Florence , Italian , Firenze



Florence (/ˈflɒrəns/ FLORR-ənss; Italian: Firenze [fiˈrɛntse] (listen))is a city in Central Italy and the capital city of the Tuscany region. It is the most populated city in Tuscany, with 383,083 inhabitants in 2016, and over 1,520,000 in its metropolitan area.

Florence was a centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of that era. It is considered by many academics to have been the birthplace of the Renaissance, becoming a major artistic, cultural, commercial, political, economic and financial center.During this time, Florence rose to a position of enormous influence in Italy, Europe, and beyond. Its turbulent political history includes periods of rule by the powerful Medici family and numerous religious and republican revolutions. 

From 1865 to 1871 the city served as the capital of the Kingdom of Italy (established in 1861). The Florentine dialect forms the base of Standard Italian and it became the language of culture throughout Italy due to the prestige of the masterpieces by Dante Alighieri, Petrarch, Giovanni Boccaccio, Niccolò Machiavelli and Francesco Guicciardini.

The city attracts millions of tourists each year, and UNESCO declared the Historic Centre of Florence a World Heritage Site in 1982. The city is noted for its culture, Renaissance art and architecture and monuments.The city also contains numerous museums and art galleries, such as the Uffizi Gallery and the Palazzo Pitti, and still exerts an influence in the fields of art, culture and politics. Due to Florence's artistic and architectural heritage, Forbes ranked it as the most beautiful city in the world in 2010.

Florence plays an important role in Italian fashion,and is ranked in the top 15 fashion capitals of the world by Global Language Monitor; furthermore, it is a major national economic centre, as well as a tourist and industrial hub

The Florence travel guide - Tips for sightseeing and Firenze tourism


All sighstseeing, tourist attractions information and tips for your city break in Florence such as visiting the sights and highlights. What to visit in Firenze in Italy? 

Florence ItalyThe beautiful Duomo of Florence

Firenze ItalyPiazza della Signoria

Sightseeing in Firenze

There are so many impressive attractions to see in Florence that you could argue that the entire city is a museum and as such is also on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Below is a brief overview of the most famous tourist attractions that you must see. Many of these sights are within walking distance of each other in the downtown area, but some noteworthy attractions are just outside the city. That is why you can reach many places on foot and for the hard-to-reach places you can take public transport.

The Florentine churches

The most famous landmark in Florence has to be the Duomo or Santa Maria del Fiore. The 115 meter high dome of this Duomo and the adjacent Campanile have defined the Florentine skyline for centuries. When visiting the Florence cathedral, don't forget the Baptistery opposite, known for its bronze portals by Lorenzo Ghiberti. The Santa Maria Novella, opposite the train station, is a Gothic church dating back to the fourteenth century. The Santa Maria Novella is known for the Strozzi Chapel, which is inspired by Dantes La Divina Commedia. The Santa Croce is also a Gothic basilica, which can be found in Piazza Santa Croce. The Santa Croce as supposed to surpass the Santa Maria Novella, but is best known for the famous people buried there, such as politician Machiavelli and artist Vasari.

The palaces in Florence

The Palazzo Vecchio has been Florence's main palace for centuries, functioning as a government building. Today you can visit it as a museum and enter the palace spire for panoramic views of the city. Another attraction worth visiting is the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, a residentialpalace of the Medici family, which later housed the Riccardi. Also the impressive Pitti Palace with the accompanying Boboli gardens is a loved attraction.

Uffizi, Accademia and other museums

The Galleria degli Uffizi is the most famous museum in Florence, Italy. The art collection goes back to the collection of the Medici. The most famous work of art present is Botticelli's Birth of Venus. The previously mentioned Palazzo Pitti has also become a museum, showcasing everything from clothing to art. The accompanying Boboli gardens are also a museum in itself. For sports fans, there is a special museum dedicated to the Florentine cyclist Bartali, who won the Giro three times.

Other places to visit in Florence

OThe famous bridge over the River Arno, the Ponte Vecchio, is also one of the most famous sights of the Tuscan capital. This bridge is characterized by the many jewelers, whose shops are build on the bridge. If you cross the Arno, you will soon arrive at a palace with beautiful, large gardens: the Boboli gardens. These gardens are known for the works of art that can be found there, such as the famous Grotta Grande. Also visit the famous squares, such as the Piazza della Signoria, Piazzale Michelangelo and the Piazza della Repubblica.

Uffizi Gallery

The Uffizi Gallery is located in the former palace next to the Palazzo Vecchio. It is the most famous museum and the Florence top attraction. It regularly sells out many days in advance. The Uffizi contains well-known works of art by Botticelli, Caravaggio and Titian, among others. Visit the art periods, which stretch from the Middle Ages to the modern era, and be enchanted by the splendor. 

Duomo (Santa Maria del Fiore)

The Duomo of Florence is the landmark with which everyone associates Florence. Dominating the skyline, the cathedral has become a true landmark of the Firenze. You will find the Duomo in Piazza del Duomo. Climb Brunelleschi's 115-meter dome for stunning views of the city or climb up Giotto's 82-meter campanile. Enjoy the beautiful facade of the cathedral or visit the nearby Museo for the religious objects.

Palazzo Vecchio

For years the government of Florence took place in the Palazzo Vecchio. Even today the city council still resides here. Today, however, the palace has more of a function as a museum. It is known for the Hall of Five Hundred, a large space where you can admire famous frescoes. The cassette ceiling with paintings by Vasari is especially known. The most famous wall fresco is by Michelangelo. You can also enter the clock tower for a beautiful view of the city. 

Accademia Gallery - Michelangelo's David

The Galleria dell’Accademia of Florence is an art school, where a large collection of sculptures is collected that served to inspire the students. In addition to famous statues, the Galleria also consists of a collection of works of art created by students of the Accademia, a large collection of paintings by Florentine artists, religious prints from the Middle Ages and Russian icons. The most famous statue in the Accademia Gallery is Michelangelo's original David.

Basilica Santa Croce

The Santa Croce was built to outperform the competing Santa Maria Novella. However, the Gothic basilica is best known for the famous Florentines, who are buried there, such as Machiavelli, Michelangelo, Vasari and Galileo Galilei. There is also a grave monument of Dante. Brunelleschi made the famous Capella di Pazzi in a Renaissance style.

Boboli gardens

The Boboli gardens are located behind the Palazzo Pitti and can be called the most beautiful gardens in Florence. The Boboli gardens have served as inspiration for many well-known gardens from later times, such as the gardens at Versailles. You will find trees, fountains, statues, ponds and the 'Grotta Grande'. The Bardani Gardens at Villa Bardini are smaller than the Giardino Boboli, but are therefore less known and therefore quieter to visit. The garden park consists of three parts: the Baroque, English and horticultural part with the olive trees.

Mercato Centrale (Food Halls)

For fresh meat, vegetables, fruit, pasta and fish you have to go to the covered Mercato Centrale. This large market hall offers you all kinds of fresh food in a pleasant market atmosphere. You can also enjoy cooked foods in the food hall, including Tuscan specialties such as porchetta. You will also find a number of cozy wine bars, where you can relax from the hustle and bustle on the market. Since the Mercato Centrale also sees many tourists these days, you can also buy souvenirs and clothes in the market hall.

Museum of San Marco

The National Museum of San Marco is housed in the former San Marco Monastery. You will now mainly find works by the

gifted monk Fra Angelico; in the area, for which these works of art were also intended. Angelico painted Biblical visions in soft colors, which also feature the latest painting techniques of the time. You will also find paintings by Ghirlandaio and Michelozzo. The latter was responsible for the design of the library, in which you can find precious choir books .

Piazza della Repubblica

What was once one of Florence's slums is now one of the most famous squares in the city. The piazza has a glorious history, but now you can marvel at the triumphal arch for Vittorio Emanuele, the colorful antique carousel and the Colonna dell’Abbondanza. You can also shop in chic shops, eat in cozy restaurants and stay in beautiful hotels. The Colonna dell’Abbondanza is the precise center of Florence and is therefore called the navel of Florence.

Sights around Florence

From Florence there are several options for making day trips through Tuscany. Cities with great sights and landmarks such as Siena, Lucca and Pisa are at a reasonable distance from Firenze. Natural areas such as the Tuscan hills, the sea and the Chianti region are all reasonably accessible from the capital of Tuscany. Do not forget to pay attention to the smaller places, such as Monteriggioni, San Gimignano and also Fiesole at only 10 kilometers.

Pizzeria Giovanni Santarpia

The Florentine culinary repertoire historically excludes pizza (the Renaissance town is better known for ribollita and bistecca alla fiorentina), but the city is still a magnet for exceptional pizza-makers. If you’re craving a well-crafted pie, look no further than Santarpia, which combines new-wave creativity with traditional heart. Pizza chef Giovanni Santarpia hails from Campania and has spent years earning feathers as one of the best pizzaioli in the country. He’s obsessed with dough and ingredient quality, fermentation, and warm hospitality. The craft beer selection is top-notch as well. Santarpia is outside the historic center of town, but worth the detour. 

Trattoria Sabatino

Timeless restaurants like this make Florence special: Sabatino’s is a family-run, blue-collar joint that hasn’t changed much since it opened in 1956. Pasta dishes at this walk-in-only trattoria hover at a humble €4.50, while meaty mains like roast chicken clock in at a mere €5.50. Its simple homestyle cooking and bargain prices are a testament to Italy’s all-inclusive food culture: You don’t need to be well-off to eat well here. 

La Vecchia Bettola

This unfussy Florentine trattoria lives up to its name (which translates as “old tavern”) with a kitschy, classico Italian dining atmosphere: hanging prosciutto, wood and marble decor, hollering waitstaff, and straw-wrapped chianti bottles. The honestly priced homestyle food and down-to-earth service match the surroundings perfectly. Dishes are true to the Tuscan repertoire, including local cured meats, fried rabbit, roast pork arista, and Tuscan bread-based pappa al pomodoro soup. Locals come for the bistecca alla fiorentina, vodka sauce penne, chicken liver crostini, and fried artichokes. [$$]

Ristorante Il Guscio

You could throw a rock in any direction and hit a good restaurant in Florence, but it’s a little harder to hit a place with remarkable wine offerings too. Il Guscio has been around since 1986 and has a menu that takes homestyle Tuscan and Italian classics to gourmet status: gnudi dumplings made with scamorza and spinach pesto, Maldon-salted sliced sirloin with julienned vegetables, paccheri pasta with spicy Calabrian ’nduja and burrata, beet risotto. The wine list is rife with boutique, biodynamic, and terroir-centered producers, heavy on Tuscan wines balanced with an ample selection of crucial bottles from around the country, selections from France, and plenty of sparkling. Portions are hearty, so make sure you order to share, and save room for dessert, which is very much on point. [$$ - $$$]

Trattoria Ruggero

Ruggero is described by locals as a tuffo nel passato (blast from the past). The time capsule trattoria hasn’t updated its decor since the ’70s, but the affordable local fare has held up. Come for quality options such as pici pasta, roast pork, tender filetto (tenderloin), and seasonal sides (porcini, zucchini flowers, artichokes). Their calling card primo dish is spaghetti alla carrettiera, a dense red sauce preparation with a kick of chile, anchovies, breadcrumbs, and herbs. Ruggero isn’t quite in the historic center, but it’s worth the walk past the Porta Romana. [$$]

Culinaria Bistro

Head to Piazza Tasso for a break from Tuscan fare: Culinaria Bitro features French and Moroccan flavors in dishes made with meticulously sourced ingredients. The restaurant is owned by De Gustibus, a slow-food organization hell-bent on promoting local producers that respect organic and traditional artisan practices. It’s easy to find something to like on the menu, which has everything from lemon and sesame chicken and couscous tagines, to vegetable tartares, to Tuscan cured meat and cheese boards, alongside rich desserts like wine-soaked biscotti tiramisu. [$$]


Located in Piazza del Cestello, Essenziale is challenging Florence’s otherwise sluggish experimental dining scene. As the name suggests, the restaurant focuses on the essential aspects of dining, with a minimalist atmosphere that keeps attention on the plate. Chef Simone Cipriani is known for revisiting Florentine classics, like turning pappa al pomodoro into a savory doughnut. Dishes deftly diverge from the heavily regimented repertoire of Florentine cuisine by fusing Italian foundations with tacos, kimchi, and tempura, and the kitchen makes statements with its use of offal on classic pastas. The rotating themed tasting menu is exciting and priced at 55 euros ($65). [$$$$]

Trattoria Cammillo

Located in the bohemian Oltrarno (“other side of the Arno river”), Cammillo is an old-school trattoria serving straightforward Tuscan fare with white-tablecloth service. The prices are above average for homestyle dining, but it’s worth the extra money for expertly prepared rustic classics like winter ribollita soup finished with proprietary olive oil, warm root vegetable salads, bistecca fiorentina, and game meats. Trust the pasta offerings: The family that owns the placehas roots in Italy’s pasta capital, Bologna. [$$$]

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