MINI GUIDE: WHAT TO VISIT IN FLORENCE
You can only really understand what it means to be a city of art when you visit Florence. The city is a work of art to be discovered together with Italo, which will take you directly to the cradle of the Renaissance!
Arriving to Florence by train is worth the trip: the Santa Maria Novella station is located just a few steps from the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, a masterpiece of the Florentine Renaissance – unmistakable for its white marble façade. Inside, you can admire its Museum, which is located in the cloister of the basilica. From the Basilica, the historic centre is just a pleasant walk away, where you can watch the jewel of Florence unfold before your eyes. You’ll find yourself among splendid sixteenth-century buildings such as Palazzo Antinori and Palazzo Strozzi, until the cobbled streets take you to Piazza del Duomo, in front of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and Giotto's bell tower. Just like that, you’ve arrived at the most iconic place in the city. Take a moment to admire Filippo Brunelleschi's red dome from 1436 and the white, pink and green marble façade of the bell tower. From its top, you have an unparalleled view of the city and the surrounding hills. While in front of the Duomo, feast your eyes on the Romanesque-style Baptistery of San Giovanni.
Another nerve centre of the city is the nearby Piazza della Repubblica, dominated by the Colonna dell’Abbondanza. This piazza has always been used for trade and hosted the Old Market. Continuing your walk, follow via dei Calzaiuoli towards Piazza della Signoria, the center of social life in Florence, where instead art is the centre of attention. The piazza is in fact dominated by the fourteenth-century Palazzo Vecchio, now the seat of the Municipality, and by the Loggia dei Lanzi, an open-air art gallery that houses Renaissance sculptures by Giambologna, Benvenuto Cellini and Agnolo Gaddi. The Fountain of Neptune and Michelangelo's copy of the David complete the picture of the most important attractions of this piazza. Continuing along the Piazzale degli Uffizi, adjacent to Piazza della Signoria, you’ll reach the Uffizi Gallery, with its renowned collection of Renaissance art that has contributed to making Italy famous in the world.
If you don't have time to go through the Gallery and take it all in - which requires several hours to really be fully appreciated – just take a few steps more and you’ll find yourself on the Lung'Arno. From here, you can catch a glimpse of another unmistakable landmark of Florence, the Ponte Vecchio, lined with shops and goldsmith workshops. Once you have crossed the bridge, you’ll have crossed into the so-called “Oltrarno” where you can take a rest immersed in the green heart of the Boboli Gardens, just a few steps from another important Florentine palace, Palazzo Pitti. If you’d rather continue onward, let yourself get lost in the streets of the lively Santo Spirito district, where you’ll find numerous artisan boutiques and shops where you can self-indulge and do some shopping.
Another good reason to take a trip to Florence is its gastronomy. The centre of Florence is populated with inns and restaurants of all kinds, where you’ll have no difficulty in finding a place to recouperate after so much walking.
If you are a carnivore, you certainly cannot miss the champion of Florentine cuisine, the steak. How to recognize the real one? It must be tall, fresh off the grill, with an average weight of 2 kg! Not even vegetarians will remain dry-mouthed, as another fundamental dish of Tuscan cuisine is the ribollita, the vegetable and bread soup (strictly Florentine, that is, without salt).
The artistic and cultural wealth of Florence is so vast, it’s impossible to settle on visiting just a single day! With Italo, it’s so easy to get to, we’re sure you’ll repeat the experience!