Florence (Firenze in Italian) is the capital of the province of the same name and also of the region Tuscany. It is the second most visited city in Italy after Rome. Famous sights are the Duomo, the Uffizi Museum and the Ponte Vecchio. Florence is also a traffic hub and therefore a good base to visit Tuscany‘s other interesting towns.
All about Florence (City Guide)
There is a tourist office in the city’s main train station. Other Info Points are located at the airport, in the Via Cavour, at the Brancacci Chapel and at the Bigallo Museum.
The Firenzecard costs 85 Euro and gives 72 hours of free access to the museums (and some of the city’s churches). The Firenzecard+ costs 7 Euro extra and has the added value of being able to use public transport.
The entire historical center of Florence is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 10% of the country’s works of art are to be found in the Tuscan capital. Note that during the Covid crisis for most of the museums and other sights the Green Pass is required.
A visit to the city had best start at the Piazza del Duomo. The Cathedral is built around the earlier Santa Reparata Cathedral. Highlights are Brunelleschi’s Dome, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Baptistery and the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo. The Duomo is free, there is a combo-ticket for these other highlights.
The San Lorenzo Basilica, the Santa Maria Novella Church and the Santa Croce Church are all world famous.
Superb museums are located in Palazzo Pitti, Palazzo Vecchio and the Galleria degli Uffizi.
The Ponte Vecchio and the Corridoio Vasariano are must-sees and the Forte di Belvedere and the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi are some of the most famous historical buildings.
Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens
The Giardino Boboli (“Boboli Garden”) is one of the most famous gardens in the world. It is a Renaissance garden and is located behind the Palazzo Pitti in Florence. The garden is graced with countless statues, fountains, grottos and all sorts of other structures and edifices. The palace hosts several museums.
Florence has its own airport, Amerigo Vespucci Airport in the Peretola district. However, most tourists arrive at Pisa‘s Galileo Galilei Airport. From both airports there are good connections to the city center.
There are a number of train stations in Florence. The central station is called Santa Maria Novella and is within walking distance of the city centre and most sights. The city is on the train line between Rome and Milan and there is also a direct train to Pisa. Florence does not have a metro system. The central bus square is right next to the station. Most of the bus connections outside the city are provided by the company Flixbus.
Florence is very easy to reach by car. It is the most central city of Italy and a junction of several important roads. The Autostrada del Sole, the highway that connects northern Italy with the tip of the boot, passes the city. There is a direct road to Siena (exit Firenze-Certosa) and the Autostrada Firenze-mare (exit Firenze Nord) leads to the Tuscan coast.
The most important event held each year is the historic football match. Despite the name, this extremely violent spectacle has very little to do with football as it is played nowadays. The Scoppio del Carro takes place on Easter Sunday. Apart from these there are several other interesting annual events in Florence.
The region was already inhabited in Etruscan times and became a flourishing settlement in Roman times under the name of Florentia. Especially under the Medici (from the 16th century) and under the House of Lorraine Florence became extremely wealthy. The latter were in power from the 18th century until the unification of Italy. Florence was the capital of the new state from 1864 to 1870. Read a short history of Florence.
Florence is surrounded by picturesque hill towns. One of the most beautiful ones is Fiesole, which also offers a great view of the provincial capital.