With its iconic cathedral towering over narrow streets, Florence is like an enormous open air museum.
A heady mix of Medieval architecture and elegant Renaissance palaces and squares, everywhere you look there’s a photo waiting to happen. The river Arno winds its way right through the centre of the city, straddled by one of the world’s most famous bridges, the Ponte Vecchio, which offers tourists overpriced jewellery and magnificent sunset views.
For art lovers, there are churches filled with frescoes and elaborate tombs, and an open air sculpture museum in Piazza Signoria. And no visit would be complete without a visit to the Uffizi Museum: crammed to its beautifully frescoed rafters with Renaissance treasures among others.
Shoppers will get their own fill of beauty at the chic boutiques on Via Tornabuoni. There’s San Lorenzo for leather goods. Cheap and cheerful souvenirs at the Porcellino. And all the handmade ceramics and artisan-ware your heart desires in the antique shops of the Oltrarno.
Artists and dreamers have been coming here for centuries, and it won’t take you long to see why. After you’ve had your fill of the more obvious tourist sights, take some time to explore the city’s hidden squares and quiet streets that hide some of Florence’s most delightful secrets.
Once you’ve taken it all in, there’s the food, and no guide can truly to justice to the variety of tastes and dishes you’ll find in Florence. From San Lorenzo Food Market for budget treats, to long-established traditional restaurants that serve authentic Tuscan cuisine, you’re likely to have more than a few memorable meals.
Yes it’s true, it’s crowded and it’s overwhelming and you’ll need all your patience you can muster just to dodge the other tourists and passing Piaggio’s. But it’s all worth it just for that selfie with the statue of David.
Planning your first trip to Florence? Check out the unmissable sights, a Florentine guide for first timers!