The historical part of Florence is best done walking around to discover all the hidden traits and treasures that the medieval and renaissance periods have left us. One of the best ways to admire the beauty of this city at its best is to be seen from Hotel terraces! Check out how the light plays with the red roofs and how the Cathedral and its Brunelleschi's Dome dominate the city dotted with medieval towers.
The 'south bank
' of the city or 'Oltrarno' (over the Arno) contains the monumental Palazzo Pitti
as well as the road leading up to Forte Belvedere and Piazzale Michelangelo where you will find one of the best views of Florence, not to mention numerous artisan and antique shops of Santo Spirito District
. This is the bohemian side of town, where artists and architects have their studios and homes, where everybody still knows each other from Santo Spirito to San Niccolo'.
Bridges in Florence
are strategic points for photo shootings, apart from Ponte Vecchio
itself, there are also the 2 bridges on each side of Ponte Vecchio: Ponte Santa Trinita on the Santo Spirito District side and Ponte alle Grazie from the San Niccolo' District side. Both bridges are very crowded all day long, but especially at sunset time with people waiting for the perfect light or just having romantic chats.
The 'north bank
' contains the city center dominated by the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore with its Brunelleschi Dome (or as Florentines call the 'Duomo'), surrounded by the Palazzo Vecchio (town hall) and the Uffizi Gallery
, located 2 steps away from Ponte Vecchio. The Santa Croce District
develops on the east side of town with its beautiful white marble Basilica and square often hosting concerts, seasonal markets (the Christmas German market too) and special events in town like the historical soccer. This area is surrounded by tiny roads full of leather shops, be aware that not all shops sell made in Italy leather products... On the north side of the historical center, 10 minutes walk from the Florence Cathedral close to San Marco Church, there is the second most visited Museum in town: the Academy Gallery
where the Michelangelo's David is shown for the joy of the long queuing tourist!
Be advised that due to the amount of tourists visiting Italy in Spring and Summer it is always better if you book the Museums
you would like to visit before coming to Florence, or buy a Firenze Card
as soon as you arrive.
The San Lorenzo Basilica
and famous street Market
are just 5 minutes away from the Florence Cathedral on the west-north side of town. This area is more chaotic than the rest of town, as all market areas in the world, but still so fascinating, especially the local grocery and meat Central Market
that nobody should miss. Watch your bags, do not leave them open while walking or unattended while seating.
On the east side of the Florence Cathedral, close to the Railway Station
is spread the Santa Maria Novella District
, its beautiful Basilica and Square, charming Hotels and typical Florentine Trattorias, still run as they used 30 years ago.
Florence is a town to discover by walking around, it is pedestrian friendly in the historic center, and you can rent bikes and segways or move with busses
to reach any destination in the suburbs.