Florence, capital of Italy’s Tuscany region, is home to many masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture. One of its most iconic sights is the Duomo, a cathedral with a terracotta-tiled dome engineered by Brunelleschi and a bell tower by Giotto.
For centuries it has captured the imaginations of travelers, who have come seeking rooms with views and phenomenal art. Florence’s is a subtle beauty—its staid, unprepossessing palaces built in local stone are not showy, even though they are very large. They take on a certain magnificence when day breaks and when the sun sets; their muted colors glow in this light.
Here’s a detailed guide through Florence which will make your stay a memorable one.
Things to do:
The Roman Amphitheatre of Florence was an ancient Roman structure in Florence, central Italy. It was located between Piazza dei Peruzzi, Via De’ Bentaccordi and Via Torta; in these streets, you can see its remains.When it was built between 124 and 130 AD, it was well outside the walls of Florence and the amphitheatre marked the point of maximum expansion east.
The Florence Baptistery (Italian: Battistero di San Giovanni), also known as the Baptistery of Saint John, is a religious building in Florence, Italy, and has the status of a minor basilica. The octagonal baptistery stands in both the Piazza del Duomo and the Piazza San Giovanni, across from Florence Cathedral and the Campanile di Giotto.
The Baptistery is one of the oldest buildings in the city, constructed between 1059 and 1128 in the Florentine Romanesque style. Although the Florentine style did not spread across Italy as widely as the Pisan Romanesque or Lombard styles, its influence was decisive for the subsequent development of architecture, as it formed the basis from which Francesco Talenti, Leon Battista Alberti, Filippo Brunelleschi, and other master architects of their time created Renaissance architecture.
Casa Buonarroti is one of the most extraordinary Florentine museums. It offers in the first place the possibility of admiring the two famous marble relief pieces, sculptured by Michelangelo in his early years: the Madonna della Scala, which clearly shows the passion of this artist for Donatello and the Battle of the Centaurs that echoes the admiration of the artist for classic art.
Leonardo da Vinci Museum
An exhibition dedicated to the universal genius of Leonardo Da Vinci, in the heart of Florence and with different traveling all over the world, the Museum of Leonardo da Vinci offers each visitor a unique experience where the sensory perception and knowledge of “Leonardo” marry, giving visitors the sensation to be immersed in a history of extraordinary relevance.
When to visit
Peak travel season runs Apr–Jul. The Maggio Musicale arts and opera festival runs from Apr–Jun. For the feast day of the town’s patron saint, San Giovanni (Jun 24), historical processions are held and a rousing Renaissance-style soccer match takes place in Piazza Santa Croce. Summers (Jun–Aug) can be hot and humid, and many shops and restaurants close in Aug for holiday. Winter (Dec–Mar) is cold and wet. On Easter Sunday (varies), fireworks explode from an elaborate cart in front of the Duomo.
Tips to save Money (Nomadicmatt)
- Eat cheap – Eating at a bar near Piazza della Signoria or in the square can be very expensive. Remember – the further you are off of the beaten path, the cheaper it will be.
- Watch for free – Florence is a great town for people watching. Grab a drink on a patio, and take in the fashionista flare walking through town. Avoid the costly museums and experience the city’s culture instead.
- Travel on foot – Public transportation in Florence isn’t quite the same (or as necessary) as other European cities because most things are within walking distance. It’s much better to save a couple dollars and take in the scene as you walk through the city.
- Firenze Pass – If you are going to do lots of sightseeing, this card will give you free entry to the top museums, tours, and attractions. It costs 72 EUR and is good for 3 days.
- Pass on the bread – Some restaurants will charge you extra for bread or breadsticks on the table but not tell you about it until the check comes, and you’ve polished it off.
- Drink the tap water – Ask for tap water or you will automatically get expensive bottled water included on your bill. Moreover, you can refill your bottles of water at any of the drinking fountains throughout Italy. The water is fine to drink, and you’ll feel like a local as you drink from their ancient Roman city monuments.
- Buy lots of wine – You can buy a great bottle of wine for 4 EUR. It’s a lot cheaper than drinking at the bar.
- Couchsurf – Accommodation is quite expensive in the city. Use Couchsurfing to stay with locals who have extra beds and couches and make a local friend. I use the service a lot and find it not only saves me money, but I meet great people too. You’ll find lots of hosts in the city