Florence Travel Guide

When it comes to plan a trip to Italy it is easy to get confused simply because there are too many to see and experience. Each of the regions of Italy is known for its uniqueness and charms. Florence is one such important tourist destinations of Italy.

Florence is one of the most important and crowded city of Italy. It is the capital city of the Tuscany region of Italy and famous for its numerous museums, ancient buildings, and squares. Since Florence had been the cradle of Italian Renaissance it is full of spectacles and paintings that belong to that golden period.

The modern day Florence is also known as one of the major fashion hubs of the world. Many of the leading fashion designers are from Florence and they have their shops in the city. Also the city is full of shops from the leading international brands, which make it a shoppers’ paradise.

Florence is known for giving one of the most unique holiday experiences. You can soak into its vibrant life, culture, experience the works of the great masters and enjoy shopping in Florence.

If you too are planning for a tour of Florence on your next vacation you’ll be interested in knowing how to make your Florence trip most memorable. Here is therefore Florence travel guide to help you plan the best trip to the city.

The Florence travel guide will provide you with information like- history of Florence, geography of Florence, transportation, hotels, weather, shopping and the like.

History of Florence

Florence is one of the most important historical places of Italy. It has been the cradle of Italian Renaissance, which had freed Italy and rest of Europe from the dark age of ignorance and impatience, which prevailed during the medieval. The historical significance of Florence in shaping the history of Italy is therefore paramount.

Many historical monuments, structures and palaces are scattered around Florence and are major tourist attractions. Moreover, the museums of Florence are full of works of masters from the Renaissance period. Knowing the history of Florence will help you in soaking into its vibrant lifestyle and culture better.

Florence is located in the Tuscany region of Italy and its territory stretches between Adriatic and the Tyrrhenian seas. At the initial period Florence was one of the many settlements of ancient Italy and was known as Fluentia for its location. The lush surrounding and rich soil of the Valley had helped Florence to flourish.

Earlier it was inhabited by Etruscans and then by Romans during the 5th century. The rulers of Florence kept changing until it became an autonomy during 12th century.

Through out its history, Florence had been ravaged with many wars, which had also affected its growth and prosperity time to time. The population of Florence got reduced by almost 40% after the Black Death pandemic broke in 1348. However, Florence, once Florentine, had continued to flourish under the able ruling of the Medici family.

The Medici regime was important in shaping the history of Florence since it is during their time significant achievements were made on both the fields of science and arts. Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Botticelli are few of the many artists who lived in Florence during the regime of Medici family. The Medici family also established many schools for painting, music, opera and science, which had helped in flourishing the culture of Florence. Many of these schools are now of historical significance and are considered for creating the city.

Geography of Florence

Florence is the capital city of Tuscany region of Italy. The geographical territory of Florence stretches in River Arno, between the Adriatic and the Tyrrhenian seas. The topography of Florence is uneven and dotted with hills. Florence is situated in the basin of Senese Clavey Hills. River Arno and three other minor rivers flow through the land of Florence.

Florence is one of the most developed and populated cities of Italy. It has once been the seedbed for Italian Renaissance and hence many buildings and structures are scattered around the city. The historical centre of the city has been declared the World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. The tourist attractions of Florence range from cathedrals, gardens, museums and historical buildings.

Weather of Florence

Florence enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate; although other school believes that the climate of Florence can be said subtropical. It is hot and humid during the summer with occasional rainfall. The winter is usually cold and damp.

Since Florence is surrounded by hills and river valley the summer is particularly hot from June to August. The respite comes with rain during winter. It may also snow at times during winter.

The best time to visit Florence is during April, May, June, September and October, when the weather is warm and the city less crowded. The months of July and August are particularly hot and also most Florentines go for their vacations during this time and hence, most hotels and lodges remain closed. The temperature along the coast line is generally higher than rest of the city of Florence.

Traveling to Florence

Florence is one of the most popular tourist destinations of Italy and hence, remains crowded year round. Tourists from every corner of the world come to Florence to visit its many museums, art galleries and churches. Hence, Florence enjoys high connectivity with the rest of the world.

By air
The nearest international airport of Florence is Pisa’s Galileo Galilei Airport. From there you can travel to Florence by 80 mins train ride. Pisa is located at the central location of Italy and receives flights from different cities of Europe. From Galileo Galilei airport flights to the domestic airport of Florence are also available. Despite its size the domestic airport of Florence, the Amerigo Vespucci airport caters to an average number of 1.7 million passengers a year.

Most of the airlines don’t have storefronts in Florence and hence, one will need to go on-line to book tickets. You may search for budget flights to Florence as well. These flights operate on first come first serve basis and hence, earlier you book your tickets lesser you pay.

By bus and trams
One of the best ways to travel to Florence is by busses and trams. There are long distance bus services, night busses and Tuscany bus services available which will take you to different parts of Florence. You can check out the bus routes and availability on-line by visiting the websites of different bus services.

The Azienda Trasporti Area Fiorentina or ATFA has bus services available to the city centre of Fiesole as well as to the outskirts of Florence.

The night busses will travel only during the night time. The Tuscany bus services run between different destinations of Tuscany.

Long distance busses
The Eurolines busses run between international destinations such as- London, Paris, Barcelona and so on and so forth. The tickets for Euroline busses can be purchased from Lazzi and BOPA ticket agency.

By train
Train is the most convenient way to travel to Florence. You can reach to Florence from other Italian cities as well as from international destinations by trains. You can travel to UK to Florence by train as well. For information on availability of trains from UK you may check with the Rail Europe Travel Centre. The central station of Florence is called the Firenze Santa Maria Novella.

A variety of trains are available to Florence from different parts of Italy. There are locali, and regionali, which are both local trains. The Interregionali trains cover greater distances and don’t stop at every station.

One can also tour Florence on hired cars and motorbikes. There are many agencies which will rent cars and motorbikes at affordable rates.

Places to visit in Florence

Florence is full of historical edifices, monuments, buildings, churches and the like and hence, it can be really challenging to pick and choose what to see in Florence. Here is therefore a list of must visit places in Florence to help you plan your tour better. However, you mustn’t restrict yourself only to our list but may explore the city in your own way.

Bóboli Gardens: One of the many impressive renaissance gardens. The garden was beautifully designed and manicured. The flora and fauna of Bóboli Gardens include flowers, citrus fruit trees, which are most impressively planted.

Brunelleschi's Dome: The Duomo was constructed by Filippo Brunelleschi after whom it was named. The Duomo is famous for its impressive architecture and advanced engineering. From the top of the dome you can get a great view of Florence.

San Miniato al Monte: The Basilica is a classic example of Florentine Romanesque architecture and is full of many artworks of religious themes.

Santa Maria Novella: It is another famous Basilica of Florence. It also happens to be the first Basilica ever constructed in Florence. This church is one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture.

The Uffizi Gallery: It is the primary museum of Florence. Here you can see some of the best creations of masters, like- Simone Martini, Fra Angelico, and Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Raphael, Caravaggio and more.

Shopping in Florence
Shopping in Florence can be one of the most cherished experiences. Florence is one of the most famous shopping destinations of the world and hence, you mustn’t miss a shopping expedition in Florence. However, one may say that Florence isn’t a place for bargain hunters. From clothes, to accessories, to painting and antiques- items in Florence speak of class and luxury.

The San Lorenzo market (a mile long street market known for selling leather handbags, luggage, silks, woolens and ceramics), Cascine (the largest market of Florence), Pellicceria (Flower Market, every Thursday morning the street dresses up with the most exotic collection of flowers), Piazza Santo Spirito (farmers market)- are some of the most popular markets of Florence.

More on Italy