If you’re asked to name three Italian cities, Florence would probably be one of them. It’s a beautiful city that’s been adored by visitors to Italy for centuries. And as more and more people take advantage of cheap flights through the low-cost airlines, ever more travellers and tourists are flocking to Florence for a week’s trip or even just the weekend.
Set in the beautiful region of Tuscany, Florence is awash with art and culture, as well as being a vibrant and modern city. It would be hard to do justice to do this city on a short trip, but whatever you decide to see and do in Florence, you’ll whet your appetite to go back for more.
Florence and the River Arno
The best view of Florence
There are lots of different vantage points and bell towers from which you can appreciate the beauty of Florence as a city, but probably none so atmospheric as the top of the Duomo, which is Florence’s black and white cathedral in the heart of the city. The best way to visit the Piazza Duomo is with a €10 pass that allows you access to all five attractions – Brunelleschi’s Dome, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Baptistery of San Giovanni Battista, the Crypt of Santa Reparata in Florence Cathedral and the Duomo Gallery. Much more reasonably priced than visits to similar monuments in other Italian cities, this ticket will cover you for a 24-hour period – so you can spread your visits in the Piazza Duomo over two days.
Witness Italian football fan passion first-hand
If you’re in Florence for history and culture, one thing you may not necessarily connect with Florence is football. But football is at the heart of Italian culture, after all. Florence’s home team, Fiorentina, plays in the top tier of Italian football, Serie A, which is the Italian equivalent to the Premier League in England. This year, the Florentine team are at the time of writing at odds of around 12/1 to win the title. This season is no exception, however, Fiorentina have been playing at the top of Italian football for the majority of the club’s time in existence.
If you happen to be in Florence when a home game is on and can get a ticket, you’ll be in for an atmospheric experience. The Stadio Artemio Franchi has a capacity of 47,290 and when you are in the stands, you’ll get a great view of rolling Tuscan Hills beyond the stadium itself. Due to the large capacity of the stadium, Fiorentina matches are always exciting, especially when you see the Ultra fan groups – La Vecchia Guardia Firenze – supporting their team on the Fiesole stand. For absolute peak excitement, try to get tickets to a game when Fiorentina play their biggest rivals, Juventus.
Renaissance art overload and a quirky tour
No visit to Florence would be complete without taking in the Uffizi gallery, where you’ll see some of the world’s finest Renaissance art, with works by famous artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Giotto and Michelangelo, as well as many more. The majority of the collection dates from 12th to 17th centuries. It will take you a good few hours to appreciate just some of the collection that the Uffizi gallery holds.
Another great museum to visit in Florence is the Palazzo Vecchio. Today it is the town hall of Florence, but it has had varying uses over the centuries. The Medici family lived here before moving over the River Arno to the Palazzo Pitti (another must-see for any first-time visitor to Florence).
There are different tours to do in the Palazzo Vecchio, but the best has to be the Secret Passages tour where you’ll go through a number of different hidden corridors, as well as visiting the private, secret studios of Cosimo and Francesco Medici. On the tour, you even get to climb up into the roof space and see how it was constructed to withstand earthquake tremors. As you leave the Palazzo Vecchio, you’ll pass a copy of one of the world’s most famous statues – Michelangelo’s David.
Piazza della Signoria
So there you have it. That is just a few ideas of how you can spend time in Florence, but there will always be more to see in this beautiful city, so don’t count on one trip being enough.
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