Florence Travel Guide
Florence – the city of Dante, Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci is one of the best cultural destinations in the world. Very few places allow you to feel such monumentality, from the works of art of the Uffizi to the magnificent view of the Duomo become fascinating scenarios.
Shopping in the markets, boutiques and craft shops of Florence, visiting the wine cellars of Tuscany, taking boat trips on the Arno River or admiring the frescoes, sculptures and paintings in its churches and galleries are magnetic experiences that leave a deep impression.
- Top 5 reasons to visit Florence
- What to do in Florence
- Interesting Tours in Florence
- When to visit Florence
- How to get to Florence
- Where to stay in Florence
- Cost of living in Florence
- Where to eat in Florence
Top 5 reasons to visit Florence
Florence is synonymous with art. It was one of the cradles of the Italian Renaissance in the 14th and 15th centuries, and has works such as Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus or Michelangelo’s David, exhibited in the Uffizi Gallery and the Academy Gallery, respectively. If you like art, you must visit them.
The Renaissance also left a legacy of beautiful buildings. Florence has beautiful architecture, dotted with its most famous buildings and impressive churches such as San Lorenzo and Santa Croce, where Michelangelo and Machiavelli rest.
Wine tourism in Tuscany
From Florence, you can explore Tuscany. Sign up for a tour to discover the wine of Tuscany, which includes the best vintages in the area, picturesque villages, local cheeses and historical sites.
Florence is one of the most famous gastronomic destinations in the world. Don’t miss its gourmet restaurants, such as Enoteca Pinchiorri or Il Latini , and don’t miss a Florentine steak at Le Fonticine.
Florence is an epicenter of fashion, with brands like Gucci and Fendi in Via Tornabuoni. Visit the independent artisans’ shops in Oltrarno and the market in San Lorenzo which sells traditional leather bags and shoes.
What to do in Florence
Visit the Duomo
Climb the 463 steps of Brunelleschi’s dome to see the fresco of Vasari’s last judgement up close, or climb Giotto’s spectacular bell tower for views of the medieval town. Downstairs, the Baptistery of St John has the most impressive gilded bronze doors in history.
Admire the Uffizi Gallery
The Uffizi ensure an incomparable density of masterpieces. Stroll through their charming galleries before having a coffee overlooking the Palazzo Vecchio and Piazza della Signoria. Enjoy the Italian Renaissance before your eyes.
Discover the gardens of Boboli
These 16th century gardens are gloriously expanded behind Pitti Palace. The grounds of Boboli are now a green urban space that everyone enjoys. Wide open alleys are offset by quiet corners and remarkable sculptures by the Florentine masters.
Enjoy the Central Market
Florentine culture has always been based on trade, which still remains. Italian food needs no introduction, and this is a great place to try it. The Mercato Central offers authentic items, pairing traditional flavors with contemporary design.
Visit unique museums
You will find a lot of museums and historical monuments where you will enjoy a rain of Roman and Italian culture. The Palazzo Vecchio, the Baptistery of Florence and the Ponte Vecchio stand out above all.
Interesting Tours in Florence
Day trip to Tuscany from Florence
Duration: 12 hours
Day trip to Cinque Terre from Florence with hiking
Cooking class and lunch at a Tuscan farm, with tour of the local market, from Florence
Duration: 7 hours
Avoid the queues: Walking tour The best of Florence including the Accademia and the Duomo
Duration: 2h 30m
Taste of Chianti: Tuscan cheese, wine and lunch, from Florence
Duration: 10 hours
Vespa tour in Florence: the Tuscan hills and Italian cuisine
Duration: 5 hours
When to visit Florence
The summer in Florence brings the best climate, but also the crowds of tourists. It is better to visit it in March or April, or even at the end of September and October.
How to get to Florence
Florence Airport (FLR), just five kilometres from the centre, is the main arrival point for flights. The Fly bus leaves every half hour, costs 6 EUR and takes only 15 minutes to reach Piazza della Stazione. A taxi costs about 20 EUR.
Florence’s main station is Santa Maria Novella which is well connected to other European cities. Italo and Trenitalia offer services from Venice, Milan and Rome, while from Paris you can take a combination of TGV and Italo high-speed trains. The arrival station is very central.
If you travel by car, the E35 is the main route: from Rome to Naples in the south, and from Milan to Turin in the north. Take the A13 from Venice or the E76 from Pisa. Remember that access to the city centre by car is very restricted, as the historic centre is semi-pedestrianised, and drivers are often fined, so if you rent a car try to book a suburban hotel.
It is easily accessible by bus. The main companies – Bus Centre, Baltour and Flixbus – offer daily services. Most buses arrive at Autostazione Busitalia-Sita Nord, right next to Santa Maria Novella station.
Airports near Florence
BLQ Bologna Guglielmo Marconi
FLR Florence Peretola
Airlines with service in Florence
Where to stay in Florence
There are hundreds of wonderful hostels, guest houses and hotels in Florence. If you want a beautiful, luxurious and central establishment, the 4 star Hotel degli Orafi is ideal, while the Galileo Hotel is a more economical alternative. Further away, near the airport, the Hotel Mirage is perfect if you rent a car. Duomo View B & B Florence is a family-friendly option overlooking the Duomo, while the Archi Rossi Hostel is an economical alternative very close to the station.
Interesting neighborhoods in Florence
Centro Storico is the historical heart of Florence. It has hosted some of the most important artists and poets in history, such as Michelangelo, Raphael, Caravaggio and Dante. Here you will find the impressive Duomo, the incredible Uffizi Gallery and the Palazzo Vecchio very close to the river Arno.
Oltrarno, on the other side of the river, is a good place to settle down and park your car. It has its own attractions, such as the frescoes in the church of Santa Felicita, and is ideal for buying handmade leather goods in shops such as Monaco Metropolitano.
Santa Croce, just east of the historic centre, has developed around the beautiful church of the same name. You will find lively bars and the best trattorias in Tuscany.
The most popular hotels in Florence:
Hostel 7 Santi – $96.243+
Hotel Orto de’ Medici – $393.153+
Villa Campestri Olive Oil Resort – $384.432+
NH Firenze – $360.986+
Marine Hotel – $203.725+
Hotel Medici – $178.706+
View all hotels in Florence
Cost of living in Florence
Florence is a fantastic place to buy clothes, food, jewelry, leather accessories and shoes. In fact, there are few better places for fashion fans. Some of the best shops are in Oltrarno, which has artisan shops like Anita Russo Ceramics and recycled clothing boutiques like Giulia Materia. For sophisticated and elegant fashion, head to Via Tornabuoni, home to world-famous brands such as Gucci, Hermès and Salvatore Ferragamo, as well as many smaller clothing stores.
Groceries and others
Supermarkets in Florence include Billa, Conad and il Centro, which offer basic products such as bread, cheese, milk and fresh fruit. However, Florence is not always the cheapest place to buy groceries. Drinking a half-litre beer in a bar will cost you 5.26 EUR, if you buy it in a large shop you will pay 1.14 EUR.
Where to eat in Florence
Food is one of Florence’s greatest attractions: you will find almost as many masterpieces in Santa Croce’s restaurants as in the Uffizi Gallery. Some of the centrally located restaurants are Enoteca Pinchiorri -whose wine list is magnificent-, Il Cibreo -the best place to taste the authentic flavours of Tuscany- and Filipepe, a wonderful seafood restaurant. You will pay over 50 EUR for a very good meal, but around the Central Market you can find excellent pizzas and pasta dishes for 15 or 20 EUR. Don’t forget the GELATO.