Welcome to Florence

Set in Tuscany, on the banks of the River Arno, enchanting Florence is historically and architecturally fascinating. The cradle of the Renaissance and one of Italy’s best loved cities, it is a haven for art lovers. It boasts the colourful Renaissance architecture of the Duomo and a multitude of museums and galleries including the world famous Uffizi.

When to visit

The climate in this area of Italy can be hot and humid during the high summer months and the best times to visit are spring and autumn. It rains between November and March and winter weather can be chilly although this is a good time to visit as it is less crowded. There is a raft of opera and classical music events throughout the seasons including the New Generation Festival promoting emerging young artists from around the world in opera, music and theatre. The Easter Cart Parade on Easter Sunday each year is a sight to behold and there are food and drink festivals and an artisanal ice-cream festival in the spring.

View of Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy

View of Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy

Experience Florence

We’re delighted to highlight a few holiday experiences to enhance your visit to Florence. Simply confirm at the time of booking or prior to travelling.
For further details and prices of private excursions and small group escorted tours, to visit some or all of these places of interest, please ask our Personalised Travel Team about pre-bookable experiences and excursions on 0800 008 7288.

We highly recommend…

Flowers and wine

The Giardino Bardini gardens do not disappoint, especially in April and
May when the wisteria arch is in full bloom. Rest with a wine awhile
at the tiny bar at the top of the gardens’ Baroque staircase.

Florence by Vespa (2 hours)

There is no better way to view Florence than to explore the cobbled streets on a classic Vespa. Led by an expert guide, pass renowned historical buildings and panoramic viewing spots before finishing the tour with a traditional Italian meal.

 

From £120 per person

Chianti (half day)

Explore the beautiful wine region of Chianti and enjoy a Tuscan landscape of gently rolling hills and vineyards, taste superb Chianti wines and Tuscan products.

From £39 per person

Florence Accademia and Uffizi Gallery (3 hours)

After viewing the artistic accomplishments of Michelangelo including his magnificent statue of David in the Florence Accademia, enjoy a traditional Italian lunch, and spend the afternoon exploring the famed Uffizi Gallery.

From £95 per person

Truffles and Leonardo (half day)

Following an expert gatherer and their trained dog, turn your hand to truffle hunting. Then sit down to a lunch of truffle recipes and spend the afternoon discovering Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous inventions.

 

From £181 per person

Gelato and pizza cooking class (3 hours)

Learn the secrets to Italian gelato and pizza from a professional chef. Begin by tasting a variety of flavours to get ideas for your own creations, then start cooking, getting tips and advice from the chef.

From £56 per person

Pisa (half day)

With the Colosseum providing a majestic backdrop, treat your taste buds to the Aroma Restaurant tasting menu. Exquisitely matched with local wines, the tantalising Italian dishes offer a change away from the classic Italian pizza and pasta dishes.

From £330 per person

Out and about

Nearly all the main sights in this delightful Renaissance city lie within the Centro Storico. There are nearly 70 museums and art galleries, numerous palaces, 24 historic churches including Santa Croce brimming with art treasures, Brancacci chapel with its sublime frescoes, the cavernous Santa Maria Novella and San Lorenzo with its Medici Chapels adorned with some of Michelangelo’s most beautiful sculptures.

Central Florence is dominated by the splendid Piazza del Duomo with Giotto’s Campanile and the Duomo Cathedral which soars high above the surrounding buildings. Nestling between Palazzo Vecchio and the River Arno, the world famous Uffizi Gallery houses one of the world’s most important collections of Italian and European masterpieces. The vast 15th century Palazzo Pitti contains the largest and most important paintings in Florence after the Uffizi, with priceless paintings, hung four-high in 26 grandiose frescoed rooms, in addition to a modern art gallery, several museums and royal apartments. The Accademia Gallery is home to Michelangelo’s David.

For displays of the finest of Tuscan produce head for the Mercato Centrale. The indoor part of this market is a foodie heaven with a gourmet food court containing artisan stalls selling the finest cheeses, gelato, baked goods, pizza, meats, wine and more. The city is famed for its gelato and there are countless gelaterie throughout the city serving fabulous ice cream, with renowned Vivoli the oldest.

Good to know

A small and compact city, Florence is best navigated on foot with most of the major sights within easy walking distance. Buses and trams are handy for visiting Fiesole in the Tuscan hills. Reserve timed entrance tickets for the most popular sights, or purchase a three-day museum pass, Firenze Card, to skip the queues.

Luxury hotels in Florence

Grand Hotel Minerva

Florence

  • Stunning Views
  • Ideal for Families
  • Central Location

Belmond Villa San Michele

Florence

  • Beautiful Location
  • Superior Boutique Hotel
  • Ideal for Honeymooners

Hotel L'Orologio

Florence

  • Boutique Design Hotel
  • Central Location
  • Unique and Stylish Rooms

Florence musts

Uffizi Gallery

The jewel in Florence’s crown, the Uffizi Gallery houses the world’s most significant collection of Renaissance paintings as well as examples of art history from ancient Greek sculpture to 18th century Venetian paintings. Pre-book and allow plenty of time.

The Duomo Cathedral

Florence’s iconic landmark took 150 years to complete and is one of the finest masterpieces of the Renaissance. The cathedral’s dome is a feat of engineering which uses over four million bricks and cannot fully be appreciated without climbing its 463 interior stone steps.

Ponte Vecchio

Florence’s iconic bridge is undeniably romantic and undoubtedly one of the best spots from which to catch the city’s sunset.

The Basilica of Santa Croce

The world’s largest Franciscan church is also the burial place of Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Rossini, Marconi and many others. The interior frescoes by Giotto are a particular highlight

Bardini and Boboli Gardens

Florence has little in the way of green space so both gardens are well loved. The Boboli is the more popular, the Bardini, though smaller, is more manicured, beautifully tiered and has all the features of a Tuscan garden and fewer crowds.

Boat tour

For a different perspective of the city catch a leisurely guided mini-cruise along the Arno River onboard a traditional, gondola-style, Barchetta.

Twin centre

Ask our travel consultant about combining a stay in Florence with a visit to Rome, Verona or Venice.
See our dedicated Italy brochure for further details.