Florence Italy Vacation

Discover Romantic Florence Italy

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Plan a Florence Italy vacation as this city is not only the regional capital of Tuscany, but also one of the loveliest, most interesting and vital cities in Europe.

Sunset on the Arno River in Florence Italy
Sunset View of the River Arno in Florence Italy

The city of Florence (Firenze) lies on the River Arno and is known for its history and its importance in the Middle Ages and in the Renaissance. It was originally established by Julius Caesar in 59 BC as a settlement for his veteran soldiers.

Tuscany has a unique artistic legacy, and Florence is one of the world’s most important artistic centres.

This city is an art metropolis among the world’s greatest. You will quickly discover that a Florence Italy vacation is fun and amazing!

Visit Ponte Vecchio on Your Florence Italy Vacation
Ponte Vecchio Bridge – A Place to Go Shopping on Your Italy Vacations

In Florence, you can sun yourself in the squares, enjoy the evening street musicians, or engage in enthusiastic conversation in front of bars and trattorias.

Florence Italy Gourmet Restaurant
A Charming Restaurant on a Side Street in Florence Italy

Dine at the gourmet restaurants and enoteche (wine bars).

Fine cooking is a great Italian characteristic and connoisseurs can choose from the many varieties of cheese, olives, prosciutto, wines, olive oils and other delicacies of Tuscany.

Consider a few day trips in your vacation ideas as Siena is only an hour away and the many famous wine roads lie between Florence and Siena.

Florence Accommodations

There are so many wonderful hotels, apartments, farmhouses and villas to choose from for your Tuscany holiday accommodations.

I have always been delighted by my accommodations in Florence Italy because the buildings are ancient and medieval on the exterior, but inside they have been renovated with the latest modern technology while at the same time preserving the original structure and personality of medieval times.

On the Rooftop in Florence Italy
Tuscany Holiday Accommodations in Florence – A View of the Duomo

I am including a few pictures of a bed and breakfast (pensione) from one of my recent visits which had a rooftop terrace.

A View of the Duomo in Florence Italy from the Rooftop of my Pensione
A Fantastic View of the Duomo from the Rooftop Terrace of my Bed and Breakfast

Tuscany holiday accommodations always have delightful surprises.

The view of Florence Italy was spectacular, and in the evening there was a fireworks displaoy for which I am not sure what the occasion was but it was fabulous watching from the rooftop.

On Your Florence Italy Vacation Visit the Famous Museums and Art Galleries

The Tuscany region contains numerous museums and art galleries, most of which house some of the worlds most precious and valuable works of art.

Florence is believed to have the largest concentration of Renaissance art and architecture in the world with museums such as the Uffizi, which keeps Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, the Pitti Palace, and the Bargello, and more.

Some of the painters, architects, sculptors and genius who lived in Florence include:

  • Cimabue and Giotto
  • Arnolfo and Andrea Pisano
  • Brunelleschi, Donatello and Masaccio
  • Ghiberti and the Della Robbias
  • Filippo Lippi and Angelico
  • Botticelli, Paolo Uccello
  • Leonardo da Vinci
  • Michelangelo

Florence Italy Vacation – Galleria degli Uffizi (the Uffizi)

Because the Galleria degli Uffizi holds the world’s most important collection of Renaissance art, it is also Italy’s most crowded museum. Buy your tickets well in advance to avoid the long line-ups.

The Uffizi Gallery in Florence Italy
Include a Visit to the Famous Uffizi Gallery in Florence Italy in Your Vacation Ideas

The Uffizi holds thousands of paintings from medieval to modern times and many antique sculptures, illuminations, and tapestries.

Works of art include those of Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Giotto, Perugino, and Raphael. Open Tuesday to Sunday, from 8:15 am – 6:50 pm.

Florence Italy Vacation – Il Duomo (Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore)

The most popular site in Florence is its Duomo (cathedral), the Cattedrale de Santa Maria del Fiore.

Construction of the Gothic Duomo began in 1296 and was completed and consecrated in 1436. This cathedral holds 20,000 people.

Il Duomo in Florence Italy
For a Fabulous View of Florence Italy Climb the Steps to the Top of the Duomo

The beautiful exterior is made of deep green, pink, and white marble and has several elaborate doors and interesting statues.

On the inside, Brunelleschi’s Dome is a masterpiece of construction. It will make you wonder “how did they do it back then without modern technology”. You have to see it to understand what I’m talking about.

If you can climb the stairs, it is well worth to buy a ticket to climb the 463 steps to its top.

The Baptistery

In Piazza San Giovanni, near the Piazza del Duomo, is one of Florence’s oldest buildings, the Baptistery of John the Baptist, dating back to the 11th century.

The Baptistery at Piazza del Duomo Florence Italy
The Baptistery of John the Baptist near the Piazza del Duomo

The exterior is made of green and white marble and has three sets of stunning bronze doors which are reproductions, with the originals being stored in the Duomo Museum, (also worth a visit).

Giotto’s Campanile

The Campinile, the Gothic bell tower at the Piazza del Duomo, stands beside the Duomo (Cattedrale de Santa Maria del Fiore).

Gothic Bell Tower at Piazza del Duomo Florence Italy
The Gothic Campinile Bell Tower beside the Duomo in Florence Italy

The bell tower is commonly called Giotto’s Campinile because the first story was designed by Giotto.

If you are up to more climbing, purchase a ticket and climb the 414 stairs (there is no lift) for great views of the Duomo and the city of Florence and surrounding panorama. Open from 8:30 am – 7:30 pm.

Top Attractions on Your Florence Italy Vacation

Most of the Florence attractions lie in Florence’s compact centro storico (historical center).

Florence, a Renaissance city in the heart of Tuscany and one of the most popular travel cities in Italy, holds many attractions for the tourist.

The best way to discover these wonderful treasures is to plan ahead and reserve several Florence walking tours. That way you will not have to wait in anyline-ups and your informative guide will make your visit even more exciting andenjoyable.”

Florence Italy Vacations- Unique Architecture near the Duomo Florence Italy
Beautiful Architecture and Courtyard in Florence Italy

In Florence, you will find some of Italy’s best museums, beautiful cathedrals and churches, and interesting streets and squares with elegant buildings and shops.

Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio

The most famous square in Florence is Piazza della Signoria in the heart of the historical center.

This piazza has been the political center in Florence since the middle ages and the town hall of Florence, the medieval Palazzo Vecchio, sits on the Piazza della Signoria.

The Loggia della Signoria, also called the Loggia dei Lanzi, is a building on a corner of the Piazza della Signoria in Florence Italy where some important statues including a copy of Michelangelo’s David stand in the piazza.

Florence Italy Vacation Ideas at the Palazzo Vecchio
Palazzo Vecchio and Loggia dei Lanzi in the Piazza della Signoria

The piazza is surrounded by cafes and restaurants, and absolutely romantic place to have dinner on your Florence Italy vacation.

It is at one of these restaurants when I was having a lovely dinner on a cobblestone outdoor patio lit with romantic street lamps that I looked for Vin Santo dessert wine on the menu but could not find it.

After asking our server if they had the wine, I was delighted to discover that the restaurant did indeed offer Vin Santo, a heavenly Tuscan dessert wine. Along with a glass of Vin Santo, I received a plate of the Italian biscotti, which traditionally are dunked into the wine before you bite into them.

There are so many interesting and fun things to learn on your Florence Italy Vacation

Galleria dell’ Academia

On your Florence Italy Vacation, make sure to include a viewing of the original Michelangelo’s David which is housed at Florence’s Galleria dell’ Academia. The Galleria also holds important paintings and sculptures from the 13th-16th centuries.

Michelangelo’s David is probably the most famous sculpture in the world. In the Galleria dell’ Academia you will also find an interesting display of musical instruments, collected by the Medici family.

The Galleria is open Tuesday to Sunday, 8:15 am – 6:50 pm and sometimes later on Tuesdays in the summer.

Visit Ponte Vecchio on Your Florence Italy Vacation

The Ponte Vecchio (means old bridge) was built in 1345 and was Florence’s first bridge across the Arno River.

This is the only surviving bridge from Florence’s medieval days as the others unfortunately were destroyed in World War II.

Ponte Vecchio in Florence Italy
The Ancient Bridge Ponte Vecchio on the Arno River in Florence Italy

The Ponte Vecchio is still lined with great shops selling gold and silver jewellery. Take a stroll down the bridge and you will have a great view along the Arno River and beyond.

Visit Ponte Vecchio on Your Florence Italy Vacation
Great Shops and Restaurants Line both the Ponte Vecchio and Arno River

Walk across the Ponte Vecchio and you will discover more great shops and restaurants.

I enjoy sitting at the outdoor cafe beside the entrance of the bridge.

Florence Italy Vacation Ideas at Ponte Vecchio
Great Shopping on the Sides Streets near Ponte Vecchio in Florence Italy

It’s a great spot for people-watching and simply relaxing while sipping on a glass of Prosecco.

Include the Giardino di Boboli in Your Florence Italy Vacation

When you cross the Ponte Vecchio, make your way over to the Giardino di Boboli, a huge park on a hillside in the middle of Florence behind the Pitti Palace.

Here you will discover beautiful gardens with spectacular fountains and a great view of Florence from the Forte Belvedere.

Giardino di Boboli is open daily at 8:15 am (with a few exceptions on Mondays in the winter and with seasonal closing times).

Pitti Palace

The Pitti Palace, Florence’s largest palazzo and mainly a Renaissance palace, was once the seat of the Medici family who amassed paintings, plates, jewellery and luxurious possessions.

You can view the collections by visiting the different galleries at the Pitti Palace, including art, costumes, jewellery, and apartments.

The palace is located on the south side of the River Arno, a short distance after crossing the Ponte Vecchio. The palazzo dates from 1458 and in the late 18th century, was used as a power base by Napoleon.

Florence Italy Vacation – Piazza Santa Croce

The Piazza Santa Croce, dominated by the Basilica of Santa Croce is a rectangular square in the center of the Florence.

Santa Croce is the largest Franciscan church in Italy and holds the tombs of several important Florentines including Michelangelo and Dante.

The grand interior contains some exceptional stained glass windows and frescoes. One of Brunelleschi’s most important works, the Cappella dei Pazzi, is in the Basilica of Santa Croce. Open Monday to Saturday, 9:30 am – 5:30 pm and Sunday, 1 pm – 5:30 pm.

Piazza della Repubblica

The Piazza della Repubblica is a square in the center of Florence, which underwent a major facelift between 1885 and 1895, which included the total destruction of buildings of great importance: medieval towers, churches, the corporate seats of the Arti, some palaces of noble families, as well as craftsmen’s shops and residences.

Piazza della Repubblica Florence Italy Vacation
Hotel Pensione Pendini at the Piazza della Repubblica

Some valuable artefacts were saved, and since that time of transformation, the square has became a place to lounge with more refined palaces, luxury hotels, department stores and elegant cafes well worth visiting during your Florence Italy vacation.

Florence Italy Vacation Piazza della Repubblica Italian Restaurants
In the Heart of Florence Italy – Outdoor Terrace Restaurants at Piazza della Repubblica

Among the square’s cafes, the Giubbe Rosse cafe has long been a meeting place for famous artists and writers, and thinkers of Futurism.

The Via della Vigna Nuova, Lungarno Corsini and Via Tournabuoni form a triangle and strolling through these streets is like leafing through a fashion magazine.

Piazza Santa Maria Novella

Home to the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella and the Alinari National Museum of Photography, Piazza Santa Maria Novella is one of the principal squares of Florence.

Santa Maria Novella is a church in Florence, Italy, located across from the main railway station which shares its name. It is the first great basilica in Florence, and is the city’s principal Dominican church.

The Santa Maria Novella church, the adjoining cloister, and chapterhouse contain a storehouse of art treasures and funerary monuments, especially the frescoes by masters of Gothic and early Renaissance.

Florence Italy Vacation – Shopping

Florence has some of the finest shopping in Europe.

In Florence you’ll find leather goods, paper goods such as beautiful stationary, unique jewellery and great works of local art.

Shopping in Florence Italy
Grand Arches at Piazza della Repubblica with Boutiques

For Italian haute couture on your Florence Italy vacation, Florence has a number of open air markets selling food, clothing, leather goods and antiques:

  • Most famous is around Piazza San Lorenzo where you’ll find leather goods.
  • Mercato Nuovo (Porcellino) on Via Porta Rossa.
  • Mercato Centrale is a great place for food shopping or simply browsing.

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