Florence, Italy, is one of the world’s most amazing cities. It’s often a jumping-off point when people want to explore Tuscany, but it’s so much more than that.
Florence is located in Central-Northern Italy. It’s the capital of the Tuscany region and the most populated city in the area. The city was central to medieval European trade, and it was one of the wealthiest cities of the time. Many feel Florence was the birthplace of the Renaissance. The city was incredibly influential during this period throughout Italy, Europe, and the world.
The city was ruled by the Medici family, and it was the capital of the Kingdom of Italy.
The Historic Centre of Florence is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, notable for the museums and galleries, culture, and architecture.
Forbes has often ranked it as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and it’s the 4th-wealthiest city in Italy.
The following are some other things to know if you’re thinking about visiting the stunning city.
One of the things that Florence is most known for is art. The city has some of the best examples of art from the Renaissance period anywhere in the world. The Renaissance was born in Florence, and it left a permanent stamp on Western art. Some of the greatest artists worked under the patronage of the Medici and similarly wealthy families.
The Uffizi Gallery is one of the largest art museums in Europe, and it’s arranged by period. The chronological layout of the museum allows you to see the shifting styles from the Byzantine period to pieces like the Birth of Venus from Botticelli.
Uffizi has timed tickets because of the popularity, and you can order them ahead of time, or you can take a guided tour and bypass the lines.
Another one of the world-famous galleries that you have to see in Florence is Galleria dell’ Accademia or the Academy Gallery. The museum holds a fantastic collection of pieces by Michelangelo, including David.
Along with Michelangelo, the galleries in the museum contain many other key works from Florentine artists from the 13th through the 16th centuries.
Galleria Palantina holds the works of artists like Raphael and Botticelli.
Also, part of the Pitti Palace includes the Galleria d’Arte Moderna and the Museum of Costume and Fashion.
These certainly aren’t the only museums to visit, but they are among the most renowned.
There’s a term that originated in Florence—Stendhal Syndrome. It’s a term that refers to feeling dizzy or lightheaded when you see so much amazing art, one after the next. A French author named Stendhal coined the term after visiting in the 1800s.
The Duomo is a Florence cathedral that is the focal point of the city. The Renaissance dome was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi. The cathedral is named for Santa Maria del Fiore, and it was built on the site of the church of Santa Reparata from the 7th century.
The Duomo of Florence took 142 years to build, having been conceived initially in the mid-13th century.
If you can make it up all 463 steps to the top, it has one of the best views in the city. The stairs were originally installed as a way to help workers during the construction of the project and for maintenance, so they’re very narrow and small.
One of the things that a lot of visitors love about Florence is that even though it feels busy and bustling, it’s also very contained and walkable. Most of the key attractions you’re going to want to see in Florence are centrally located, and there are a lot of zones that are pedestrian-friendly.
The main square is the Piazza Della Signoria.
In the evenings, you can grab dinner, and there’s often free music.
There’s overall no better way to explore Florence than on foot.
While the city itself is walkable, if you’re flying into the Pisa airport, you should note that it’s far from the city center. You can take the bus or train, as well as a taxi although that’s the most expensive option.
Foods to Try
If you’ve ever been to Italy, you’ve probably noticed that every region has its own distinct culture and food. There’s a sense of pride and often competition among people from different parts of Italy, and Florence is no exception.
There are some amazing dishes to try that are special to Florence.
Bistecca alla Fiorentina is one of those. It’s at-bone that’s fire-grilled and seasoned with just salt, pepper, and a bit of lemon. It will often be cooked over roasted chestnuts, giving it a smoky flavor. It’s a large steak, so it’s something you can share.
Another dish is lampredotto. Lampredotto is a street food dish. It’s a sandwich with boiled tripe, thinly sliced. You can get it with a red sauce or an herb green sauce. You’ll find it sold by street vendors and in outdoor markets.
Pappardelle al cinghiale is a wide, flat pasta that’s usually served with a heavy sauce. Cinghiale is wild boar.
Florence also has some of the best gelatos in all of Italy.
Book In Advance
Whenever possible, to book your tickets and entrance in advance, do it in Florence. The art museums get incredibly crowded, and there are limits on how many visitors can be inside at any time. The buildings are small, and the city is almost always full of tourists. Booking ahead of time is the only way to save yourself time waiting in lines and to make sure you get the see the museums that are most important to you.
Finally, if you’re a shopper in Florence, it’s all about the leather. There are leather shops throughout the city, and you can find items in outdoor markets too. The prices are negotiable at the markets. You can find stunning jackets, purses, shoes, and more when you’re in Florence. They’re beautifully crafted one-of-a-kind items.
Florence is a city that everyone should try to add to their travel bucket list, especially if they love art and architecture.