Florence travel guide - Things to do and see in Florence, Tuscany
Itinerary Florence: Sightseeing tours - bike tours - day tours - wine tours

 

With 372.869 inhabitants Florence (Firenze) is the capital and the largest city of Tuscany and the province of Florence (as of December 31st, 2011). 1,5 million people live in the metropolitan area. The historic center of Florence attracts millions of tourists every year. In 1982 the historic center was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. 

 

Things to see in Florence, Tuscany

Check our insider's travel guide to Florence, featuring the best Events of Florence, Night Live of Florence and sightseeing tours to discover the stunning landmarks, markets, churches, museums and monuments of Florence Tuscany.

The Cathedral Square of Florence (Piazza del Duomo)

 

The Cathedral

The Gothic cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore (“il Duomo“) 

The Brunelleschi Cupola

The inside diameter of the cupola is 41,5m.  

The Belfry 

In 1334 Giotto started the construction of the bell tower of the cathedral (“Campanile di Giotto“). 

 

Loggia del Bigallo

Near the cathedral at the corner of Piazza S. Giovanni 

 

The town hall

The town hall “Palazzo Vecchio“ is regarded as the most prominent civic building of Florence 

 

The Uffizi Gallery

The construction of the Uffizi Gallery was ordered by Cosimo de' Medici and it was built by Giorgio Casari from 1560-75 

 

Ponte Vecchio

The “Ponte Vecchio” (old bridge) is the oldest bridge in Florence that leads over the Arno River 

 

Local cuisine of Florence

The typical Antipasti are a combination of various thin sliced cold meats like e.g.  “Finocchiona” (fennel salami) or “Sanguinacci” (blood sausage) but also “Crostini con fegatelli di pollo e milza di vitello” (roasted white bread with chicken liver pâté and veal spleen) is often served. 

 

Among the “Primi Piatti”, the first course, you can find “Pappardelle al sugo di leper” (pasta with hare ragout), the “Panzanella” (kind of a bread salad with mixed vegetables) and different soups, especially tomato and vegetable soups. 

 

The most famous main dish with meat is the typical “Bistecca alla fiorentina”, the Florentine beefsteak: high quality beef (preferential from young oxen of the Chianina breed) is grilled and afterwards seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper. 

 

Are you planing a day trip to Florence or to the tuscany countryside? Please check our travel guide for the best restaurants in Florence, wine tasting courses or selected wine tours discovering the most famous tuscan wineries of the Chianti or the Brunello region guided by a certified Tuscan wine sommelier.

 

Florence Events

The traditional Florentine festivity “Rificolona“ – a procession through the city, followed by a boat race in the Arno river (September)

 

Every year on September 7th, the Florentine people come together to celebrate the lantern festival “La Rificolona”. 

 

The finals of the “Calcio Storico”, the Florentine soccer competition, usually take place on June 24th at Piazza Santa Croce.

 

On Easter Sunday the traditional “Scoppio del carro” takes place right in front of the cathedral. It is a historical procession with a display of fireworks. 

 

There are many folk festivals, among them the “Palio delle Contrade” in Fucecchio (June). 

 

Montelupo Fiorentino with its terracotta production organizes every year in June the international terracotta festival.

 

During the “Estate Fiesolana” (summer of Fiesolana), theater performances in the Roman amphitheater and other events like the international handcraft fair take place (April – May).

 

The “Sagra della finocchiona“(festival of the fennel salami) takes place in Vaglia Bivigliano, where one can taste the famous salami and enjoy dance and music.

 

Things to do in Florence, Tuscany

Excursions: to the monastery Certosa del Galluzzo of the Carthusian Order or the Fièsole, with its breathtaking view of Florence. Archeologically interesting is the town Sesto Fiorentino.  The area around Mugello north of Florence with the church Sant’Agata in Scarperia, the solid castle of Trebbio or the Medici-Villa of Cafaggiolo is interesting as well. 

 

In Florence you can find various sports offers like gyms, tennis courts and swimming pools, horseback riding, etc. Golfers can test their handicap at two local golf clubs.

 

Market places: 

MARKET OF SAN LORENZO, Sundays and Mondays closed.

 

MERCATO CENTRALE, every morning from 7.00 am to 2.00 pm (Sat. from 7.00 am to 5.00 pm); closed on Sundays and holidays. 

 

SANT'AMBROGIO, daily, except Sundays from 7.00 am to 2.00 pm. 

 

MERCATO DELLE CASCINE, fruit, takes place every Tuesday morning from 7.00 am to 2.00 pm 

 

MERCATO DELLE PULCI, daily from 9.00 am to 7.30 pm.

Indulge your passion for Italian food or life style on a cookery holiday combined with language courses in Florence Tuscany and enjoy our hands-on cooking lessons and cookery courses in Tuscany Florence.

 

Discover the marvelous countryisde of Florence and Tuscany joining a grape harvest festival or olive harvest festival, taking a bicycile tour in Tuscany visiting one of the nature parks or follow up our tracking itinerary.

If you want deeply to relax and re-charge all your energies a Spa journey would be perfect within your Florence or Tuscan holiday. Tuscany has many natural hot springs. In most towns there is a modern spa where hot springs water is brought into a swimming pool and you pay a daily ticket to use the pool.

 

Holiday in Florence or Tuscany countryside

The Coast line of Tuscany offers many splendid white beaches. A guide to Tuscany's best beaches with reviews and what to do when you're there, chosen by our local experts.

 

Our portfolio of hand picked rental villas with pool, holiday houses, romantic country houses and cottages, apartments or rooms for rent with a view in Tuscany offers you authentic, charming and private accommodation for a unique holiday experience. No matter if you favor family holidays, beach holidays, golf holidays, luxury holidays or a pet friendly accommodation, we have the best private rentals in Tuscany available for you!

 

Oddities

The Stendhal-Syndrome

There are so many art works in Florence that some overstrung visitors develop syndromes of the Stendhal-Syndrome - dizziness, heart palpitations or hallucinations, like Stendhal himself experienced while visiting Florence. 

 

History of Florence Tuscany

Florence is famous for its history. It was the center of European trade and finances and thus one of the wealthiest cities in the 15th and 16th century. Florence is often called the cradle of the renaissance. Already in the 19th century it was referred to as the “Italian Athens” due to its cultural importance. 

 

Also well-known and impressive is the moving political history of the city. Here the powerful dynasty of the Medici family stands out, who caused Florence to become one of the most prosperous cities in Europe. Many artists and clericals resided in Florence during these times.

 

Leonardo da Vinci spent large parts of his youth in Florence and Michelangelo also lived in Florence. When troops besieged Florence, he found shelter in the church of the Medici in Florence. 

 

Especially many clericals and scientists were in close contact with the Medicis, for example Galileo Galilei, who resided in the palaces of the Medici and served as the mathematician of the court. From 1865 to 1870 the city was the capital of the newly founded kingdom of Italy.

 

Economy

The main commercial sector of Florence is tourism. Also the headquarters of the fashion label Gucci is located in Florence, one of the few Italian Fashion labels that aren’t located in Milan.

 

Yet important branch offices of the labels Prada, Pucci and Roberto Cavalli are located in Florence and the near surroundings as well. Wine trade is also an important commercial sector in Florence. 

 

Climate

Florence is still located in the temperate climate zone with very warm summers and cold and wet winters. Due to its location and the resulting lack of ventilation, the summer in Florence gets really hot, considerably warmer than on the coastline.  The best travel season for Tuscany and Florence is therefore the spring and fall.

 

Arrival

Located in the northwest of Florence is the small international airport Amerigo Vespucci, that services among others Air Berlin, Alitalia and Lufthansa. Buses connect the airport with the center. There is the shuttle ATAF between the airport and the main train station and the trip takes only about 15 minutes.

 

Florence is located at the highways E45–A1 (Milan–Rome) and A11 (Pisa–Florence). Also there are many freeways. The historic center is closed for nonresident cars and rental cars – with the exception for residents and on holidays, a strict entry prohibition is enforced (“zona a traffico limitato”, short ZTL). Monitoring cameras at the entries of the traffic zone, similar to those in London, check license plates, and thus if an entry permission is existent, in real time. Entries without valid permission are immediately fined. 

 

The most important north – south railroad in Italy connecting north Italy with Rome and Naples runs through Florence ( express railroad Bologna – Florence and Direttissima Florence – Rome) and thus also the TEN-centerline Nr. 1 Berlin-Palermo. Next to the main station Firenze S.M.N., Florence has two more train stations in the city, Campo di Marte and Rifredi. In 2014 the high-speed station Firenze Belfiore will open.

 

Local means of transport  

Taxi

Taxis are easy to find in Florence, not only at taxi stands throughout the city but also at various other positions. The easiest way to catch a cab is to call one of the following local taxi numbers: 055 43 90,  055 44 99, 055 47 98, 055 42 42 . The taxi service is dominated by two big agencies: RADIO TAXI and TAXI SOCOTA. Therefore fares can vary a bit. You should read the price listings on the inside of the taxi carefully to avoid problems. 

 

Segway- and bicycle rental: 

Maybe the nicest way to discover the city and surroundings of Florence is by bike. You can rent a Cruiser Bike or if you don’t want to exhaust yourself you can also rent a Segway bike. It is possible to rent a bike both for a complete day or only for a couple of hours. The rental price includes helmets, locks and a city map of Florence! Juvenile bicycles or child seats can also be rented. Special prices for students and families!

Segway Firenze srl - Via dei Cimatori 9R, Florence - +39 055 2398855 | Mon.-Sat. 9am-1pm. and 2pm-6pm  info@italycruiserbiketours.com | www.italycruiserbiketours.com

 

Bike tour in Florence 

Bike tours through Florence in a small group (max. 8 persons) are a lot of fun. Ride through the city, along the small alleys and be inspired by the renaissance – on a comfortable bike. You will see the most important sights, the Uffizi Gallery, the Piazza della Signoria and the Piazza della Repubblica. http://www.partner.viator.com/en/4035/tours/Florence/Florence-Bike-Tour/...

 

Trolley-car

Florence is developing at the moment a modern trolley-car system, once finished it is planned to comprise three lines. The first line that connects the main station Firenze S.M.N. with the neighbor town Scandicci was launched on February 14th 2010 and has 14 stops on 7,8 kilometers. The city calculates with around 9,8 million passengers a year.  

The tramlines will be operated and serviced by RATP Dev, a branch of the Parisian Metro RATP, who was granted the concession upon a public tendering. RATP Dev is simultaneously working on the conception of two further lines.

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Florence

Florence travel guide - Things to do and see in Florence, Tuscany
Itinerary Florence: Sightseeing tours - bike tours - day tours - wine tours

 

With 372.869 inhabitants Florence (Firenze) is the capital and the largest city of Tuscany and the province of Florence (as of December 31st, 2011). 1,5 million people live in the metropolitan area. The historic center of Florence attracts millions of tourists every year. In 1982 the historic center was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. 

 

Things to see in Florence, Tuscany

Check our insider's travel guide to Florence, featuring the best Events of Florence, Night Live of Florence and sightseeing tours to discover the stunning landmarks, markets, churches, museums and monuments of Florence Tuscany.

The Cathedral Square of Florence (Piazza del Duomo)

 

The Cathedral

The Gothic cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore (“il Duomo“) 

The Brunelleschi Cupola

The inside diameter of the cupola is 41,5m.  

The Belfry 

In 1334 Giotto started the construction of the bell tower of the cathedral (“Campanile di Giotto“). 

 

Loggia del Bigallo

Near the cathedral at the corner of Piazza S. Giovanni 

 

The town hall

The town hall “Palazzo Vecchio“ is regarded as the most prominent civic building of Florence 

 

The Uffizi Gallery

The construction of the Uffizi Gallery was ordered by Cosimo de' Medici and it was built by Giorgio Casari from 1560-75 

 

Ponte Vecchio

The “Ponte Vecchio” (old bridge) is the oldest bridge in Florence that leads over the Arno River 

 

Local cuisine of Florence

The typical Antipasti are a combination of various thin sliced cold meats like e.g.  “Finocchiona” (fennel salami) or “Sanguinacci” (blood sausage) but also “Crostini con fegatelli di pollo e milza di vitello” (roasted white bread with chicken liver pâté and veal spleen) is often served. 

 

Among the “Primi Piatti”, the first course, you can find “Pappardelle al sugo di leper” (pasta with hare ragout), the “Panzanella” (kind of a bread salad with mixed vegetables) and different soups, especially tomato and vegetable soups. 

 

The most famous main dish with meat is the typical “Bistecca alla fiorentina”, the Florentine beefsteak: high quality beef (preferential from young oxen of the Chianina breed) is grilled and afterwards seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper. 

 

Are you planing a day trip to Florence or to the tuscany countryside? Please check our travel guide for the best restaurants in Florence, wine tasting courses or selected wine tours discovering the most famous tuscan wineries of the Chianti or the Brunello region guided by a certified Tuscan wine sommelier.

 

Florence Events

The traditional Florentine festivity “Rificolona“ – a procession through the city, followed by a boat race in the Arno river (September)

 

Every year on September 7th, the Florentine people come together to celebrate the lantern festival “La Rificolona”. 

 

The finals of the “Calcio Storico”, the Florentine soccer competition, usually take place on June 24th at Piazza Santa Croce.

 

On Easter Sunday the traditional “Scoppio del carro” takes place right in front of the cathedral. It is a historical procession with a display of fireworks. 

 

There are many folk festivals, among them the “Palio delle Contrade” in Fucecchio (June). 

 

Montelupo Fiorentino with its terracotta production organizes every year in June the international terracotta festival.

 

During the “Estate Fiesolana” (summer of Fiesolana), theater performances in the Roman amphitheater and other events like the international handcraft fair take place (April – May).

 

The “Sagra della finocchiona“(festival of the fennel salami) takes place in Vaglia Bivigliano, where one can taste the famous salami and enjoy dance and music.

 

Things to do in Florence, Tuscany

Excursions: to the monastery Certosa del Galluzzo of the Carthusian Order or the Fièsole, with its breathtaking view of Florence. Archeologically interesting is the town Sesto Fiorentino.  The area around Mugello north of Florence with the church Sant’Agata in Scarperia, the solid castle of Trebbio or the Medici-Villa of Cafaggiolo is interesting as well. 

 

In Florence you can find various sports offers like gyms, tennis courts and swimming pools, horseback riding, etc. Golfers can test their handicap at two local golf clubs.

 

Market places: 

MARKET OF SAN LORENZO, Sundays and Mondays closed.

 

MERCATO CENTRALE, every morning from 7.00 am to 2.00 pm (Sat. from 7.00 am to 5.00 pm); closed on Sundays and holidays. 

 

SANT'AMBROGIO, daily, except Sundays from 7.00 am to 2.00 pm. 

 

MERCATO DELLE CASCINE, fruit, takes place every Tuesday morning from 7.00 am to 2.00 pm 

 

MERCATO DELLE PULCI, daily from 9.00 am to 7.30 pm.

Indulge your passion for Italian food or life style on a cookery holiday combined with language courses in Florence Tuscany and enjoy our hands-on cooking lessons and cookery courses in Tuscany Florence.

 

Discover the marvelous countryisde of Florence and Tuscany joining a grape harvest festival or olive harvest festival, taking a bicycile tour in Tuscany visiting one of the nature parks or follow up our tracking itinerary.

If you want deeply to relax and re-charge all your energies a Spa journey would be perfect within your Florence or Tuscan holiday. Tuscany has many natural hot springs. In most towns there is a modern spa where hot springs water is brought into a swimming pool and you pay a daily ticket to use the pool.

 

Holiday in Florence or Tuscany countryside

The Coast line of Tuscany offers many splendid white beaches. A guide to Tuscany's best beaches with reviews and what to do when you're there, chosen by our local experts.

 

Our portfolio of hand picked rental villas with pool, holiday houses, romantic country houses and cottages, apartments or rooms for rent with a view in Tuscany offers you authentic, charming and private accommodation for a unique holiday experience. No matter if you favor family holidays, beach holidays, golf holidays, luxury holidays or a pet friendly accommodation, we have the best private rentals in Tuscany available for you!

 

Oddities

The Stendhal-Syndrome

There are so many art works in Florence that some overstrung visitors develop syndromes of the Stendhal-Syndrome - dizziness, heart palpitations or hallucinations, like Stendhal himself experienced while visiting Florence. 

 

History of Florence Tuscany

Florence is famous for its history. It was the center of European trade and finances and thus one of the wealthiest cities in the 15th and 16th century. Florence is often called the cradle of the renaissance. Already in the 19th century it was referred to as the “Italian Athens” due to its cultural importance. 

 

Also well-known and impressive is the moving political history of the city. Here the powerful dynasty of the Medici family stands out, who caused Florence to become one of the most prosperous cities in Europe. Many artists and clericals resided in Florence during these times.

 

Leonardo da Vinci spent large parts of his youth in Florence and Michelangelo also lived in Florence. When troops besieged Florence, he found shelter in the church of the Medici in Florence. 

 

Especially many clericals and scientists were in close contact with the Medicis, for example Galileo Galilei, who resided in the palaces of the Medici and served as the mathematician of the court. From 1865 to 1870 the city was the capital of the newly founded kingdom of Italy.

 

Economy

The main commercial sector of Florence is tourism. Also the headquarters of the fashion label Gucci is located in Florence, one of the few Italian Fashion labels that aren’t located in Milan.

 

Yet important branch offices of the labels Prada, Pucci and Roberto Cavalli are located in Florence and the near surroundings as well. Wine trade is also an important commercial sector in Florence. 

 

Climate

Florence is still located in the temperate climate zone with very warm summers and cold and wet winters. Due to its location and the resulting lack of ventilation, the summer in Florence gets really hot, considerably warmer than on the coastline.  The best travel season for Tuscany and Florence is therefore the spring and fall.

 

Arrival

Located in the northwest of Florence is the small international airport Amerigo Vespucci, that services among others Air Berlin, Alitalia and Lufthansa. Buses connect the airport with the center. There is the shuttle ATAF between the airport and the main train station and the trip takes only about 15 minutes.

 

Florence is located at the highways E45–A1 (Milan–Rome) and A11 (Pisa–Florence). Also there are many freeways. The historic center is closed for nonresident cars and rental cars – with the exception for residents and on holidays, a strict entry prohibition is enforced (“zona a traffico limitato”, short ZTL). Monitoring cameras at the entries of the traffic zone, similar to those in London, check license plates, and thus if an entry permission is existent, in real time. Entries without valid permission are immediately fined. 

 

The most important north – south railroad in Italy connecting north Italy with Rome and Naples runs through Florence ( express railroad Bologna – Florence and Direttissima Florence – Rome) and thus also the TEN-centerline Nr. 1 Berlin-Palermo. Next to the main station Firenze S.M.N., Florence has two more train stations in the city, Campo di Marte and Rifredi. In 2014 the high-speed station Firenze Belfiore will open.

 

Local means of transport  

Taxi

Taxis are easy to find in Florence, not only at taxi stands throughout the city but also at various other positions. The easiest way to catch a cab is to call one of the following local taxi numbers: 055 43 90,  055 44 99, 055 47 98, 055 42 42 . The taxi service is dominated by two big agencies: RADIO TAXI and TAXI SOCOTA. Therefore fares can vary a bit. You should read the price listings on the inside of the taxi carefully to avoid problems. 

 

Segway- and bicycle rental: 

Maybe the nicest way to discover the city and surroundings of Florence is by bike. You can rent a Cruiser Bike or if you don’t want to exhaust yourself you can also rent a Segway bike. It is possible to rent a bike both for a complete day or only for a couple of hours. The rental price includes helmets, locks and a city map of Florence! Juvenile bicycles or child seats can also be rented. Special prices for students and families!

Segway Firenze srl - Via dei Cimatori 9R, Florence - +39 055 2398855 | Mon.-Sat. 9am-1pm. and 2pm-6pm  info@italycruiserbiketours.com | www.italycruiserbiketours.com

 

Bike tour in Florence 

Bike tours through Florence in a small group (max. 8 persons) are a lot of fun. Ride through the city, along the small alleys and be inspired by the renaissance – on a comfortable bike. You will see the most important sights, the Uffizi Gallery, the Piazza della Signoria and the Piazza della Repubblica. http://www.partner.viator.com/en/4035/tours/Florence/Florence-Bike-Tour/...

 

Trolley-car

Florence is developing at the moment a modern trolley-car system, once finished it is planned to comprise three lines. The first line that connects the main station Firenze S.M.N. with the neighbor town Scandicci was launched on February 14th 2010 and has 14 stops on 7,8 kilometers. The city calculates with around 9,8 million passengers a year.  

The tramlines will be operated and serviced by RATP Dev, a branch of the Parisian Metro RATP, who was granted the concession upon a public tendering. RATP Dev is simultaneously working on the conception of two further lines.

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