General | Professional Driver Services | Where to Eat | Suggested Day Trips
Important Areas: Uffizi | Duomo | Oltrarno | Santa Croce | Palazzo Strozzi
Florence is the capital city of Tuscany and is one of Italy 's most impressive cities. Built on the site of an Etruscan settlement, Florence rose to economic and cultural greatness under the Medici family in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Having retained a likeness to its medieval past, Florence offers tourists a wealth of culture, art and beauty, not to mention great wine, food and shopping.
The city skyline is characterised by its clay rooftops and the distinctive dome of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, known simply as the Duomo. Tourists flock to see the many classic masterpieces which are housed within Florence 's galleries and to enjoy the medieval ambience that lingers at every turn.
If its shopping you're looking for, you certainly won't be disappointed. Between the high class boutiques of Via Tornabuoni, the countless leather and jewellery shops throughout the city, the fashionable Via Cazaouli, and the flea and antique markets, Florence has something for everyone.
| Professional Driver Services in Tuscany : Dimitri Raugei
- AIRPORT TRANSFERS - Have a professional driver pick you up from the airport and drive you directly to your accommodation. Make sure you arrive at the airport on time by hiring a reliable, professional driver.
- EXCURSIONS IN TUSCANY and BEYOND
For prices and information about reservations, please inquire by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
| Where to Eat
Excellent Florentine cuisine. Pizzeria. Great wine. Reasonable prices.
Via Porta Rosa, 58R - Piazza Davanzati, 3/R 50123 Firenze
CAFFE ITALIANO & OSTERIA DEL CAFFE ITALIANO
This charming restaurant, located in the Santa Croce area of Florence , produces its own coffee, wine, fruit drinks and liquors. In the Osteria, sample a selection of sliced meats and cheeses from Tuscany . Meals are prepared with simple recipes with attention is given to quality, fresh ingredients. Sit in the main dining area and enjoy the Tuscan cuisine, or try one of Vincenzo's amazing Napolitan pizzas in the more casual pizzeria area.
Via della Condotta 56r - Via della Condotta, 12
Good service, great food. Located in the San Lorenzo area, in front of the Cappelle Medicee. Typical Florentine atmosphere. The walls and ceilings are adorned with frescoes and there is a small garden, perfect for a romantic, candle lit dinner.
Piazza Madonna degli Aldobrandini 11/12r - 50123 Firenze
Home cooked meals in a delicatessen style atmosphere. Exquisite selection of local wines. Open during the day only. This is a good place to stop for lunch or an afternoon wine and cheese tasting.
Via Verdi, 36/R - Florence
Tel: 011 39 055 244 517
| Suggested Day Trips from Florence
Fiesole, San Gimignano, & Siena, Assisi, Pisa & Lucca, Multipulciano, Montecatini, Chianti & Greve
| Important Areas of Florence
The Uffizi Gallery, Piazza Signoria, the Arno River, and a host of characteristic restaurants, wine bars, cafes and shops are concentrated within this small area in the heart of Florence. Steps away from the Uffizi Gallery. Along the bank of the Arno River, one can enjoy views of rowers and kayakers gracefully making their way down the river, the timeless the Ponte Vecchio, and Florence's hillside neighbourhood across the river. In contrast to the busy street life of the day, this area is quite peaceful at night. A midnight stroll through Piazza Signoria and the Uffizi Gallery, and down to the Ponte Vecchio along the Arno River on a starry night is an unforgettable experience.
Important Sites near the Uffizi
This sixteenth century Renaissance palace, once the administrative headquarters of Florence, now contains an estimated ninety percent of Italy 's artistic patrimony. Sitting on the top floor of a unique building erected by Giorgio Vasari between 1560 and 1580, the gallery holds a large collection of Primitive and Renaissance paintings. Paintings and sculptures on display at this famous gallery include works by Giotto, Simone Martini, Piero della Francesca, Fra Angelico, Filippo Lippi, Botticelli, Mantegna, Correggio, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo and Caravaggio. German, Dutch and Flemish masterpieces by Dürer, Rembrandt and Rubens are also on display.
Piazza della Signoria
Perhaps one of the most beautiful squares in all of Italy, with the works of Michelangelo, Cellini and Brunelleschi openly displayed; the glorious Palazzo Vecchio (or Palazzo della Signoria) towering over the square; the restaurants that spill out onto the cobble stones of the piazza; and the ever present medieval atmosphere that can still be felt in the air.
Palazzo Vecchio was built in three stages between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries and now contains the offices of the City Council. Much of this spectacular building can be visited by the public, including the Hall of the Five Hundred, the little Study of Francesco I and the four monumental apartments: the Quarters of the Elements, the Quarters of Eleonora of Toledo, the Residence of the Priors and the Quarters of Leo X, where the reception rooms of the mayor and the council that governs the city are presently located.
The Bargello Museum houses a collection of Renaissance sculpture, including four of Michelangelo's masterpieces, and works by Donatello, Brunelleschi and Ghiberti.
The Duomo is centrally located, close to all major attractions within Florence 's historic centre. It sits halfway between the Uffizi Gallery to the south and the Accademia Gallery to the north. This area holds one of Florence 's main shopping areas and a wide selection of restaurants, catering to both tourists and locals alike. It is also one of the most historically-rich areas of Florence.
Important sites in the Duomo Area
The Duomo stands as the fourth largest church in the world. Arnolfo di Cambio (1245-1302) designed the cathedral at the end of the thirteenth century and Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446) built the cupola (dome). The present day structure is culmination of six centuries of work. Dedicated to Santa Maria del Fiore, this cathedral is typical of Italian Gothic architecture.
The Medici Chapels
The Medici Chapels contain the mausoleum of the Medici family, for whom Michelangelo carved two magnificent tombs depicting Night and Day, and Dusk and Dawn; and Donatello carved two pulpits depicting scenes from the life of Christ.
San Marco Museum
The museum provides an example of a perfectly preserved 15th century convent and is now dedicated to Fra Angelico, an important Renaissance artist. The museum holds an impressive collection of Fra Angelico's work.
Several masterpieces by Michelangelo, including the statue of David and The Prisoners reside in the Accademia gallery.
The Basilica San Lorenzo
The Basilica San Lorenzo is the oldest church in the city, dating back to 393. The present building, designed and built by Brunelleschi, dates back to 1423.
Exhibits include a collection of ancient Etruscan, Egyptian, Roman and Greek artefacts. Two noteworthy artefacts are the famed Etruscan warrior and the Francois Vase.
Oltrarno is a quiet area in the city centre where the Pitti Palace, Boboli Gardens, Ponte Vecchio and Piazza Santo Spirito are located. In this traditional Florentine neighbourhood, tourists can enjoy artisan and antique shops, characteristic Florentine restaurants, wine bars, cafes and a rich Renaissance atmosphere.
Important Sites in Florence's Oltrarno Area
Home to six galleries, the most important one being the Palatina Gallery with works by Titian, Raphael, Perugino, Caravaggio, Velazquez, Rubens, Van Dyke and Andrea del Sarto. The Pitti Palace also houses the Museo degli Argenti, or the Medici Treasury, where visitors can see precious art, including rock crystal vases, works in pietre dure (semi-precious stones), ivory, gems, cameos, silver, carpets and clocks.
A spectacular garden, exemplary of the Renaissance garden style, with geometrically shaped hedges, impressive cypress trees, statues and fountains.
This bridge was originally built in the 14th Century by Taddeo Gaddi and has been rebuilt and restored several times due to damage caused by flooding of the Arno River. This bridge is famous for its jewellery shops and splendid views.
Piazza Santo Spirito
A favourite gathering place for locals and tourists alike, this charming piazza is vibrant and exciting. A small open-air produce and housewares market is a great place to get fresh fruits and vegetables, or inexpensive housewares.
The Santa Croce district of Florence is located on the eastern edge of the historic centre, running along the Arno River. The main attraction in this area is the Santa Croce church, where famous Florentine art is displayed and the remains of the famous dead Florentines can be visited. Once a year, Piazza Santa Croce is filled with dirt and soccer games, reminiscent of the Renaissance violence, are played. This is a busy area, its streets lined with wine bars, cafes and restaurants. It is characterized as a residential neighbourhood, making it a good area to mingle with the locals and catch a glimpse of real Florentine life. Some of the best restaurants in Florence are located here.
Important Sites in the Santa Croce District
Major draws to this area the Palazzo Strozzi and Via Tornabuoni. This area is quiet at night and within close walking distance to major tourist attractions and sites in Florence's historical centre.
The Basilica of Santa Croce
The Basilica of Santa Croce is a Franciscan church, considered by many as one of the finest examples of Italian Gothic architecture. Construction of the Basilica began in 1294 by Arnolfo di Cambio and finished in 1442. The Gothic Revival facade and clock tower were completed in the nineteenth century. Frescoes by Giotto adorn the Bardi and Peruzzi Chapels. The Baroncelli Chapel contains frescoes by Taddeo Gaddi and a polyptych by Agnolo Gaddi. Frescoes by Agnolo Gaddi also adorn the Castellani Chapel. Sculptures by masters of early Renaissance art are displayed in the Basilica, including sculptures by Rossellino, Donatello, Mino da Fiesole, Andrea della Robbia, and Benedetto da Maiano. The Basilica also contains fine examples of early Renaissance architecture, such as the fourteenth century Pazzi Chapel by Brunelleschi. Famous Italians, such as Leon Battista Alberti, Michelangelo, Vittorio Alfieri, Leonardo Bruni, Gioacchino Rossini, and Galileo are burried here.
Piazza dei Ciompi
Ghiberti once lived in this square, where Vasari's Loggia del Pesce stands, held up by its 18 slender Doric columns and decorated with small, round terracotta plaques representing various varieties of fish. A daily market offers visitors prints, books, jewellery and other unique items. On the last Sunday of each month, up to an additional hundred exhibitors bring their wares to the market, scattering onto adjacent streets.
Important Sites in Florence's Palazzo Strozzi Area
Palazzo Strozzi was originally built as house in the fifteenth century by Filippo Strozzi, a member of one of the wealthiest families in Florence. The building now serves as an important museum.
Via Tornabuoni is the fashion hub of Florence and, therefore, is a prime location for shopping. Stores and boutiques of Prada, Armani, Gucci, Bulgari and other top renowned designers of clothing, jewellery and accessories line this street.