Holidays in Florence
For art lovers, culture buffs and foodies alike, holidays in Florence have a lot to offer. This scenic Italian city remains the heart of the Renaissance, and is home to some of the world’s most famous masterpieces, from Michelangelo’s ‘David’ to ‘The Birth of Venus’ by Botticelli. Besides art, you’ll find picturesque gardens, historic cathedrals and, of course, incredible food. So whether you’re staying for a week-long holiday or just a weekend, it’s easy to see why so many choose to escape to the capital of Tuscany for a city break unlike any other.
At a glance
- Currency: Euro
- Language: Italian
- Time Zone: GMT +1
- Average flight time: 2h 5m
When to go
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With so many things to do in Florence, the only problem you’ll have is fitting it all into your holiday. Tuscany’s capital is bursting with culture, so a visit to some of the city’s galleries and museums is a must – Uffizi is a great place to start, as it’s home to masterpieces by artists such as Boticelli and Caravaggio. Whether you fancy trying ‘Bistecca alla Fiorentina’ or a tasty gelato, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get a taste of Florentine cuisine, followed by a glass of Florence’s favourite Chianti wine. For unforgettable views of Tuscany, climb the ancient steps of the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore to see Florence from the Duomo. To enjoy a quieter side of Florence, head over the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge to the artsy, laid-back neighbourhood of Oltrarno.
Wine and Dine
Holidays to Italy are a dream come true for foodies, and there’s a lot more to Florentine cuisine than your typical pizza and pasta. With beef as the main ingredient in many of Florence’s staple dishes, meat lovers will be spoilt for choice at mealtimes. ‘Bistecca alla Fiorentina’ – a delicious, grilled T-bone steak – is a favourite of Florentines, as is the beef stew, known as ‘stracotto’. Italians are all about antipasti, the first course of a meal which would typically include bruschetta, cured meats, and olives, or why not try some of Tuscany’s local bread, ‘pane sciocco’? You’ll even find bread used in some traditional Tuscan soups, such as the ‘ribollita’ and the ‘pappa al pomodoro’. Wash it all down with a glass of Chianti wine, before enjoying a slice of ‘schiacciata alla Fiorentina’ for dessert. Plus, sweet tooths won’t want to miss out on a taste of authentic Italian gelato.
Despite its status as a European hub of history and art, Florence isn’t just a city for couples – you’ll find family-friendly activities throughout Tuscany’s capital. For starters, why not visit the Boboli Gardens? Set in the heart of Florence right beside the famous Palazzo Pitti, this picturesque park has it all. Take a walk around the 16th century statues of famous Roman figures, before admiring the Fountain of Neptune. Plus, adults and kids alike will love exploring the Amphitheatre at this historic site. Another exciting cultural attraction is the Leonardo Da Vinci Museum, or why not take them for a ride on the Antique Carousel in the Piazza Repubblica? Plus, no family holiday to Italy would be complete without some ice cream, so treat the kids to a cone at an Italian gelateria while you sip on an espresso.
Action and Adventure
Thrill-seekers might not find much in the way of fast-paced excursions in Florence, but there’s still plenty of fun activities on offer. Why not take a break from exploring Florence on foot and hire a bike instead? It’s a great city to see on two wheels, and you may just stumble across some hidden shops and cafes. Alternatively, you could get around like a local on a classic Vespa scooter. Get off the beaten track with a culinary trip around Mercato Centrale, where you can pick up some of Florence’s favourite market food for a bargain. If you’re keen to get a taste of Italian life, why not sign up to a cooking class? You’ll find plenty of opportunities to venture out an explore more of Tuscany, too, from walking tours of the UNESCO-listed Cinque Terre, to day trips out to Pisa. Florence is ideally located for day trips to Sienna, Pisa, and Lucca. Italy’s train system is cheap, fast, and frequent, so getting around some of Italy’s top attractions couldn’t be easier. If you decide to visit Sienna, be sure to attend Il Palio, the city’s incredible festival that’s held twice a year.
Life's a Beach
The city of Florence is set right in the heart of Italy, so you won’t find any beaches within walking distance. However, if you fancy venturing out for a little sun, sea and sand, then head over to the Tyrrhenian coastline. You’ll find plenty of picturesque beaches in Tuscany – Viareggio in Versilia is perhaps the most popular, and between January and March, this seaside town also plays host to one of Europe’s biggest carnivals. Castiglioncello is a famous beach spot, plus you’ll find some great, family-friendly beaches over at Livorno and Grosseto, such as Cala Violina and Spiaggia delle Marze. Many beaches in Italy charge a small fee for loungers and umbrellas, so it’s worth bearing this in mind if you think you’d like some shade for you and the kids.
Thanks to the classic, traditional style of this Italian capital, you’ll find that there’s a unique character to the nightlife in Florence. Explore the city’s buzzing bar scene and vibrant restaurants. Make your city break exciting with nights out to some of the best wine bars in Florence. Lovers of red wine won’t want to miss a taste of Tuscany’s signature Chianti Classico, but there’s also Pomino Vin Santo if you prefer white. You’ll find plenty of laid-back bars and lounges dotted throughout the city, many of which play live Italian music to enjoy along with your drink. Florence isn’t just about the wine, though – it’s also a popular city for cocktails, being the birthplace of such classics as the Negroni. If you’re looking for a livelier night out, party-goers will find a number of popular nightclubs in Florence, where you can listen to all kinds of musical genres, and dance all night long with the locals.
Thanks to its romantic setting and Renaissance art, Florence is an ideal destination for couples. Escape to the heart of Tuscany on an unforgettable trip for two. From the Uffizi to the Casa di Dante, you’ll have no shortage of galleries and museums to visit. Take a romantic walk through the Vasari Corridor to the Palazzo Pitti, before heading over to the famous Arno River, and across the Ponte Vecchio bridge. The picturesque Piazza Santa Croce is the perfect place to stop for an Italian coffee, and take in the views of the busy town square. If you fancy a change of scene from the city, why not take a trip to the Giardino delle Rose? It’s set near San Niccolo, and home to all kinds of plants and flowers, as well as a Japanese garden.
Holidays to Italy, and to Florence in particular, are all about culture. The Italian Renaissance is alive in this vibrant city, and you’ll have plenty of history to explore throughout your stay. Visiting the famous Uffizi Gallery should be right at the top of your to-do list. It’s one of the most popular attractions in Italy, and with paintings such as Boticelli’s ‘The Birth of Venus’ and Caravaggio’s ‘Medusa’ on display, it’s easy to see why. The Galleria dell'Accademia is similarly unmissable, if only to admire Michelangelo’s marble statue of ‘David’. Take a walk through the Piazza della Signoria, before visiting the famous Duomo cathedral – visitors can even climb to the top of the dome, and, if you make it up the narrow steps, you’ll be treated to some incredible views over Tuscany’s capital. Plus, with impressive landmarks like the Palazzo Vecchio and Ponte Bridge, you won’t be short of cultural things to do in Florence.