The Insider Guide
Benvenuto to the city of the Renaissance, where Michelangelo sculpted his David, a young Leonardo Da Vinci dreamed the impossible and where Brunelleschi constructed his dome. Discover what draws tourists to Florence year upon year and what locals treasure most about their city...
The City of Love’s Main Attractions
A wander through the streets of Firenze will get you acquainted with the artistic, architectural and cultural history of central Italy. What’s more, the city is of an ideal size to be best explored by foot. The best place to start – an area steeped in significant national history – is the central Basilica di Santa Maria dei Fiore. The striking Duomo Cathedral, completed in 1436, has since become a symbol of Florence. It only takes one look to see why, but we’d recommend seeing the whole thing while strolling around the Piazza del Duomo to get the full picture. A five-minute walk north will take you to the Galleria dell'Accademia, home to Michelangelo’s marble statue of the Biblical figure David. The art museum also houses other works by the Italian sculptor, painter, architect and poet who has become a symbol of the Renaissance. For more of an insight into such an important period in art history, head 10 minutes south to the Uffizi Gallery, one of Italy's most important and popular museums. Next to it you'll find the Palazzo Vecchio, the town hall that rises above the Piazza della Signoria. The 700-year-old tower was built after the people of Florence wished for a palace to reflect the importance of their city – and it’s certainly lived up to it. Cross the Arno River over the brilliantly unusual Ponte Vecchio, a medieval structure that feels like its own little high street with a string of jewellers, art dealers and souvenir shops. Across the other side, on the Oltrarno, get your nature fix in the Boboli Gardens. You can relax under the centuries-old oak trees by the fountains, or tour the striking sculptures of the open-air museum. The finest sight in the gardens, though, is the grand Palazzo Pitti. A half-hour walk east along the river will take you to the Piazzale Michelangelo – the perfect place to end your tour, with panoramic views over the city, best enjoyed with a glass of local Chianti.