If you’re planning a holiday in Italy, Florence is definitely a city that should top your list of places to visit. Famous for its rich culture and amazing architecture, it’s packed with things to do and see – here’s my list of the attractions not to miss.
Visit art galleries
Whether you intend to stay for a long holiday or you’re just hitting the city for a few days, you really can’t leave Florence without having visited some of its amazing art galleries. There are heaps to choose from, but the real star of the show is always going to be the Galleria degli Uffizi – or Uffizi Gallery, to you and me.
This is widely acknowledged to house the world’s finest collection of Renaissance art, and it’s packed full of masterpieces, such as Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and da Vinci’s The Annunciation. If you’re keen on coming here – and you should be – it’s worth planning ahead and booking tickets in advance. The queues to get in are huge and you often have to wait while standing under scorching sun.
Florence is also famous for being the home of Michelangelo’s David – another attraction you can’t miss during your stay. This marble statue is one of the most impressive sculptures you’ll ever see, and you’ll find it in the Galleria dell’Accademia. Once upon a time, the gallery housed nothing but David, but today you can also see a range of paintings, as well as a variety of rare musical instruments.
Florence is much celebrated for its architecture, so it’s vital you get a taste of it while you’re here. Fortunately, the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore – or the Duomo, as it’s usually called – is pretty hard to miss. It’s a really stunning building, decorated with pink, green and white marble, topped with a vast dome.
You can just admire it from the outside, but it’s well worth heading inside to explore the various artworks on show – though the interior is less ornate than the exterior might lead you to think. Among the things you can see is the famous fresco Dane e I Suoi Mondi by Michelino. Plus, if you have a head for heights, you can climb the stairs to the top of the dome – the views out of the city are incredible.
Take a stroll on the Ponte Vecchio
Another of the city’s most famous attractions, the Ponte Vecchio is a bridge that spans the River Arno. Shops line both sides of the bridge and, while these were once occupied by butchers, today they’re filled with fine jewellers and art dealers. So, unless you’re really planning to splash out, you might not want to come here to shop, but it’s a great place to look around.
Sample the amazing food
No trip to Florence would be complete without treating yourself to the odd Italian delicacy. Of course, one of the nation’s specialities in gelato – or ice cream – and there are heaps of places where you can buy it.
While it’s easy to spend your entire holiday pretty much living off the gelato here – yes, it’s that good – it’s well worth trying some more classic fare too. Restaurants like Uva Fragola, which is on the main square close to the Duomo, serve up quintessentially Italian dishes. Choose from a great selection of wines to go with your meal (something else the country’s famous for!) or try a lemon granita, which is lemon and sugar mixed with crushed ice – always refreshing on a hot day!
Joe wrote this post from his rooms in various Rome hotels, the latest stop on his tour of Italy!
You may also like to check out my posts on other exciting travel destinations here