Home to one of Europe’s greatest cities of renaissance art and architectural masterpieces, Florence or should I say Firenze is the capital of Tuscany. A romantic and enchanting city, where I spent most of my time rendered speechless with all what the city had to offer.
My last visit to the birthplace of renaissance Italy was a couple of years ago back in August. Let’s say I’m throwing it back to 2014. We spent a week here before venturing out to the small town of Cortona for our friends wedding.
Florence is one of those cities where you’ll find artwork by Botticelli, Michelangelo sculptures, admire views of the city from the Piazzale Michelangelo and see the breathtaking skyline from the bell tower of Santa Croce.
So without further ado, here are my top five things to see and do in Florence.
1. Gaze at the Duomo di Firenze
If you love a good workout and are not claustrophobic, clamber up the 463 steps of the Duomo, the cathedral of Saint Mary. This will lead you to the highest point in Florence giving you that jaw dropping view of the city.
*Visitors tip: Reserve and book your tickets and time slot in advance to avoid long queues.
The Duomo also known as Florence Cathedral was structurally completed in 1436 and is one of the best known landmarks associated with Florence.
Separate to the Duomo is the Giotto Campanile, a true masterpiece of gothic architecture.
2. Start your tour of Florence at the Piazza del Duomo
After climbing the 463 steps of the Duomo you’ll be looking for a mini gelato break before enjoying the many souvenir stalls, restaurants and cafes.
The Piazza del Duomo can get extremely busy especially during peak season; don’t let this get to you as each and every corner offers an architectural masterpiece from buildings to sculptures which takes you away from the hustle and bustle of tourists.
The atmosphere and street corners are truly one to experience.
3. Marvel at the Renaissance art at the Uffizi Palace and Gallery
Known for its renowned collections of ancient paintings and sculptures from the 14th century and renaissance period. The Uffizi gallery is on of the world’s top art museums, worth the long queues of tourists to step into the astonishing collections and frescoed ceilings.
The long rooms display many famous sculptures and canvases from gothic and renaissance painters. You need a full day to truly appreciate the great collections.
4. Walk along the Arno River
Take a romantic walk along the Arno River. The best time to walk along this beautiful river is during my favourite time of day, dusk. The city came to life at this time with beautiful music played by the locals and the aroma of exquisite Italian cuisine.
The Arno River is rich in history being the main stream of the Tuscany region. I loved how the river wounded through the city casting enchanting shadows and reflections of the beautiful skyline.
At night the skies came to life with the reflection of the moon on the river bed. A perfect spot for a romantic proposal.
5. Venture out to the town of Cortona
Take a direct train from Florence to the beautiful town of Cortona. In just under two hours via train marvel at the beautiful scenic route across Tuscany.
Cortona is situated about 70 miles south east of Florence, the town boasts alfresco dining, many churches and museums to explore. Spending a few days here requires comfy shoes as the town is built upon steep hills.
There is so much to Florence than what meets the eye. With many restaurants, galleries, shops, contemporary art and a thriving nightlife. Florence is truly a magical city to visit.
Have you been to Florence before? Or are you planning your next trip?
I would love to know!
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