Cheap flights toFlorence(Pisa)

Often described as the most beautiful city in the world, Florence is famed for being the birthplace of the Renaissance. Just a short journey by rail or road from Pisa Airport, the city is home to classic masterpieces that still have the power to amaze. As a place of pure artistry, it gives you all the time you need to stop and relax at pretty piazzas and narrow car-free streets.

Sightseeing

Sightseeing in Florence

Florence has an unbelievable array of architectural riches, which make it one of the world’s greatest cultural hotspots. Here are just some of the sightseeing opportunities in this breathtaking city:

A spiritual setting

Start your journey in the heart of Florence, at the Duomo (translated simply as the ‘Cathedral’) where the huge basilica staggers you with its sheer detail. Its redbrick dome is one of the largest of its kind, and you can climb the narrow corridors for stunning views from its peak. The Campanile tower and San Giovanni Baptistery are well worth a look within the same piazza too.

There are many more iconic basilicas and churches within pleasant walking distance amongst the city’s pedestianised historic centre. For example, the Santa Maria Novella is the site of countless artworks by masters such as Donatello and Masaccio. Meanwhile, the most impressive burial site for the famous names of Florence is Santa Croce, where the elaborately decorated tombs of Galileo, Michelangelo and Machiavelli all sit.

On the same subject, Dante is yet another illustrious Italian was a native of the city. His beloved Beatrice (who was a focal character in the Inferno book of the Divine Comedy) is buried in her family’s local church Santa Margherita dei Cerchi.

Splendid stonework

The beautiful buildings continue with the Palazzo Vecchio. Surrounded by an open square lined with pizzerias and cafés, the palace looms large with its 94m high tower. It was once the home of the all-powerful Medici family too.

The Medicis later moved into the Palazzo Pitti, which is even more grand in stature and elegant in style. It’s backed by the neatly trimmed Boboli Gardens, adding to the beauty of the surroundings.

Activities

Activities in Florence

As the true home of the Renaissance, Florence has thankfully held on to many of the supreme artworks created by the Italian masters of the age. That’s why museums and galleries rank high on the menu of the best activities in Florence:

Painterly perfection

Many people visit Florence solely to see the Uffizi Gallery – its collection is that impressive. That’s why it gains a top recommendation from us too. There’s a staggering number of Renaissance masterpieces on show here, including Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus, Caravaggio’s Medusa, da Vinci’s Annunciation and Titian’s Venus of Urbino.

The city of David

A visit to see Michelangelo’s statue of David at the Galleria dell’Accademia is absolutely essential. Nothing will quite prepare you for seeing the colossal size and intricate detail of the world’s most famous statue up close. The gallery was built especially to house this staggering artwork, yet you’ll also find more of Michelangelo’s greatness in his Prisoners sculptures on the site too.

Sculptured beauty

Close to the centre of the medieval city, you should also head for the open square of Piazza dell Signoria. It’s a welcoming public meeting place that boasts a shaded terrace of masterful sculptures, including Cellini’s eye-catching Perseus with the Head of Medusa.

For even more incredible Renaissance sculptures, head to the Bargello. Once a prison, this historic medieval site now offers the chance to see sculptures by Cellini, Michelangelo and Donatello up close.

Families

Family fun in Florence

Florence is undoubtedly famous for its fine art, but families will still find fun things to do in the city:

Tasty gelatos

Florence has a favouritism for ice-cream stretching back hundreds of years. Catherine de Medici is even credited with introducing the delicacy to France back in the 14th century. Today, there are many gelato shops dotted across the city with an array of inventive flavours for you and the kids to enjoy. Rosemary, lavender and rose are just some of the more unusual concoctions, but children may prefer to stick with the ubiquitous vanilla or chocolate!

Play in the park

Despite being a bustling, compact city, Florence somehow conjures up the space for several open green spaces. Children will especially love running around the hedges and burbling fountains of the Boboli and Bardini Gardens, close to the Palazzo Pitti. You may even get the chance to chill out in the Florentine sunshine yourself!

Vintage fun

The Piazza della Republica is the place to be if you’re in Florence as a family. Its retro wooden carousel has been bringing smiles to little ones’ faces for as far back as the early 20th century. With just 20 beautifully decorated wooden horses, it recalls a bygone age.

A children’s museum

Many people know little of the Palazzo Vecchio Family Museum. Yet it’s a must-visit for those with kids, as it features a fun puppet show, a scavenger hunt and fancy dress in Renaissance costumes. All the while, children will learn interesting facts about the Medici family who once lived in the palace.

Couples

Romantic breaks in Florence

Florence may not have the enduring association of romance like Paris and Venice, but it certainly has a magical atmosphere. That’s especially the case at night, when an evening stroll into the centre of town reveals the Duomo and Palazzo Vecchio lit up in amber light against the starry sky. You may even hear the faint lilt of opera in the distance:

Cross the bridge

Take a romantic stroll along the River Arno and cross the Ponte Vecchio to gaze at the many fine jewellery shops that line the bridge.

Beautiful views

Visit the Pitti Palace and stunning Boboli Gardens from where you can get a panoramic view of the rolling Tuscan hills in the distance. It’s also well worth the walk (or bus ride) to reach the Piazzale Michelangelo. Aside from the elegant bronze replica of Michelangelo’s David, the piazza is famous for its breathtaking panoramic of the River Arno, Duomo, Bargello and Ponte Vecchio.

Stylish shopping

Famed for its quality leather goods, Florence is the perfect place to indulge shopaholics, so pick up a souvenir at the San Lorenzo Market. On the other hand, one of the city’s main thoroughfares for designer labels lies close to the Duomo, on the Via Roma, with another glamorous shopping street at Via Tornbuoni.

As an interesting side note, Florence was also the birthplace Guccio Gucci, the founder of the Gucci fashion house. The Gucci Museum serves as a brilliant tribute to the designer, filled with dresses worn by movie stars, original designs for bags and even a Gucci car!

Tips

Top tips for Florence

Cuisine - No visit to the city will be complete without a tasting of Italian gelato, particularly as Florence claims to have invented the frozen delicacy. Bernardo Buontalenti of Florence was reportedly the first to blend milk and egg with the sorbets that were so popular at the time... and the rest, as they say, is history.

For wine-lovers, Florence is renowned for its rich red wine, Chianti. Take a tour of an idyllic winery in the Chianti Classico region for incredible views with delicious wine tastings included! You should also head to Badiani for a secret recipe gelato founded from centuries old manuscripts belonging to the Medici family.

Meanwhile, as Florence is centrally located in the heart of Italy, far from the coastline, its dishes have a rural flavour. You won’t find seafood as a delicacy on the menu very often, but you will find delicious rustic specialities such as wild boar stew and succulent Florentine Steak.

Key phrases

  • Yes - Si
  • No - No
  • Excuse me – Mi scusi
  • Hello – Buon giorno
  • Goodbye – Arrivederci
  • Thank you – Grazie
  • Please – Per favore
  • Where is the nearest…? – Dov'e il…piu vicino?
  • Do you speak English? – Parla inglese?
  • How much is this? – Quant'e per favore?
  • What time do you open/close? - A che ora apre/chiude?
  • I would like… – Vorrei…
  • Do you have…? – Avete…?
  • Do you have a vacant room/double room? – Avete camere libere/una camera doppia?
  • I have a reservation – Ho fatto una prenotazione
  • Do you have a table for two? – Avete una tavola per due?
  • I am a vegetarian – Sono vegetariano/a
  • The bill please – Il conto, per favore

Cost of a pint of beer:£3.00