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See the best of Florence and Local Tips
Florence is more than just a city. She's a living being that breathes history and culture, ready to lure you in with her overwhelming beauty. Her wonders of art and architecture will befuddle you, and her cuisine tastes like the heavens. She's the beating heart of Tuscany, home to Dante, Da Vinci and the powerful Medici dynasty. And like with any irresistable gem, you'll never want to take your eyes of her again.
- Duomo (Florence Cathedral)
Towering the Florentine skyline is the city’s most iconic landmark, the Duomo (Florence Cathedral). Famous for its Gothic exterior and red-tiled dome, this cathedral is the largest masonry structure in the world.
Entrance to the cathedral is free, but it costs 18 euros to go up to the Dome and into the free-standing Bell Tower. You'll be rewarded with amazing views of Florence!
- Palazzo Vecchio
To symbolize the republic's power, Florentines built a palace to house government organizations in 1299. The palace is still the city's town hall today, and overlooks the impressive Piazza della Signoria, with its many statues, including a replica of Michaelangelo’s David.
A warning to those who enter the historic palace: you may find yourself lost in its many hidden corridors!
- Ponte Vecchio
This ‘old bridge’ used to be home to butchers who were banned out of the city center. Nowadays, the bridge exclusively houses jewellery shops, and serves as a tourist magnet. Take an early stroll here to avoid the crowd and head over to Carapina, one of the best gelaterias in Florence. Take a tour of the Arno river by boat, and experience the Ponte Vecchio from a different perspective.
- Palazzo Pitti
The Palazzo Pitti is the largest museum complex in Florence, with endless halls full of Renaissance masterpieces. The famous paintings by Raphael, Titian and Rubens were once part of the private collection of the Medici family, who ruled Tuscany from this palace.
Make sure to check out the Palatine Gallery and the Royal Apartments. If you have time to spare, take a stroll through the beautiful Boboli Gardens.
- Galleria dell’Accademia
Florence’s Accademia Gallery is best known for its sculptures by Renaissance artist Michelangelo. Today, visitors flock to the gallery to see his world-famous (and enormous) statue of David.
Plan your visit to the museum and buy tickets ahead of time in order to skip the long lines! You can also book a guided tour to help you further enhance your experience.
- Museo di San Marco
This historical art musem showcases the works of the blessed religious painter Fra Angelico. In the first floor, you'll find 44 monastic cells which were decorated with intricate frescoes to help the friars meditate and reflect. The museum also houses the famous Last Supper, frescoed by Renaissance artist Domenico Ghirlandaio at the end of the 15th century.
- Bardini Gardens
The gardens at the backdoor of the city are there to remind people that Florence offers natural beauty in addition to its statues, paintings, and architecture.The four hectare garden is perfect for anyone who wants to escape the busy streets of Florence.
A ticket to the garden costs 10 euros and covers four other museums and gardens.
Dress to impress
Many people know Milan as Italy’s fashion capital, but a handful of the country’s famous brands actually come from Florence. Even better, the city is home to many small, lesser-known boutiques that will fit you with a sprezzatura, the effortless style, that can only be found in Florence. Go shopping for accessories at some of the local leather workshops for an instant wardrobe boost.
Ditch the pasta for a night
With tempting options hiding around every corner, it’s easy to eat your weight in pasta when visiting Florence. However, one of the city’s flagship dishes is not a pizza or a pasta; it’s bistecca alla fiorentina, or Florentine steak. With enough flavor to feed two or more people (you order by the kilo), this is not your dad’s T-bone. Enjoy it the way the chef intends it (almost always rare) with a nice, bold glass of Tuscan red wine. You won’t regret it and you won’t forget it!
After a long day and a hearty dinner, a leisurely stroll is good for the soul. The Oltrarno neighborhood is the perfect place for a post-meal passegiata to take in the ambience and maybe even a few drinks. From there, you can head south and walk up to one of the parks or piazzas that overlook the city for some incredible sunset views.
For legendary sandwiches, try All'Antico Vinaio's restaurant at Via dei Neri. They have good prices and huge portions for 5 euros. If you want a historical street meal, go to Sergio Pollini and try their traditional lampredotto. Another cool place to visit is Clet Abraham's Studio. He's the French artist responsible for turning some street signs into funny and interesting works of art!
Getting to Florence by train
Like all major cities in Italy, Florence is very well connected by train. The city's main station, Santa Maria Novella (S.M.N.), is served by high-speed trains from Milan, Bologna, Venice, Rome and Naples. Most regional trains depart from one of the other two stations: Rifredi to the north and Campo di Marte to the east.
You can find all trains to and from Florence in the Eurail Timetable.
From Rome to Florence
From Paris to Florence
From Zürich to Florence
Flights and public transport
There are two main airports in the Tuscany region, of which Florence Airport (known as Peretola) is the smallest. Many of Europe's low-cost flights go to the larger Pisa Airport, which is only 75 minutes from Florence by train or by bus.
Florence's city center is compact and best navigated on foot. A small network of city buses does exist, but since you can walk from one side of the historic center to the other in 15 minutes, you probably won't make use of it.