The riverside homeland of the Italian Renaissance
Florence (Firenze) is the birthplace of the Renaissance – a Tuscan city steeped in world-famous artwork, grand architecture and a trendsetting food scene.
The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (or Duomo, as it’s known) has dominated the skyline since the 15th century. It’s the fourth biggest cathedral in Europe – and the first stop on most people’s trip to Florence. From here, meandering cobbled lanes lead to Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio, the Romanesque town hall.
A trip to Florence wouldn’t be complete without a whirl around the Uffizi Gallery. It houses the world's largest collection of Renaissance masterpieces, including Botticelli's Birth of Venus. Be sure to end at least one day watching the sunset from Ponte Vecchio before sampling some locally sourced antipasti – think mellow cheeses, cured ham and handmade pane sciocco bread.
The countryside unfolds from the Florence city limits. Tour vineyards and villages or hop on a train to another Tuscan city like Pisa or Siena.
Flight time from the UK to Florence is around 2 hours 15 minutes.
Transfer time from Florence airport is around 20 minutes. From Pisa airport to Florence is approximately 1 hour 15 minutes.
Florence is a great place to visit all year round. The summer and spring months can definitely be the busiest, but the city’s piazzas and al-fresco dining venues are lovely in the warmer weather. In autumn, the weather cools down and the crowds reduce. Then the winter brings crisp, cool temperatures (and occasionally even snow) – perfect for wrapping up and enjoying a glass of red (or two). If you time it right, you can also catch the Christmas markets throughout December.
British citizens do not currently require a visa to visit Italy.
When you dine out in Italy, you will generally be charged a coperto (cover charge), which is for the bread, tablecloth, cutlery, etc. Tipping in Italy is not customary, but is always appreciated.
The official language of Italy is Italian. English is widely spoken too, so getting by is easy.