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The Journy Guide To Florence

Explore the best of Florence with our insider tips

By Journy Admin

12 September 2018

Florence is home to some of the most renowned examples of Renaissance art and architecture in the world. It’s also the capital of Italy’s Tuscany wine region and effortlessly romantic no matter how you see it. From centuries-old streets to modern restaurants serving innovate cuisine, Florence is truly a city like no other.

When To Visit Florence And How Long To Stay

While there’s no ‘wrong’ time to visit Florence per se, we highly recommend planning a trip for the spring or fall seasons. That said, December is also a beautiful time to visit, what with the vibrant holiday decorations; just be prepared to brave the cold, as it can get quite chilly in winter.

Of course, if you plan to spend a lot of time indoors (think museums and churches), weather may play a less important role compared to crowd sizes. Speaking of crowds, off-season travel is your best bet for avoiding too many fellow tourists. It can be quite cool in temperature until April and outdoor seating in restaurants typically begin towards the end of spring, so these are also things to keep in mind.

We suggest planning at least 2 full days in Florence (a third is ideal). This will allow you to make the most of the city.

Remember, Florence is known for its art galleries, so it’s important to be aware of how long it actually takes to visit a museum. You might think that you can hit up all of the major museums in a day, but you would be dead wrong. A stroll through an art gallery while truly appreciating the works of art on display could take anywhere up to 4-5 hours of a day and museums aren't open 24/7, so it is important to plan accordingly if you wish to visit the museums.

Transportation To And Within Florence

The Amerigo Vespucci Airport is approximately 12 kilometres away from the center of Florence and only 4 kilometres away from the outskirts of the city. The "Vola in bus" shuttle (Busitalia SITA Nord) can be utilised to get to the Santa Maria Novella railway station in the centre, which takes 20 minutes and costs 6 euros for a one-way ticket and 10 euros for a return ticket.

Within Florence, the bus is an efficient way to travel around, but most of Downtown Florence can be covered by walking. A single ticket is valid for 90 minutes, can be used for one journey, and can be bought from ATAF booths throughout the city. The ticket must be bought before boarding a bus. Sometimes traffic makes travelling by bus less effective than simply walking. However, walking allows travelers to explore at one’s own pace, as well as discover for themselves what they like about the city. Florence also has a new tram line with 14 stops.

Florence’s Must-See Sights

Historic Centre Of Florence

An official UNESCO World Heritage Site, Florence’s beautiful city center houses the works of Michelangelo and many other Renaissance artists; The Santa Croce, Piazza della Signoria, and the Uffizi are located here.

Florence Cathedral

Perhaps Florence’s most iconic landmark, the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore features a marble facade and an ‘octagonal’ Renaissance dome. The masterpiece of a cathedral began construction in 1294, and wasn’t completed until 1436.

Wikipedia

Galleria Degli Uffizi

Don’t leave town without entering the Galleria degli Uffizi . It houses the famous paintings of Botticelli, including "Primavera" and "Nascita di Venere".

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Ponte Vecchio

You’ll surely recognize Ponte Vecchio from the photos. It’s a medieval stone bridge and a major photo opt for travelers. It’s also the city’s oldest bridge that wasn’t destroyed in World War II.

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Palazzo Vecchio

Overlooking the Piazza della Signoria, the Palazzo Vecchio is a fortified palace from the Middle Ages featuring Romanesque and Renaissance architecture.

Gianni Crestani 

Piazza Della Signoria

You’ll know when you’ve stumbled upon the Piazza della Signoria; the square is at the heart of the city and in front of the Palazzo Vecchio.

Dylan Garton

PRO TIP: Consider getting the "Firenze Card", which is the official museum pass for Florence. It costs 85 euros per person and is valid for 72 hours and allows free entrance for EU citizens under the age of 18 to accompany the cardholder (i.e. if the parents have the Firenze Card). It allows access to the Uffizi, Accademia, Giotto's bell tower, and many other museums and sites. For an additional 5 euros, getting the Firenze Card+ allows unlimited travel on ATAF/Linea tram and bus lines for those 72 hours. If you only want to visit one or two museums, it is best to just book tickets for those museums than getting the pass.

Top Local Delicacies To Try

Tagliatelle Funghi Porcini E Tartufo

You’ll see many different types of Pasta throughout Florence and tagliatelle is one of the most traditional. It’s a thin, flat, and long pasta usually served in a mushroom sauce with pieces of vegetables. It also contains truffle and porcini mushrooms.

Grazia

Pappardelle Al Cinghiale

This is a flat, wide pasta that is served with a sauce like ragu and wild boar (cinghiale) meat.

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Bistecca Alla Fiorentina

Move over, vegetarians. The Bistecca alla Fiorentina ia a very large cut of t-bone steak that is grilled over roasted chestnuts.

Saveur

Lampredotto

Consider this your go-to medieval, Florentine sandwich with thinly-sliced and seasoned offal.

akiragiulia

Gelato

Really no explanation needed. Gelato is Italian ice cream and Florence has some of the best gelato found in the country.

Juliana Malta

Tagliere

When you see Tagliere on the menu, expect a meat and cheese platter. It’s a popular choice for a light meal or snack and best shared with friends before dinnertime.

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Cantuccini

This is a type of Italian biscotti (biscuits) made with almond.

Silvia

Must-Try Food And Drink

Ristorante Casalta

Indulge on delicious fare from this off-the-beaten-path restaurant. There’s something for every taste and temperament here, from seafood pastas and pizza baked in a wood-fired oven to sweet treats to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Moyo

Moyo

Located in the bustling area of Santa Croce, this bar is a great spot for an aperitif. The interior decor is refined and minimal, with high ceilings and wooden accents. Since it’s close to many attractions, Moya makes for an easy mid-day break.

Della Bistecca

Sorry vegetarians, this one’s not for you. Florence is a city of meat lovers and you can taste some pretty amazing meats (especially the t-bone steak) at Officina Della Bistecca. In traditional fashion, steak portions are large, so consider sharing.

della Bistecca

Idyllium

Whether you’re craving a cup of coffee or a craft cocktail, Idyllium hits the spot. The view is just as great as the cocktails, so pull up a seat and stay awhile. On certain nights, there’s live music where local bands perform their latest tracks.

Gambero Rosso

Must-Have Experiences

Venture Into The Medici Chapels

A wander through the Medici Chapels, two structures at the Basilica of San Lorenzo, Florence, might reveal some of Michelangelo’s hidden drawings on the walls of a secret room. Dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries, the chapels were built as a place to celebrate the Medici family.

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Walk Through The Vasari Corridor

The Medicis used to travel through this passageway in private and now, you can, too. It begins through a secret entrance in the Uffizi and extends for almost a kilometre. You’ll need to make an appointment in advance, so plan accordingly.

Indulge In A Wine Tasting In Nearby Tuscany

Meet the bus at Piazzale Montelungo to head on your afternoon Small Group Wine Tasting Experience in Tuscany. The small group experience includes 6 wine samples typical of the region. A great option for those spending longer than 2 full days in the city.

Elle Hughes 

Take A Traditional Tuscan Cooking Class

Learn the art of Tuscan cooking with an intimate class at Scuola di Cucina di Lella Cesari Ciampoli Gabriella. You’ll try your hand at 5 different dishes: soup, pasta, meat, side dish, and dessert. Of course, the best part is eating the fruits of your labor at the end of class.

di Lella Cesari Ciampoli 

Must-Visit Neighborhoods

Sant’Ambrogio

This is considered the top neighborhood in Florence to visit. Popular among locals and tourists alike, Sant’Ambrogio is perhaps the best location for both chic and traditional restaurants.

Dimitris Vetsikas

Santa Croce

In this neighborhood, you’ll find the site of the Basilica di Santa Croce and part of the historic centre of the city of Florence. It is a great area for dining and relaxing at cafes, as well as visiting Florence’s major attractions

Sylabo

San Niccolò

If you’re a fan of art, you’ll find your ‘home away from home’ in San Niccolò. The neighborhood is full of modern, alternative art galleries and funky street art. It is popular with the locals and has the Piazzale Michelangelo.

Oddviser

San Frediano

This small neighborhood located on the river has many new restaurants as well as great nightlife options. Perfect for dinner followed by drinks.

Unlimited Florence

Santo Spirito

Santo Spirito is a promising, new scene for young artists. Many markets are hosted in this neighborhood each month. It is off the beaten path and slowly becoming more popular among young travelers.

Visit Florence
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