36ºC / 97ºF
One of the most important cities in the world during the Middle Ages, Florence is said to be the birthplace of the Renaissance. Through the sponsorship of wealthy Florentines, artists such as Botticelli, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci found patronage for some of their greatest work. Today, visitors can marvel at invaluable pieces of art produced by these masters, while being surrounded by the beautifully preserved medieval buildings that abound the UNESCO Heritage Site-listed centre of the city. Take a couple of hours out of your itinerary to wander through the vast collection of Renaissance masterpieces at the Uffizi. The extensive architecture of the building is an artistic wonder in itself and inside it, you can gaze in amazement at paintings by da Vinci, Caravaggio and Rubens. For more classical art, head to the Galleria dell’Accademia where you can see the statue of David by Michelangelo. The art of Florence is as much found in its streets as it is in its galleries, and a casual stroll through the narrow streets, might cause a bit of a strain on the neck, as the numerous towers and stunning buildings will command your eyes to look up in admiration. Walk along the Arno River until you come to the Ponte Vecchio. Strolling across this bridge, with the old shops and buildings aligning it, will give you the impression that you’ve travelled back in time. Visit the Loggia dei Lanzi, Palazzo Vecchio and then head on to the marvel at the gigantic domed cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Climb Giotto’s Tower right next to the cathedral for a perfect panoramic view of the city, or if you’re feet are feeling sore after a day of walking the cobbled labyrinthine streets, then opt instead to find a nearby restaurant to sample some fantastic Florentine food. Apart from the great culinary treats of Tuscany, the city is famous for its Bistecca alla fiorentina, which is a gigantic steak often cooked rare. Complement the meal with a delicious dessert in the form of local gelato or biscotti di Prato, before heading to the Piazzale Michelangelo, from where you can watch the sun set over the city. As the mountains darken against the setting sun and the lights of the city engulf the red-roofs, if you’re suddenly hit by a feeling of never wanting to leave this city, we totally understand you, we feel the same way about Florence.
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