One for culture vultures everywhere, the historic city of Florence is packed with some of Europe’s finest art and architecture. Whether you want to dive headfirst into the world-class galleries or indulge in a romantic weekend of long walks and great wine, the capital of Tuscany is an incredible destination. When that golden evening light hits the rooftops to the sound of ringing cathedral bells, there’s nowhere quite like it in the world, truly bellissimo.
Florence’s most famous family, the Medici, were enthusiastic champions of the arts during the Renaissance period – and this evidence is visible at every turn. The city’s galleries are home to some exquisite masterpieces, showcasing works from a staggering selection of greats. You’ll also be treated to some of Europe’s most impressive sights, from the medieval Ponte Vecchio Bridge to the luxurious Florence palazzos. And when all that sightseeing gets too much, you can unwind in an Italian café at Piazzale Michelangelo and drink in stunning panoramic views of the city. By night, the city is pulsing with lively bars and restaurants from traditional aperitivo spots to sophisticated rooftop bars.
Whether you want to join the fun of the busy Florence summers and take a trip during the quieter winter season, we think everybody should visit Florence at least once in their lifetime.
The medieval city of Siena is one of Florence’s closest neighbours. Its UNESCO World Heritage status is well-deserved, with a dazzling array of buildings to admire. Head to bustling Piazza del Campo to soak up the ‘al fresco’ atmosphere as you take in some culinary delights. If you’re lucky, your visit will coincide with the city’s annual medieval horse race packed with character, the Palio di Siena.
Don’t miss the chance for your classic ‘holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa’ photo! Yes, it’s cheesy but it’s a must. Photo opportunities aside, Pisa is a popular destination thanks to its beautiful historic buildings and its lively jumble of streets filled with cafés and bars. There are also some great food markets where you can sample delicious local produce that’s as fresh as fresh can be.
Italy’s cosmopolitan shopping capital has bags of style. Flex your credit card in the upmarket boutiques, watch the well-dressed Milan natives parade around with their resident style as you relax with a strong Italian coffee. And of course remember to dine out in some of the best restaurants in Italy. There’s plenty of culture too, with fantastic museums, galleries and theatres. For a glamorous night at the opera, Teatro alla Scala is the place to go.
The vast dome of Florence’s 13th-century cathedral looms large on the city’s skyline. ‘Il Duomo’ is well worth a special visit to marvel up close at the ornate exterior and beautifully painted frescoes on the ceilings inside.
Florence is renowned as the epicentre of Renaissance art. And there is no better place in the world to view the works of its grand masters. Revel in the artistic delights of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli and Caravaggio to name but a few.
No visit to Florence is complete without meeting Michelangelo’s most famous work, his marble sculpture of David. You’ll have seen pictures of David before, but there is something extra special about seeing such a classic Renaissance masterpiece in the flesh. You can find him in all his glory at the Galleria dell’Accademia.
The Chianti wine trail
Take a tour of the scenic Chianti villages on the outskirts of Florence to visit the wineries responsible for producing some of Italy’s best-loved wines. Relax amongst the rolling hills and the vineyards as you sample a delicious glass, or three.
Escape the hot summer streets of the city with a visit to the magnificent Boboli Gardens. Once the private gardens of the Medici family’s spectacular Palazzo Pitti, they are now open for the public to enjoy. You’ll find everything you might expect from a grand Italian garden with fragrant flowers, tumbling fountains and elegant sculptures – there’s even an amphitheatre to take in.
Tuscany’s stunning countryside produces some of the best ingredients in Italy. Tuscan cuisine was traditionally rustic peasant fare and simple dishes are still celebrated today. Freshly baked bread, quality olive oil and sun-ripened tomatoes are firm Tuscan favourites and are all used to create a delicious array of dishes including panzanella (zingy bread salad), ribolita (bread soup) and fettunta (bruschetta-like toast). Yep, bread is a firm favourite here. We also recommend you try the Tuscan chestnut cake and some of the excellent local cheeses. And some wine. Oh and gelato. We could go on..
Florence has literally hundreds of restaurants to choose from, whether you want a crowd-pleasing pizzeria or to splash out on some fine dining. Restaurants in the more touristy areas are used to catering to international tastes but it’s also worth venturing off the beaten track to sample an authentic taste of Tuscany. If you are enjoying a drink in a bar, you’ll often find they offer ‘aperitivo’ to accompany your drinks. These are tasty nibbles and small dishes, much like Spanish tapas, and a great way to soak up those cocktails. Wherever you eat in Florence, you’re likely to find an amazing wine list to accompany your meal. And whatever you do, don’t miss a trip to one of the city’s gelaterias for some mind-blowing ice cream.
Florence holidays are all about soaking up some serious culture. Whether you visit the art galleries, tour the museums or simply stroll through the streets marvelling at the incredible architecture, you can’t fail to be blown away by the beauty of this historic city.
Book your holiday to Florence with easyJet holidays and enjoy hassle-free travel to one of Italy’s most iconic cities. Want to save money? For the best prices, book both your hotel and your flight with easyJet holidays.
Florence not taking your fancy? Check out our other Italian destinations for some holiday inspiration.