An inside guide to Florence
Live, breathe and taste history in the magical city of Firenze
One of Europe’s greatest art cities, countless world-renowned painters, architects and writers have called Florence home over the centuries. And it’s no wonder: inside Florence’s ancient walls you’ll find an intoxicating amalgamation of incredible architecture, countless galleries, secret churches, delicious eateries and friendly locals. To top it all off, the city is surrounded by vast swathes of stunning Tuscan countryside and the climate is warm and temperate, with beautiful springs and hot summers.
In fact, there are so many things to see and do in and around the magical art-filled capital of Tuscany it can be hard to know where to start. To help you out we’ve put this handy guide together, featuring a few of our favourite spots. What’s more, our expert Travel Advisors are on hand to help you plan the finer details of your trip. From gallery tours with a local specialist and pasta making classes for the whole family to booking you into the city's best bars and restaurants, we know exactly what it takes to make your getaway incredible. Simply tell us what you'd like to see and do and we can craft a personalised itinerary for you.
What to see
Dubbed ‘the cradle of the Renaissance’, Florence is home to an incredible array of celebrated masterpieces. From art to architecture, the city abounds with richness and culture - an art and history lover’s paradise. One of the city’s most iconic sites is, of course, the Duomo di Firenze. This towering terracotta-tiled cathedral dates back to the 13th century. With its immense dome, designed by Brunelleschi, elegant towers and intricate frescoes, the iconic cathedral is a breathtaking marvel of architectural, engineering and artistic genius.
Come rain or shine, an afternoon in the magnificent The Uffizi Gallery - arguably the world’s greatest collection of Renaissance art - simply has to be on the cards. Come face to face with masterpieces such as Botticelli’s ‘The Birth of Venus’ and da Vinci’s ‘Annunciation’, as well as the private collections of the powerful Medici dynasty. The sheer number of works housed in The Uffizi Gallery is staggering - you’ll need about four hours if you want to see it all - so it’s best to know what you want to see before you visit or to book a private tour with one of our expert local guides.
Although to some of the younger members of the group endless trips around museums and galleries may sound a little stuffy, history and art are very much alive and kicking in Florence. From visiting Santa Maria Novella, the world’s oldest operating pharmacy, to browsing the stalls at the bustling nineteenth-century Mercato Centrale, history truly comes alive in this marvellous city. What’s more, although Florence is primarily famous for its art and history, there is so much more to the city than this alone. Quirky boutiques, boat trips along the Arno, live music and contemporary art are just a few of the delights this bustling, vibrant, eclectic city has to offer the discerning visitor.
Local day trips
One of the (many) advantages of Florence is that its diminutive size and wonderful location in the heart of Tuscany make it the ideal base for a longer holiday spent exploring the city and surrounding area. Venture out for a wine tour in the renowned region of Chianti, take a train to the iconic leaning tower of Pisa (just 15 minutes away from Florence) or visit the city of Siena, Florence’s less famous but equally as beautiful sister. The variety of day trips on offer from Florence is endless and can be tailored to your group size and interests. Speak to our expert Travel Advisors for more information.
Where to eat
Famous for all the right reasons, Locale combines the two things Florence does best: history and food. Set in the sumptuous Concini Palace, which dates back to the 16th-century, the decor is lavish, the food excellent and the cocktails imaginative. Like the city itself, Locale is a living, breathing (and utterly delicious) work of art.
Regarded as a Florentine institution, and rightfully so, Cibrèo is the perfect place to sample classic Tuscan flavours in an authentic setting. Guided by the rhythm of the seasons, the menu here changes daily; however, the flavoursome local fare and friendly service are a consistent delight.
Dedicated almost solely to the bistecca alla Fiorentina, Florence’s traditional steak, Regina Bistecca is a must-visit for any meat lovers in the group. Just a few steps away from the iconic Duomo, this is the ideal spot to enjoy a meaty slab of local flavour.
Where to drink
Those looking for creative cocktails in a unique setting should set off on a quest to find Rasputin, Florence’s not-so-secret secret bar. Enter through an unmarked door and descend the stairs to find an underground bar serving up exquisite cocktails amidst a quirky, vintage setting.
Any wine lovers simply must pay Enoteca Pitti Gola e Cantina a visit. Located just across from the Pitti Palace, the shelves of this unassuming little wine bar are lined with an incredible array of small production, high-end, handcrafted Tuscan wines.
Enjoy Florence’s balmy weather in style from the incredible La Terrazza Bar on the top floor of the medieval Consorti tower. Offering breathtaking panoramic views over the city’s ancient rooftops and to the hills beyond, watch the sun set over the city whilst sipping on an expertly crafted negroni (or two).