Florence is the capital of the Tuscany region and the metropolitan city of Florence. It is also the largest and most visited city in Tuscany. The entire city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
More than ten million tourists come to Florence every year. In Italy, the city is called Firenze. The city was founded a few decades before our era by Julius Caesar. He founded Florentia as a Roman army camp which is still clearly visible on the street plan of the city. At the time, the area where the current city is now located was a fertile valley on the Arno. After the Roman period, the city was in different hands. Today the city has around 377,000 inhabitants and is located on the Arno River.
The city has long been governed by the Medici family, a wealthy banking family. This family has personally ensured that Florence is one of the most important cities in the world in terms of painting, sculpture, literature and architecture. Under the rule of the Medici, Florence became the most important Renaissance city in the world. This is still one of the main reasons that so many tourists come to Florence. The many art-historical treasures and palaces in Florence have been given to the city for the most part over the centuries. An important condition of these donations was that the art was not allowed to leave the city and the collection had to remain intact. This is one of the reasons why Florence has become one of the most popular destinations in Europe.
Florence is a beautiful city that is perfect for a short or long city trip. However, you should keep in mind that especially in the summer period there are many tourists in Florence. This allows the city to feel crowded and oppressive from time to time.
Florence as a city trip
Florence is the most popular city destination in Tuscany and is one of the most popular cities for a city trip in Italy. Every year millions of tourists from all over the world come to Florence. Most tourists stay in the city for several days, but there are also those who come to Florence for a day during their holiday in Tuscany. If you are only a few days in Florence, then you have to think carefully in advance what you want to see, because to visit all the highlights in the city you need at least a week and even then you run out of time. Some of the highlights, such as the Uffizi with the works of Botticelli, the Galleria dell’Accademia with the David, the Palazzo Vecchio, Palazzo Pitti with the Boboli Gardens and the Ponte Vecchio are among the absolute highlights of the city.
Also make time to stroll through the city and taste the atmosphere of the city. During the summer months you can relax on one of the many terraces in the city. While you are enjoying one of the Tuscan specialties here, you can see the city pass by.
Florence in one day
You only have one day in Florence and you want to get the most out of your day? Of course a day is far too short to see and visit everything about the city, but a large part of the highlights in the city can be done well in one day. Use our experiences in Florence to put together your own days in the city. Through a clear timeline and a large number of photos, we have tried to display a good image of the city.
Spend the night in Florence
Who wants to stay one or more nights in Florence has many options. There are many hotels in the city. Florence offers multiple options in all price and quality categories. You have to keep in mind that the price of an average hotel room in Florence is slightly higher than in other parts of Italy. An increasingly popular option to spend the night is the Airbnbs. You then rent someone’s house or part of it. The big advantage of this is that in many cases it is cheaper than a hotel and you get to hear nice tips and facts about the city from the owner. The Horto Convonto and the Hotel Glance in Florence are among the most popular and most booked hotels in the city. La Porta del Paradiso and c-hotels Joy are a good budget option.
If you want to stay in Florence for a really cheap price, it’s best to go to a hostel. You can stay at a hostel for less than twenty euros a night. The disadvantage is that you often sleep with several people in one room. Another relatively cheap way to spend the night in Florence is at a campsite. There are several in the vicinity of Florence. There is even one, camping Michelangelo, which is only a ten minute walk from the city center.
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Those who want to shop in Florence can indulge themselves. All major and well-known retail chains can be found in the city. These are supplemented by nice and unique shops that can only be found in Florence. The area around Via de ’Tornabuoni is known for its exclusive shops. You will find brands such as Armani, Gucci and Prada in this area. One of the busiest shopping streets in Florence is the Via Por Santa Maria. You will come across larger and well-known retail chains in this street. If you are looking for art and antiques then you have to be in Via Maggio and the streets around it. If you walk from the Duomo towards San Lorenzo and the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi you will come across a striking number of shoe and leather shops. On the square next to San Lorenzo and around the Mercato di San Lorenzo are many market stalls with leather bags and jackets. It is advisable to negotiate considerably in these market stalls. If you pay more than a quarter of the original price then you have probably paid too much. Also in other places in Florence there are numerous markets where mainly leather products are sold. A well-known is the Marcato Nuovo where the wild boar Il Porcellino stands.
Food and drink
Everywhere in the center of Florence you will find nice restaurants, osterias and pizzerias. There are many osterias in particular. These were originally simple places where wine and a simple lunch were served. These days, these osterias are mainly known for their excellent wines and the beautiful hams and sausages. An osteria is the perfect place for lunch.
There are plenty of options for dinner, such as many pizzerias, but also those who want to eat more culinary can be catered for in Florence. There are even some restaurants with a Michelin star in the city. Florence is best known for its excellent meat. One of the local specialties is the Bistecca alla Fiorentina. This is a T-bone steak of about a kilo that is lightly roasted over an open fire and then served very red. The meat of the Bistecca alla Fiorentina comes from cattle from the Val di Chaina.
Of course there are plenty of ice cream parlors in Florence. There is a big difference in quality and price between the different “gelaterie”. If fresh ice cream is made daily, this is usually indicated. These are generally the better ice cream parlors.