Birthplace of the Renaissance and one-time home to Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael, Florence is unmatchable.
This cultural powerhouse offers world-leading galleries crammed with artistic masterpieces, an awe-inspiring setting and some of Italy’s finest food.
Travel the 2.5 miles (4km) from the airport into the city centre via shuttle bus or public transport. If you want your own wheels it’s best to pre-book car-hire, though Florence is an ancient compact city, easy to navigate by bike or on foot.
1 hr ahead of GMT
Neighbourhoods To See
The Duomo: for history
Begun in 1296, the famous Duomo is a Renaissance masterpiece and the nearby Galleria dell’Accademia houses Michelangelo’s world-famous David. See also the centuries-old Palazzo Vecchio town hall, still the seat of Florence’s political power and enjoy an easy walk to the Leonardo da Vinci Museum.
The Oltrarno: for artisan workshops
This atmospheric neighbourhood across the Arno River has been a source of Florence’s formidable artistic output for centuries. Expect to see cobbled streets dotted with jewellers, woodcarvers and artisan workshops, plus the glorious Santo Spirito, Palazzo Pitti and Piazzale Michelangelo with its panoramic views over Florence.
Piazza della Signoria: for art galleries
This single square is seen as the cradle of the Florentine Republic, and thus the Renaissance. The fine Uffizi Gallery houses countless priceless Renaissance works, including Leonardo da Vinci’s Adoration of the Magi and Annunciation, and Michelangelo’s Doni Tondo.
Don’t miss Michelangelo’s masterpiece – and perhaps the world’s most famous sculpture – in the Galleria dell’Accademia.
Recognise Florence’s famous cathedral by its towering cupola and red-tiled roof. It’s just as astonishing inside, featuring exquisite frescoes including Vasari’s The Last Judgement.
Basilica di Santa Maria Novella
Perhaps Florence’s most famous church after the Duomo, this beautifully preserved building was consecrated in 1420 and holds countless priceless artworks by the likes of Botticelli, Brunelleschi and Vasari.
Sitting in Piazza della Signoria, one of the world’s leading art galleries showcases countless masterpieces from the Renaissance, Dutch masters and more, by artists including Rembrandt, Caravaggio and Da Vinci.
Florence’s most famous palazzo dates from the early 14th century and has been the seat of Florence’s political power ever since, including during the notorious Medici dynasty.
Food and Drink
In a region as celebrated for its cuisine as Tuscany, it’s no surprise Florence has some truly fantastic restaurants and food markets – plus you’ll see cookery classes advertised all over the place. And the deliciousness of iconic Italian gelato makes it heaven for ice cream lovers…
EASTER | Scoppio del Carro
Each Easter Sunday the ‘Explosion of the Cart’ sees fireworks loaded on a 500-year-old cart, which is dragged by white oxen to the doors of the Duomo doors then set spectacularly alight!
APRIL | Gelato Festival
A five-day celebration of ice cream with gelato trucks and stalls filling the historic city centre.
MAY | Maggio Musicale
One of Europe’s leading classical arts festivals since 1933, there’s a strong emphasis on opera but you won’t only hear the classics.