Updated: Aug 13
Donatello over there, Michelangelo here. All of those well-known figures came from Florence, the city that served as the birthplace of the Renaissance, and they are all still alive today. This city is packed to the brim with museums, galleries, and works of art in general. The renowned Uffizi Galleries and the Accademia are just the beginning. There are many chapels with frescoes and vividly colored crucifixes inside the churches. Houses are massive mansions made of stones that are the size of an adult. Even the stores have painted ceilings and old beams. The beauty might be overwhelming at times.
The second Florence enters the scene at this point. Like no other town, this one is encircled by nature. The Oltrarno neighborhood, where cobblestone piazzas, laid-back cafes, and artists practicing centuries-old trades may be found, located across the Ponte Vecchio and the Arno river. You may weave through cypress-covered hills, discover gorgeous Renaissance gardens, or wander along the river. You'll find stunning views of the city and its enormous terracotta dome, which stands out against the distant mountains, at every turn. Especially the scenery is artistic in Florence.
Time Zone Florence - Travel Guide Florence
Central European Standard Time
Best Time to Visit Florence
Any season is a terrific time to visit Florence, despite the fact that the summers are hot, sticky, and quite busy — not least because you'll spend much of your time indoors at the museums. A team of a cream-colored oxen pull a wagon into the Piazza del Duomo during Florence's Easter festival of the Scoppio del Carro, when fireworks are then set off inside.
Late in June, Piazza Santa Croce is blocked off to create the field for a match of "historic football," a sport that combines soccer, rugby, and wrestling while dressed in 16th-century garb. Every year in August, there are events in honor of previous king Lorenzo de' Medici, the person who started the Renaissance, featuring free lasagna in Piazza San Lorenzo.
Public Transportation Florence
Car Rental / Service: The majority of hotels can set up private shuttles.
Buses: The city center is primarily pedestrianized, but there are trams that circle the area and depart from the train station. Near Santa Maria Novella, coaches also arrive.
Trains: Santa Maria Novella station in Florence is a stop for fast trains.
Taxis: The train station, the Piazza del Duomo, and the Piazza San Marco all have taxi stalls. Call +39 4242 or +39 4390 instead.
Best Hotels Florence
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Things to Do in Florence
Piazza della Signoria
Enjoy the spectacle in Florence's central piazza while relaxing at one of the ringside eateries (we recommend Rivoire). The Palazzo Vecchio and Uffizi are at the center of the seat of power, which is a cobblestone outdoor gallery filled with opulent statues, a gushing fountain, and commuters on bicycles.
Museo di San Marco
At this active monastery, you can experience Renaissance Florence. Here, in the 15th century, lived the painter Fra Angelico, whose contemplative murals can be found in the monks' cells and on show in a recently rebuilt room on the ground floor.
The Duomo (literally, "the dome"), still the largest masonry cupola in the world, is the brick-domed cathedral in Florence and is considered to be the symbol of the city. For unmatched vistas of the city and up-close views of Vasari's famed murals inside the dome, climb the 463 narrow-threaded steps to the top (not recommended for the timid or the claustrophobic). Explore the square, but don't skip the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, the cathedral's companion museum, which houses Michelangelo's Pietà and was exquisitely refurbished in 2015.
This is the seat of the Florentine republic, the castle-like structure dominating Piazza della Signoria (and the one that was prominent in "Hannibal"). Although it is adorned with works by artists such as Donatello, Michelangelo, and Bronzino, the private rooms of the Medici family, which Giorgio Vasari frescoed, are what truly transport you back in time.
It is one of the most well-known museums in the entire globe for good reason: almost 3,000 works of art, including famous ones like Botticelli's Birth of Venus and Michelangelo's Doni Tondo, are on show here.
Piazza Santo Spirito
The bustling city center can be uncomfortable, but this square is a representation of the relaxed Oltrarno neighborhood ("across the Arno river"). Visit the city's renowned antiques market on the second Sunday of each month, or choose a hip bar and take in the atmosphere.
For fantastic views of the River Arno from the open-arched middle, cross the Ponte Vecchio, that renowned covered bridge with buildings dangling off the side. In ten minutes, after crossing the river once more, you will be in Piazza Santo Spirito. Alternatively, you can continue up to Borgo San Frediano and the ancient city walls.
The Piazzale Michelangelo, halfway up the hill on the opposite side of the Arno, with a panoramic terrace aiming directly at the Duomo, offers the greatest views of Florence. Continue climbing to the marble-covered Romanesque church, San Miniato al Monte, which has a panoramic view of the city if you have the energy.
This modest small chapel of the Santa Maria del Carmine cathedral is where the Renaissance is thought to have started, a little higher up from Piazza Santo Spirito. The entire interior is covered with frescoes by Masolino and Masaccio, a student who would one day surpass him, with later additions by Filippino Lippi. The expulsion of Adam and Eve from Eden in Masaccio's painting altered the trajectory of art history.
Boboli and Bardini Gardens
You can enter both of Florence's famous gardens with a single ticket. The Medici designed the Giardini di Boboli, which are located behind Palazzo Pitti, with their grottos and fountains. However, the garden at Villa Bardini offers the greatest views of the city, as well as wisteria-covered pergolas and a seemingly endless staircase cleaving through the hill.
Another monastery filled to the brim with outstanding Italians and artwork. There include frescoes by Giotto, works by Cimabue, Canova, and the della Robbia brothers, as well as the graves of Michelangelo, Machiavelli, and Galileo.
These private tombs of the Medici family, which are topped with enormous statues of Night, Day, Dusk, and Dawn with a Madonna and Child between them, are among Michelangelo's most melancholy creations. The Cappella dei Principi, also known as the Chapel of the Princes, is a lavish wedding cake-shaped structure that you shouldn't miss on your route to the Sagrestia Nuova, where they are located.
Come for the monumental symbol "David" by Michelangelo, cut from a single marble slab, but stay for his incomplete male nudists ("The Prisoners") and Giambologna's captivating "Rape of the Sabine Women".
Whenever you've gotten your fill of Renaissance architecture, stroll across to this enormous palazzo, which houses some of the best touring exhibitions in Europe, many of them contemporary. Grab a coffee in the 'Courtyard of Wonders,' which features a changing selection of modern art installations, afterward.
Neighborhoods to Know in Florence
The laid-back San Frediano neighborhood, which is a part of Oltrarno but is a little further west than Santo Spirito and away from the center, is home to treasures like the Brancacci Chapel as well as traditional eateries and trattoria with olive-slicked hills rising in the rear.
District 1, Florence's central business district, is extremely small. The majority of the tourist attractions are located in the region north of the Arno, which roughly stretches from the Ponte Santa Trinità to the Ponte alle Grazie bridges. The city's political center, Piazza della Signoria, is where you'll discover museums like the Uffizi and Palazzo Vecchio clustered around one of Italy's most beautiful squares. Piazza del Duomo is where the enormous cathedral swaggers over the city. The River Arno marks the Uffizi's conclusion.
The name Oltrarno, which translates to "across the Arno," refers to the area near Santo Spirito when used by tourists. Oltrarno also refers to the city on the other side of the river. The Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens are two of the neighborhood's notable historical landmarks, along with small eateries and artists.
Florence is a humid basin surrounded by hills and mountains. Summer may be oppressive, with an average temperature of 77°F (25 Degrees Celsius) feeling hotter due to the humidity. Spring is mild, with temperatures in the mid-50s to mid-60s (10-15 Degrees Celsius), feeling hotter when the sun is out. In October, temperatures typically range from the low to the mid 60s F (15 Degrees Celsius) during the fall. Although temperatures in the mid-forties throughout the winter are ostensibly mild, the humidity makes them feel more bitter.