Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most Famous, Beautiful & Populous city in Tuscany. Florence is known for its museums, Palaces, and Churches and some of the greatest artistic treasures in the world.
Piazza del Duomo_Florence
The most popular and important sites in Florence include the Cathedral, the Baptistery, the Uffizi, the Bargello, and the Accademia. The churches of Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce are veritable art galleries, and the library of San Lorenzo is a magnificent exhibition of Michelangelo's architectural genius.
While in Florence, Wander some of the oldest streets in the city until you reach the Arno River, cross the Ponte Vecchio, and experience the "newest" area of Florence, the Oltrarno. Be sure to set aside time to see the vast and varied art collection housed in the Pitti Palace. When you grow weary of museums and monuments, head outdoors. Spend a day at the Boboli Gardens or climb the hill to the church of San Miniato al Monte to experience an enchanting view of Florence.
BY Air: Intercontinental flights do not arrive into Florence 's Vespucci Airport , and so most visitors arrive in the city by train or car, arriving from other parts of Italy or from the nearby Pisa Airport . If you arriving in to the airport, a city bus departs for Florence every half an hour to the main train station of Florence .
BY Train: The train station is a true eyesore, full of unsavory characters, but it's only a short distance from the city centre. As you disembark the train, turn left at the end of the platform and as you walk out of the train station, immediately on your left you'll see a pedestrian underpass which will lead you directly into the historical centre of Florence without having to negotiate the roads full of traffic.Florence is also a key node on the Italian railway network. It has good connections with the main cities in the north, while to the south Rome is only about an hour and a half away. Work on the Bologna-Florence stretch of the high-speed railway line (TAV, Treni Alta Velocità) is at an advanced stage, and a new station is due to be built in Florence.
BY Road: Arriving by car is not recommended in Florence , the city is very much against vehicles entering the city due to severe problems with pollution. Parking fees are high, starting from 16E a day and fines are heavy for people who park illegally. If you are touring Tuscany by car, we recommend using local transport to enter and leave the city.
Florence is at its best from late March until June, and from September until mid-November. When the weather is sunny and not too hot. In the months of July & August, Florence can get very hot and stifling. Set in a valley, the city suffers from pollution that is trapped by the surrounding hills which is at its worst during the warmer summer months. The winter months are also a good time to visit the city, as Florence generally has a mild climate and during the winter months hotel rates are low and the lines to enter the numerous museums are more manageable.
Neighborhoods of Florence, Italy: The city centre of Florence is small and compact, and encourages the visitor to go out and explore its numerous and diverse neighborhoods. Relatively traffic free, the visitor will find delight in discovering the various nooks and crannies, back-streets and stunning viewpoints through which the intrepid traveller can enjoy an intimate experience of this unique and surprising city.
Central Florence , from the Duomo to the Arno River: This is Florence at its most chaotic, within the space of a few city blocks you'll find all the must-see attractions of Florence: the Cathedral ( duomo ) and baptistery, Piazza Signori (the main square of Florence), the Uffizzi Museum, Ponte Vecchio (the most beautiful of the bridges that cross the river Arno, as well as numerous other attractions. Often overwhelming in its layer upon layer of history, that we recommend taking our Original Florence Walk to truly appreciate and understand the historical core of the city.
The District of Santa Croce: Directly east of central Florence , its westerly border includes the Bargello and the principal avenues running eastwards from the Duomo and Palazzo Vecchio. The Santa Croce quarter is the largest of the districts of Florence . It's a wonderful places to go wondering along interweaving streets with hidden architectural gems to discover from the different periods of Florence 's history. In and around Piazza Santa Croce, there are numerous craft shops, bohemian restaurants and cafe's where you could easily idyll away an afternoon.
The District of Oltrarno: On the far side of the River Arno from the centre of Florence , the word Oltrarno literally means "beyond the Arno ". This area of the city is away from the hordes of tourists, and retains more of a local character. Its most important monument is the Palazzo Pitti, which is a huge structure that incorporates many important museums as well as the beautiful Boboli Gardens . West of Ponte Vecchio you'll find the area of Santo Spirito which is home to furniture restorers and other art.
Galleria dell' Academia: Florence's Galleria dell' Academia holds important paintings and sculptures from the 13th-16th centuries. Michelangelo's David, probably the most famous sculpture in the world, is in the Galleria dell' Academia as well as other sculptures by Michelangelo. You'll also find an interesting collection of musical instruments, begun by the Medici family.
Galleria degli Uffizi: The Galleria degli Uffizi holds the world's most important collection of Renaissance art but it's also Italy's most crowded museum so it's a good idea to buy tickets ahead to avoid long ticket lines The Uffizi holds thousands of paintings from medieval to modern times and many antique sculptures, illuminations, and tapestries. Artists whose works you'll see include Michelangelo, Giotto, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Perugino, and Raphael.
Boboli Garden and Pitti Palace: Cross the Ponte Vecchio to the Giardino di Boboli, a huge park on a hillside in the middle of Florence behind the Pitti Palace. Here you'll find beautiful gardens and fountains and a great view of Florence from the Forte Belvedere (picture). Open daily at 8:15 (except some Mondays in winter) with seasonal closing times.The Pitti Palace, Florence's largest palazzo, was once the seat of the Medici family. You can visit 8 different galleries, including art, costumes, jewelry, and apartments.
Santa Croce: Santa Croce, in Piazza Santa Croce, is the largest Franciscan church in Italy and holds the tombs of several important Florentines including Michelangelo and Dante. The vast interior contains some exceptional stained glass windows and frescoes. One of Brunelleschi's most important works, the Cappella dei Pazzi, is in Santa Croce. Admission includes the museum and tours given by volunteers when available. Audio tours are extra. Open Monday-Saturday, 9:30-5:30 and Sunday, 1-5:30.
Santa Maria Novella: This area lies directly between the railway station and the Arno river. The streets in and around Piazza Santa Maria Novella are an architectural treasure trove, lined with some of Florence 's most elegant piazza. It's also home to Florence 's finest shopping street Via Tornabuoni. In between the lavish palazzo's and expensive shops are enchanting medieval streets to see, as well as the Croce al Trebbio, a little shrine erected by the Domenican friars to celebrate the defeat of the Patarene heretics, in a bloody street brawl.
The National Museum of the Bargello: The Bargello is located near the Piazza della Signoria and houses some of the most incredible sculptures from the leading artists of the Renaissance era. Such noted works from Michelangelo, Donatello, Ammannati, Bandinelli and others grace the interior of this great museum.
The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore: The Duomo's (church's) dome was designed by Brunelleschi and is one of the most visited pieces of Italian architecture. Brunelleschi was awarded the job of designing the dome after a competition held in 1419 by the Arte della Lana. With the help of Donatello, Brunellschi was awarded the task. It also features the stunning Giotto's Tower.
Ponte Santa Trinita: This bridge, near the church Santa Trinita, is the oldest elliptic arch bridge in the world and was designed and constructed by famed Florentine, Bartolomeo Ammanati. The original bridge was destroyed by German troops in August of 1944, but was later rebuilt in 1958 with most of the stones coming from the original construction.
Florence has some of the finest shopping in Europe. In Florence you'll find leather goods, paper goods, and jewellry as well as nice souvenirs and art productions. Florence has a number of open air markets selling food, clothing, and antiques. The most famous is around Piazza San Lorenzo where you'll find leather goods, too. Another good place is Mercato Nuovo (Porcellino) on Via Porta Rossa. Mercato Centrale is a great place for food shopping or just looking.
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