GMT +1 hour
Discover this beautiful and historic city
Set in the heart of the beautiful Tuscan countryside and revered for its graceful beauty and classic history, Florence is one of the best known and most loved cities in Italy. The birthplace of the Renaissance offers a unique blend of art and architecture, along with a treasure-trove of fabulous sights.
Best time to visit Florence
This beautifiul city is appealing year-round. Spring is ideal for sightseeing and strolling around the bustling piazzas and beautiful gardens. Summer is perfect for al fresco dining but it can get very hot and crowded. If you're looking to avoid the crowds and don't mind cooler temperatures then autumn and winter are ideal. Make the most of the quieter season by exploring the blissfully uncrowded galleries and museums at a leisurely pace, attend an opera or ballet, or shop in exclusive boutiques. In December the twinkling lights, Christmas markets and festive concerts make it a magical time to visit.
Florence holiday highlights
Florence is elegant and laid back, dotted with welcoming little family-run cafés where visitors happily sit with a coffee and watch as local life unfolds around them. The city centre, where you’ll find all of the major attractions, spans the north and south banks of the River Arno. It bursts with history but there’s a real cosmopolitan feel here too.
The majority of the sights sit between the Piazza del Duomo and south to the Arno. The world-renowned Uffizi Gallery boasts an almost unrivalled collection of Renaissance sculptures and paintings created by great artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Francesca and Botticelli. To view Michelangelo’s exquisite masterpiece ‘David’, his four unfinished Prisoners and the St Matthew, head to the Accademia Gallery north of the Cathedral Square. The city's galleries are hugely popular so it is well worth booking tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.
Visit the city’s cathedral, or Duomo, and admire Brunelleschi’s impressive dome which dominates the skyline. See the intricate frescoes of San Lorenzo and visit the Basilica di Santa Croce, the final resting place of Michelangelo and Machiavelli. Cross the famous 14th-Century Ponte Vecchio bridge where glittering jewellery shops hang precariously over the edge, to the grand Pitti Palace where you can wander through the elegant 16th-Century Boboli Gardens and admire stunning works of art by renowned artists such as Raphael, Titian and Rubens at the Palatina Gallery. At sunset, walk to the Piazza Michelangelo for panoramic views of the river and Florence’s striking red rooftops as the last of the day’s rays drench the city in a golden glow.
Wander down to the Piazza della Repubblica, one of the city's main squares, and find a prime people-watching spot at one of the cafés, bars or restaurants. In the evening the square is lit up with twinkling lights and is the ideal location to enjoy a cocktail and live music while soaking up the lively atmosphere.
Nearby Pisa is home to the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa. Although the structure wasn’t designed to lean, the Bell Tower, or Campanile, was created as a work of art for those visiting the 14th-Century naval port, and remains Pisa’s most popular attraction.
Just an hour's drive from Florence lies the beautiful medieval city of Lucca, known as the 'Town of 100 Churches'. This charming city set within 16th-Century walls is one of Tuscany’s best-kept secrets. With a labyrinth of narrow streets and small squares, it is very compact and easy to explore by foot or bicycle. There are a number of galleries and museums to discover including the former home of Puccini which is now a museum dedicated to the city's most famous citizen. The striking 14th-Century Torre Guinigi offers sensational views over the city’s red roofs to the hills.