Florentine vacations make for a perfect start to an Italian vacation - the perfect place to explore the country for the first time. All my first-time to Italy clients always include Florence on their itinerary. Florence carries the essence of Italy.
Florence is regarded as one of the most iconic cities in Italy. Cultural, historical, and architectural aspects combine to make this a unique small town. Throughout Italy's history, Florence has played a major role. As the capital of Tuscany, the city represents a considerable portion of the country. This charming city is entirely walkable and offers visitors a wide variety of experiences. For your next trip to Florence, I am listing the top things to see and experience in Florence.
Explore the Art and Architecture
Florence has fostered artists throughout its history. The city has been designed to showcase Italian architecture at every turn. From grand piazzas like the Piazza della Signoria to magnificent churches like the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence surrounds you with incredible architecture right on the street. If you choose to venture into a museum, you'll find famous works of art, such as Michelangelo's sculpture of David.
Michelangelo's statue of David is one of the most famous sculptures in the world and is kept on display in Florence. Sculpted in the early 16th century, the Statue of David stands at a towering 17ft tall and is currently housed in the Galleria dell'Accademia. However, that's not the only place in Florence where you can see the statue! There are two other identical statues on display in the city—one in Piazza della Signoria and one atop Piazzale Michelangelo.
In Florence, the Duomo is one of the city's most striking features. The Duomo sits high above the historical old town and has been watching over Florence for centuries. Originally known as Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, the Duomo took over 140 years to finish, beginning in 1293. The cathedral's iconic dome was modeled after the Pantheon in Rome, and a man named Fillipo Brunelleschi was hired to construct it after winning a city-wide design competition. Ascend the 463 stairs to the dome to see sweeping views of Florence!
Florence is undoubtedly a sight to behold with its incredible art and architecture!
Picnic in the Boboli Gardens
The Duomo is one of the most recognizable structures in the city and hard to miss thanks to its size. For an equally as impressive structure, head across the iconic Ponte Vecchio for the Pitti Palace. Directly behind Pitti Palace are the impressive Boboli Gardens. Designed for the Medici family, the gardens represent one of the first and most impressive Italian-style gardens. When the gardens first opened to the public in 1766, picnicking immediately became a popular pastime. Spend an afternoon strolling through the gardens with friends or enjoy a good book in a quiet corner of the tranquil gardens.
Discover the Magic of Tuscany
The beauty of Florence is that it's a short drive to some of the best small towns and wineries in Tuscany. Just a short hour and 15minute train ride from Florence is the charming Italian town of Siena. This medieval town features 17 different districts that all compete in a historical horse race known as the Palio di Siena. The riders race around the outside of the city's famous Piazza Del Campo to bring honor, pride, and notoriety to their respective ward. Siena is a fun and easy day trip from Florence and perfect for anyone who wants to see more of the Tuscan countryside.
From Siena to Pisa and San Gimignano, the villages around Florence make for the perfect day trip. Sample Chianti from the local vineyards as you spend an afternoon under the Tuscan sun.
It wouldn't be an Italian vacation without some authentic Italian cuisine. And Florence is no exception. While the city is perfect for sampling classic Italian favorites like pizza, carbonara, and gelato, you'll also want to try some regional specialties like panzanella or fettunta while you're there. A specialty of this region is Bistecca alla Fiorentina, a thick, juicy cut of meat. It is best served rare with a side of Tuscan bread to soak up all the juices. It's the cinghiale sauce that makes Pappardelle with Cinghiale so famous in Florentine cuisine. You'll find this meat sauce served over top of various pasta dishes throughout the city. If you want to take your culinary experience to the next level, consider taking a cooking class and learn from the masters!
Florence is a small but mighty Italian city. Regardless of what you're interested in, there is something for everyone in Florence!
Ask me about my search for leather gloves in Florence. It was a mix of comedy and sadness. 🤔