Florence Travel Guide
The city of Florence is the heart of the region of Tuscany, and is one of Italy’s most popular destinations as well as one of the world’s most artistic capitals. Known as the center of the Renaissance, one can find marvelous examples of beautiful art and architecture from this period in almost every corner and street of this city. It is so packed to the brim with sights and attractions, to the point of overflowing, thus making it impossible to truly experience all it has to offer in merely a few days.
Set in the hills of northern Italy, the beauty of Florence is further complemented by the equally gorgeous scenery that surrounds it. It has a backdrop composed of lush vineyards, rolling hills, and greenery, with the River Arno making its way across the landscape, adding a magical feel to the place. The city’s panorama is a world-famous sight that should not be missed.
Once a rich and powerful city state in the 14th century, Florence was home to the likes of the Medici family, Dante Alighieri, Amerigo Vespucci, Donatello, and Niccolo Machiavelli, while other great personalities such as Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, and Michelangelo have all also left their mark in the Tuscan capital. Heavily steeped in art, culture, and history, it is comprised of winding medieval streets, numerous churches, chapels, towers, piazzas, and palazzos. It is also home to many museums and artisan shops, as well as the oldest art school in the world, the Accademia di Belle Arti which was founded in 1563.
Among its many points of interest, the main sights would include the Uffizi Museum which houses a great collection of artwork and masterpieces including the sculpture David by Michelangelo and the Venus di Milo; the Duomo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; and the Ponte Vecchio that spans across the Arno and is famous for its sunsets, making it a popular spot among lovers and romantics. There is also the Giotto Bell Tower, and the Pitti Palace which is filled with even more masterpieces. One might also want to visit Boboli Gardens, particularly in the summer when the entire park is covered in colorful blooms. For those who are interested in archaeology, Florence also boasts of a number of nearby sites that date back to prehistoric, Greek, and Roman periods.
It is also worth mentioning that Florence is Italy’s leather capital, and if anyone wants the best quality Italian leather gloves, bags, shoes, or belts, this is the place to go. Many are manufactured by skilled artisans who continue to produce these items using methods that have been passed on for generations, and are then sold from shops that were the same ones used by their predecessors. These artisan stores are usually found in the Oltrarno Quarter. On top of this, there is also no shortage of shopping and dining options as there are many public and open air markets, high-end boutiques, quaint little stores, workshops, restaurants, wineries, and bars to be found by just wandering Florence’s streets and alleys.
Last but most definitely not least, Florence is the home of the Chianti wine. Almost every cantina or enoteca offers the well-loved Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino, as well as Ornellaia wines. Being surrounded by vineyards, there are also a good number of agriturismo spots nearby, as well as vineyards that offer wine tours and tastings.
For anyone that’s heading to Florence, it is the perfect place to be to sit down and immerse oneself in beauty, art, and culture, all while sipping a good glass of local wine.