Ciao a Firenze!
Tucked amid the Tuscan Hills lies the birthplace of the Renaissance and one of the most enchanting cities you’ll set foot in. An utterly irresistible charm looms over Florence, and an unmistakable romance casts a long shadow through history. Firenze is the birthplace of Renaissance, a place seeping with over one million Renaissance pieces of art, and extraordinary architectural masterpieces.
Walking through Florence is like walking through a moving, living museum that it’s no surprise that it’s entire city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Firenze is where you go to feast on world-class gourmet Tuscan cuisine, to savor world-class art and to fall in love with the place that has inspired some of the world’s greatest artists.
The gorgeous sunsets, the Italian food, la dolce vita, the winding cobbled streets and the quiet piazzas all make it an unmissable gem. The pleasures of staying in Florence are innumerable – it has long been a long place that has captured the imagination of artists, travelers, lovers and more.
Today – Now
PLANNING & BOOKING
The dreaded part of any vacation - planning! Every savvy traveler knows that it’s always better to plan and book early in advance to bag those irresistible bargains. Not only do you get to save up to 25% on flight and hotel prices, but you also get to never settle for second-best! Lower flight prices, room deals and early bird discounts are only some of the many benefits of booking your tickets, excursions and accommodation early on. We recommend planning and booking 3 to 6 months in advance – a surefire way to have a worry-free pre-holiday buzz when the time to travel is near!
Unforgettable Moments - Florence Highlights
From the frescoes of Giotto, to Michelangelo’s David, to the seductive canvases by Botticelli, to Leonardo da Vinci… Florence is one of Europe’s greatest art cities with so much exquisite art and architecture you won’t even know where to start.
But it’s not just the art that draws all those visitors to Florence. It’s the simple walk along the Arno, it’s navigating Piazza della Signoria in the morning, or walking down Florence’s streets at night. It’s the Uffizi and the Academia and the plenty of food, fashion and fun possibilities.
Day 1: Arrival + Getting acquainted!
Buongiorno! You know that feeling when you arrive at a new city and you’re overwhelmed with all the plans ahead, and you’re dreading the customs, luggage and transportation hassle? Well, in Florence it’s quite different. When you arrive you’ll feel an undeniable sense of excitement between people in the air. Everyone is ready to explore the wonders of the city and they all can’t wait to set out and explore!
If you have everything planned, you won’t need to worry about any of these things and you’ll be done in no time. Amerigo Vespucci Airport (FLR) is the international airport of Florence, and is very well-connected to the city center. It’s also quite small so you won’t feel like you need to spend a lot of time there. We suggest scheduling about 60/90 minutes from your time of arrival at the airport to your time of arrival at the hotel.
The center can be reached in two different ways: a taxi or a bus shuttle.
· You can reach the center in about 15 minutes by taxi for a set fare of EUR22.
· You can also take the “Vola in Bus” bus shuttle that will take you from the airport to the central train station of Santa Maria Novella. The bus runs every 30 minutes from the airport everyday between 5.30 am till 8.30 pm and then every hour until midnight.
We suggest taking a flight that arrives at the Airport as early as possible so you can spend the rest of your day getting acquainted with the city.
Now is the best time to orient yourself with this beautiful city and get acquainted with the vibe of Florence. Drop your bags off at the hotel, and head out to the streets. And while, at first, you’ll feel like there is a piazza for every street and that they’re all the same, this can’t be further from the truth.
Start your day at the iconic Piazza della Signoria, which is the most important piazza in all of Florence. Majestic and home of the city council through the ages, the piazza teems with endless cafes, bars, restaurants and monuments. There’s a lot of history you’ll find in this L-shaped hub of Florence. Give yourself some time to explore the monuments, the statues, and the fountains around.
The most popular monument is definitely Michelangelo’s Statue of David – but remember, this one is fake! Make sure to check out the Rape of the Sabine Woman statues and the status of Hercules as well – both sculpted by the genius Baccio Bandinelli.
Dedicate your afternoon to the spectacular Palazzo Vecchio. This incredible architectural masterpiece will take you through a journey back in time and boasts statues by Michelangelo, Donatello and Cellini. The place feels like an open-air museum with everything from Roman ruins, a medieval fortress, and incredible chambers and paintings that reflect Renaissance art. There are plenty of things to do and see here, so we recommend giving yourself an hour or two to explore everything.
Afterwards, choose a delicious schiacciata and a glass of wine at All’Antico Vinaoi. Walk over to Piazza San Firenze after and if you are still not exhausted, then we recommend visiting the Museum of Bargello. The museum is housed in one of the oldest buildings in Florence and should definitely be on your list of things to see if you’re an art lover.
For your first day, we recommend wandering around the streets next to your hotel, checking out different shops, eating at open-air terraced restaurants or having a few glasses of wine nearby. Your first day is bound to be exhausting so it’s better to get an early night for your first day!
Start your second day with a visit to the Piazza San Marco. Definitely stop by Caffe Florian for breakfast. The café claims to be the oldest in Italy, but whether or not that’s true, you’ll find that the whole place oozes with old class charm and has incredible views of the piazza.
After breakfast, head straight to the Accademia Gallery – one of the most renowned galleries in the world that houses some of Michelangelo’s best marble statues. This is also where you’ll find the real statue of David! Check out the Musical Instrument Museum, Hall of the Prisoners and Hall of Colossus as well.
Walk to the beautiful Piazza della Passera and explore its many shops and then from there explore the Piazza Santo Spirito that is filled with local markets, bars and more. Having a gelato is a rite of passage to being in Florence and La Sorbetteria has some of the most delicious gelato in town.
At that point of the day it will definitely be time for a typical Italian aperitivo and we recommend going to Art Bar. With an interior that resembles that of an antique shop and an interesting drinks menu, you’ll get refreshed enough for the rest of the day.
After your aperitivo break, walk towards the Piazza San Lorenzo where you fall in love with the beauty of the Brunelleschi Basilica and its impressive architecture. Check out Michelangelo’s New Sacristy and revel in the genius that was exerted in making the Old Sacristy, the Prince’s Chapel and the Laurenziana Library.
After you’re done exploring the chapels and the churches, you can explore the outdoor market of San Lorenzo and have dinner there. We recommend a fancy dinner at La Cantinetta Osteria con Cucina.
Start your day with a delicious breakfast at Dolcissima Firenze and enjoy the baked sweets, croissants, and freshly baked pastries with a cup of coffee and get ready for a day of exploring the surrounding areas!
The Oltrarno Quarter is worth spending your morning at. It’s a little further away from the tourist attractions, thus giving you a warmer “local” vibe with an endless amount of sensory joys. Get inspired by the street art, admire the architecture, roam the streets and check out the shops and live the Italian life for a few hours.
Visit the Brancacci Chapel and spend some time watching and enjoying the different frescoes that were designed by Masaccio, Filippino Lippi and Masolino de Painicale. After a short stroll down the bridge, you will reach the largest palace in Florence, and one of the most beautiful attractions in the city – Palazzo Pitti.
The palace is a simple of combination of splendor, majesty and history and is filled to the brim with sculptures, paintings and other types of art works from different eras. Check out the Palatine Gallery that houses a number of Renaissance works of art. It’s the perfect place to go to if you don’t want to wait hours in line.
The most popular spot within the Pitti complex are the popular Boboli Gardens. These sculpted gardens are a haven of intertwining sculptures, fountains, gorgeous greenery and much more.
Make a quick lunch stop at la Prosciuterria which makes delicious sandwiches that are perfect to take on the go. We recommend enjoying the statues outside.
The Golden View Open Bar should be on top of your list of places to drink at. Sitting beautifully by the river, you’ll be rewarded with gorgeous views, delicious aperitivos and a great appetizer buffet. Whether you want a romantic setting or a lively one – this bar will stay a great choice
Day 4: Pisa Day-Trip!
Who hasn’t heard of the beautiful Leaning Tower of Pisa? A world-renowned attraction that dominates the skyline of the city, and hundreds of shops, little boutiques and quirky piazzas, Pisa is a gorgeous little town!
In the heart of Tuscany, Pisa is an incredible reflection of artistic marvels, grand structures, and gleaming white architectural complexes. Think lush fields, intricately designed cathedrals, and piazzas as old as the Bronze Age!
Take pictures with the Leaning Tower of Pisa, revel in the Romanesque architecture and white marble of Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and check the Basilica dating back hundreds of years. Spend some time at the green fields of Camp Santo, or watch sculptures and relics at the Cathedral Museum.
Morning – the journey:
The trip from Florence to Pisa will take you about 1 hour to 1 hour and a half depending on your mode of transportation:
The easiest, fastest and cheapest way to go is by train from Santa Maria Novella Train Station and stop at Pisa Central. It will take an hour. Tickets range from UER10 to EUR12.
Your exploration will start at the Vittorio Emmanuele – a beautiful square that is filled with cafes and restaurants and the perfect place to grab breakfast in. After that, walk over to Corso Italia where you’ll find plenty of shops and impressive street performers.
Obviously, the main sight of the city of Pisa is the Leaning Tower of Pisa. You can take the infamous “pretend you’re pushing against the tower” pictures with the, and/or you can climb to the top for EUR18. We recommend buying your tickets in advance.
Next, walk to the Pisa Baptistrey – a white marble giant that was constructed bck in 1152. Next, check out the Duomo there, sit on the grass and enjoy the Italian atmosphere around you. It’s also free to visit if you have a ticket to the Leaning Tower of Pisa!
Grab lunch at I Porci Comodi – we definitely recommend the salami and cheese!
For your last stop, walk around The Knight’s Square where you can explore its seven streets and two churches.
Before heading back to Florence, try Ristorante alle Bandierine for an incredible dinner.
A breakfast at Caffe Rivoire is a must on your trip. It’s a little bit pricey but is absolutely worth it. You’ll be seated in between the 800-year old façade of the Palazzo Vecchio, the Loggia dei Lanzi and the Uffizi Galleries.
Eating there is simply a one of a kind experience that you need to have, so we recommend a cornetti alla marmelata and an espresso and you’re good to go!
We recommend having a very early morning on your fifth day because visiting the Uffizi Galleryand the Duomo will take up most of the hours in your day. This is where pre-planning comes in handy. Make sure you book your tickets to both well in advance, and try getting the skip the line tickets as it will make your experience run much more smoothly.
The Uffizi Gallery is one of the most popular museums in the world and has over 45 halls steeped with artwork. There is no way you can finish the whole place in a day but since you’ll have a few hours, we suggest going straight to the second floor. This is where you’ll see the advancement of Renaissance art with its unbeatable collection. From the Madonna and Child, to the Botticelli’s Venus, you’ll find incredibly famous and impressive paintings there.
Go to Sostanza, one of the oldest restaurants in Florence, for lunch. Your food will be cooked on a wood stove and coal, and the atmosphere is made even more authentic with their communal tables and delicious food.
After, head over to the Duomo and revel in all of its iconic glory. Everything about it is simply stunning – from the architecture, to the graphic façade, to the immaculate details…The Duomo is simply wonderful.
Just across from it you’ll find the Baptistry. You can only see this building from the outside, but it does make for a great photo backdrop.
If you’re looking for a lively area to be at night, then Santa Croce is your place! This popular neighborhood is filled with bars, restaurants and clubs with both indoor and outdoor seating
On your sixth day, we recommend heading over to Piazza Santa Maria Novella. Grab an espresso at any of the many cafes scattered around the piazza, and then head over to the Santa Maria Novella Church & Museum.
It’s one of the most important Gothic churches located in Florence with beautiful architecture and extraordinary artwork inside. Next, walk over to the Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella. This is where you’ll find unique potpourri at the oldest pharmacy in Europe.
Walk towards Piazza della Repubblica, one of the nicest city squares that’s dotted with shops and colorful boutiques. This square is also the ultimate place for people watching so we definitely recommend grabbing lunch there. Try Trattoria Marione and then walk towards Piazza Santa Croce where you’ll find one of the most prestigious and lavish churches in Florence. The gothic church houses the funeral monuments of some of the most famous Italian influential figures including Michelangelo, Galileo and Dante.
A gelato stop is essential, and Vivoli has incredible gelato to keep you going! Walk towards Ponte Vecchio and rest at La Rinascente for incredible views and a drink at this rooftop café.
If you want to explore the nightlife of Florence on your last day, then you should definitely visit one of its most popular clubs. The city is known to party until the wee hours of sunrise due to its large student population, so head over to Otel Club, TwentyOne, or Cielo. Santa Maria Novella will be your ultimate nightlife spot brimming with bars, pubs, pub-crawls and people from all over the world looking to have a good night out!
Day 7: ciao Firenze!
We recommend taking an evening flight out of Florence so you can have a few extra hours to explore the city.
If you don’t have much time, we recommend:
· The 85-meter Giottos Campanile.
· Via del Corso for any last-minute shopping.
· Explore the area of Via della Vigna Nuova.