Florence Travel Guide

  • Florence
    by Homanded
  • Florence
    by Homanded
  • NEPTUNE'S FOUNTAIN - Piazza della Signora
    NEPTUNE'S FOUNTAIN - Piazza della...
    by Homanded

Florence Things to Do

  • Ponte Vecchio

    4 out of 5 stars

    "Ponte" is the Italian word for "Bridge", and "Vecchio" is the Italian word for "old". The Ponte Vecchio, or the Old Bridge was for a long time, until 1218, the only bridge which crossed the Arno River. But there are now six bridges in Firenze (Florence). None of the other bridges have the fame of the Ponte Vecchio. A devastating flood in 1345...

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  • Il Duomo - Santa Maria del Fiore

    Il Duomo is MASSIVE! Nothing can prepare you for the sheer size of it. Like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, everywhere you go in Firenze you catch a glimpse of this wondrous, beautiful dome. The best part is when you head down a narrow, cobblestoned, medieval lane only to come across Il Duomo looming over you - AMAZING.

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  • Uffizi Gallery - Galleria Degli Uffizi

    4.5 out of 5 stars

    This is one of world’s great art museums and a must-do for visitors to Florence. It is also one of the busiest attractions so pre-ordered tickets (see the website) or passes are HIGHLY recommended during the summer and shoulder seasons. Housed largely on the top floor of a 16th-century administrative palace built by Cosimo I, the collection...

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Florence Hotels

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Florence Restaurants

  • Trattoria ZaZa

    4.5 out of 5 stars

    I first visited Florence in 2006 and ate at Za/'Za because, according to my guidebook, this trattoria was one of the best for value. And I have to say I agreed. I always passed it on my way back to my hotel, and every time I did so it was full of both visitors and (more importantly) Italians. The latter is my point-of-judgement; if the locals use...

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  • Local Eating

    4.5 out of 5 stars

    As you stroll through Florence you find very fine fresh fruit shops. There is a great abundance of fresh localy grown fruit. It is inexpensive and delicious. What better way to remember Italy than to eat food close to the soil of Italy. I look for things I cannot have at home. The fresh muscat grapes were unbelivable. My companions would not leave...

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  • Il Latini

    4.5 out of 5 stars

    We were advised by several folks that "you have to go to I'll Latino" but after hearing about the 'mob scene' at dinner time even with a reservation we opted to try out their lunch. The consists of two dining rooms of tightly arranged rows so our table of two adjacent to the next table with no privacy and heaven help you got stuck next to a cranky...

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Florence Nightlife

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  • Astor Cafe

    Astor is a great place to go at night because it has a good mix of Americans and Italians. Also, there's almost always a really cheap drink deal till at least 12, and they make great drinks! The DJs are usually playing great music too. We go a lot because it's right next to the Duomo and really easy to get to. Their burgers and coffee during the...

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  • Ideas

    During Christmas time it's a good choice to go to the Santa Croce church, and visit the piazza there. Sitting outside in december maybe doesn't sounds like a great idea, but the beer carousel at the piazza is really fun! It's not like an amusment park carousel, as it goes around much slower, but it gives you plenty of time to look around at...

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  • Jazz Club Firenze

    Being from New Orleans, I realize I am a jazz snob. Being inundated with excellent jazz does that to you. So, it was no surprise to me that the jazz here was average for my taste. However, the people I went with thoroughly enjoyed the music, and we all had a good time at this club, so all's well that ends well! The club is situated downstairs...

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Florence Transportation

  • Buses

    Florence is a great walking city, but sometimes you need a little help. You can catch the orange ATAF buses for trips around the city that are just too long to walk (or if the weather is really atrocious!). They are easy to use – simply purchase your ticket from one of the newspaper vendors around town (you can purchase tickets on board but they...

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  • Trains

    The journey from Pisa to Florence by train is very short and quite comfortable.Trenitalia is a dependable service and the chair cars are very comfortable.You may book your tickets right before your journey at the railway station because there are several trains each day and you can select an hour convenient to you.

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  • Driving

    Driving into and parking in Florence is very difficult at best and comes with the risk of a heavy fine. The roads around the city center are a restricted driving area (ZTL) and, if entered without a special permit, you will be fined. There are parking areas around Florence outside the ZTL, but they are expensive the closer to the city. The ones...

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Florence Shopping

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  • Leather

    Before going to Florence, I did some research on buying leather. High reviews on Michelangelo's shop kept coming up again and again on Virtual Tourist. His shop became a priority. When we showed several of our tour guides the address, no one knew the street. I was not about to give up. My son finally located it on google maps. It wasn't on local...

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  • San Lorenzo Market

    As you walk down the streets of Florence, you have no lack of shopping opportunities. Not only are there lots of shops, but there are also street markets that sell just about anything you are looking for. Many of these vendors seem to sell leather goods, scarves, and tourist items (like those boxer shorts with Michelangelo’s David strategically...

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  • Outlet Mall

    I think that both the Mall and Barberino Designer Outlet deserve to be visited since the shops you find are different. The Mall is located in Leccio, about 20 km south of Florence heading to Valdarno-Arezzo. Here you can find several famous fashion outlets such as Prada, Gucci, Armani Jeans, Bottega Veneta, Roberto Cavalli, Valentino, Tod's and...

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Florence Local Customs

  • Love Locks on the Ponte Vecchio

    So these are both a custom and a curse. Young people have created the trend of expressing their love by attaching locks to certain fencing in famous spots (the Pont des Arts in Paris is another fine example). However, the locks pose a burden on the fencing and so the local government pays to have the locks removed periodically at great cost. While...

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  • La Polizia

    The center of Firenze is a pedestrianized, traffic-free zone where only emergency vehicles are allowed to drive on the streets, so it was interesting to see La Polizia on the Piazza della Signoria expecting everywhere I walked to be a pedestrian-safe area.

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  • Tabernacoli

    Even the ancient Romans used to decorate their houses with pagan patron saints and the practice continued in a time when Christianity became the dominant religion. Such religious architectural form in Florence had a strong significance starting from the 13th century, especially in the struggle against heretics/Patarins. Under the influence and...

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Florence Warnings and Dangers

  • Pickpockets

    Pickpockets are everywhere, especially where tourists like to hang out – so take common sense precautions as you travel in Florence. - Don’t flash your valuables around – expensive camera equipment, lots of cash, etc. - Hide your passport, credit cards, and extra money in a money belt that fits under your clothing. - If you carry a purse, put it...

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  • Shopping

    I don't really know what happened; my Italian isn't good enough, and the shopkeeper couldn't/wouldn't speak English. But is was a most unpleasant experience, and possibly worth relating as a warning. I had purchased a pack of 100 cigarettes (a present) from a small 'Tabacchi' (on Via Cavour, very near Piazza S. Marco). Paid cash, got change, no...

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  • Traffic

    Everywhere! Lots of people, surrounding buildings, mixing with spread statues, filling your photos. I was there in winter, so... I may imagine what happens in summer. It's "forbidden" to make a picture without a multitude of heads and backs.

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Florence Tourist Traps

  • Fake designer handbags

    In many parts of downtown Florence, people will set up displays of "designer" handbags and wallets and try to sell them. DO NOT purchase these because they are obviously not real and they are also on the expensive side. Of course they are much cheaper than a real designer bag, but there are still much better things to spend one or two hundred euros...

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  • The Accademia

    The Academia is really a second rate museum; other than Michelangelo's David, it really does not have a lot to offer. There are rooms of sculpture (really plaster casts), some Florentine icons, some musical instruments, including a number of pieces by the famed Cremona instrument makers, like Stradivarius. The statue of David is really the only...

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  • Uffizi Gallery

    Many will consider the Uffizi one of the greatest art galleries in the world. I personally would suggest it is the most over-rated art gallery in the world. Give me the Tate, the Met or the Alte Pinakothek any day.The Uffizi, not surprisingly contains Italian religious art. In my view, this has got to be some of the most boring art in the world. I...

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Florence What to Pack

  • General Packing Tips

    We went on July and it was very hot about 32 degrees, so all on our luggage was summer cloth, confortable shoes because you will walk a lot. If you go on winter well take all jumper, trousers, hats, etc is very very cold. Viajamos en Julio en pleno verano y hacía mucha calor sobre 32 grados, así ke toda la ropa de verano que echamos a veces no era...

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  • Comfortable Shoes

    Good, sturdy walking shoes are a must for this city! The cobblestone streets are uneven and can make for some difficult walking for even the best of walkers. Florence is very much a walking city so you want to be comfortable. Also, if you are touring the museums, you will be on your feet quite a bit. So good sturdy shoes that you have broken in...

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  • Arms must be covered in Churches

    Florence is a city you can take a suitcase to. The route from the train station to the Duomo area is all sidewalk, with a little cobblestoned areas, but easily travelled. Plus, it is walking distance. If you intend to visit the Duomo, or other churches while visiting, bring a shawl with which to cover your bare arms and shoulders. Or, better still,...

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Florence Off The Beaten Path

  • Pratolino Park and Villa Demidoff

    To the right of the charming Piazza Demidoff is a public garden called the Demidoff Gardini, with a statue covered by a Victorian glass canopy - monument to Nicolo Demidoff, Russian Ambassador in Tuscany . This square was dedicated to the Russian noble Nikolaj Demidoff (1773 – 1828). The Italians converted his Russian first name to the familiar...

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  • San Jacopo sopr'Arno

    The church of San Jacopo sopr'Arno, situated on the southern bank of the river Arno, was built in the 10th and 11th century in a Romanesque style. From 1542 the church had been run by Franciscans of the Minorite Order. Later on, after major reconstructions in the 18th century it was run by Missionary Fathers. During the big flood in 1966 the church...

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  • Symbols of the Medici

    The Medici were a wealthy banker family that ruled Florence in the 1400-1700s. Much of the town, its buildings, and art have their symbols some place in them letting you know that they were the patrons who commissioned the work. How do you know if this is a Medici commission or not? Here are some of the symbols used – if you look closely (and some...

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Florence Sports & Outdoors

  • Swimming pools

    There are various swimming pools in Florence which are very crowded during summer. Here is a link for the most popular ones. During winter pools work on a booked time slot basis.

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  • Firenze Marathon

    The Florence Marathon usually takes place at the end of November. People from all over the world come to Florence to enjoy a run which starts from the Piazzale Michelangelo going through the old part of the town and the Cascine park.

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  • Calcio Fiorentino

    Calcio Storico Fiorentino, or Ancient Florentine Football (sometimes called Costume Football) is an ancient game that is a combination of soccer, football, and boxing. It is one of the most brutal sporting events in the world. Once a way that soldiers prepared for war, it remains as a game for only the very tried and tested. Each team has 27...

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Florence Favorites

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  • Cities Not to Miss Near Florence

    Siena is a well preserved Medieval town located 30 miles south of Florence. It is set on three hills. One of the main area in this town is piazza del Campo; a large scallop shaped square. It is divided in 9 segments representing the Concil of the Nine that ruled Medieval Siena. In piazza del Campo a historical bareback horse race called “Palio” is...

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  • Where to find Great Views

    OK, so I haven't made a dime on this shot but it has been seen by thousands of Minnesotans - and anyone who has cruised the VT "Top 10" lists. We were doing our Sunday read of the paper awhile back, and The Husband said, "Oh look; Florence! Golly, that sure looks like the shot you took of that bridge." By golly, it WAS my shot. Turns out...

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  • How to avoid waiting in lines

    Would you like to see the David without any crowds? Would you want to visit the David and uffzi in 3 hours? We did it. It was one of the magical and surreal sights. Turning right and viewing the David for the first time. The whole place was empty.(The usual stewards were sitting near the walls and pillars out of sight) It was an amazing sight and...

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Top 10 Multi-Generational Destinations: Florence

Rated 5 out of 5 stars

In addition to being the center of Renaissance culture and one of Europe's most beautiful cities, Florence provides a compact, easily-walkable destination for families of all ages. One great thing about Florence is that even if some family members have already visited the city, there are always more things to see, and many of the city's masterpieces are just as thrilling on the second or third visit. Architectural landmarks include the Duomo, topped by Brunelleschi's dome, and the Bapistry, with its exquisite gold doors. No trip to Florence is complete with a visit to the Uffizi Gallery and the Galleria della Accademia, which houses Michaelangelo's David. VirtualTourist members suggest getting timed tickets for both of these museums in advance of your trip; otherwise, the line can be quite atrocious! Women of all ages will enjoy strolling the Ponte Vecchio, the bridge over the Arno River that is lined with gold jewelry shops, and VT members also noted that the Palazzo Medici and the Chapel of the Magi, though not a usual tour stop, is definitely worth the extra few Euros. For those who'd like to explore other Tuscan towns, Lucca, San Gimignano, and Siena are all picturesque and very different from the bustle of Florence.

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Comments (2)

  • EugeneM's Profile Photo
    Jul 12, 2013 at 8:39 AM

    If you're in Florence this summer and want some cool ideas for ways to spend your evenings, check out FirenzEstate http://www.firenzestate.it/en/ - Jazz, pop, rock and classical concerts, opera, theater, dance parties, open-air movies, kids' activities... everything to make your Florentine nights as much fun as your Florentine days!

  • EugeneM's Profile Photo
    Jun 25, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    25 June, 2013
    IMPORTANT NEWS for visitors to the state museums of Florence (Uffizi, Accademia, Pitti Palace, Bargello, San Marco, etc.):

    The Polo Museale Fiorentino has announced that there'll be a strike of its museum staff on Friday, June 28 from 8:30 until 10:30am. According to the announcement, entrance to the museums during those hours may be limited at best. This is a eufemism for, GONE FISHIN'! If you have a reservation for any of the state museums for the morning of the 28th and don't want to miss seeing all the truly extraordinary things to see in them, my advice is to get there anyway and hope that either they've called off the strike (happens all the time), or that the strike is on but they're still letting in limited numbers of visitors, or that the strike is on and no one's getting in but at least you're near the front of the line of reserved ticket holders when they do open up the gates.

    It's events like this that invite us to turn lemons into limoncello. What would a visit to Italy be without the chance to participate in one of its most beloved rituals - the SCIOPERO!

    • goodfish's Profile Photo
      Jun 25, 2013 at 2:23 PM

      Bravo, Eugene! And a SCIOPERO is something I'm intimately acquainted with from our last visit to Firenze!

      All the more reason to go eat some more gelato...

 
Explore Deeper into Florence
David Statue
Things to Do
Pitti Palace - Palazzo Pitti
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Piazzale Michelangelo
Things to Do
Basilica Di Santa Croce
Things to Do
Palazzo Vecchio
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Piazza Della Signoria
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Gucci Outlet
Shopping
Mercato Centrale
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Gold Shopping
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Prada Outlet
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Ponte Vecchio
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Shoes
Shopping
Where to find Great Shopping
Favorites
Where to find Great Works of Art
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In General...
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Public Restrooms
Warnings and Dangers
Walking
Transportation
Where to find Great Architecture
Favorites
Street Performers...or Beggars?
Favorites
Maps
Transportation
Taxis
Warnings and Dangers
Maracana Grill
Nightlife
Trattoria La Casalinga
Restaurants
Sasso di Dante
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Ciro And Sons
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Don't Forget...
Favorites
La Dolce Vita
Nightlife
Il Pizzaiuolo
Restaurants
Duomo at Night
Nightlife
Caffe Gilli
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Joshua Tree Pub
Nightlife
Cabiria Lounge Bar
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Acqua al 2
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Capocaccia - CLOSED
Nightlife
Airports
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Cycling
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Map of Florence
What to Pack
Left Luggage
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Airport Bus
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Florentine Leather Purses - oh là là!!!
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