to Piazza Santo Spirito where you often find free concerts and young people hanging out from dusk. You’ll also find decent trattorias and restaurants here.
Florence nearby tours
You can do many day tours from Florence; San Gimignano, Siena and the Chianti region are not too far. If you want to spend the day doing some nice walks without having to rent a car or go on an organised trip, jump on a local bus and head to Fiesole. There you can enjoy over 70 miles of walking trails on the hills and then treat yourself to a nice bite at one of the petit restaurants in the main square.
Relax at the spa
After a few hours walking around the city center or Florence, you may want to enjoy a couple of hours getting a relaxing massage, steam bath or hydro massage. Not far from the centre, near the fortezza, there is a spa centre where you can enjoy all of that. Check their website as they often have seasonal promotions.
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