Italy is a country famous for its rich heritage and well-preserved ancient architecture, and one of the best places to see Italy at its finest is in Florence. Famed for being the “Cradle of the Renaissance”, Florence is imbued with many sights and wonders that hark back to that golden era.
Florence is also the capital of Tuscany, which is a region filled with historic towns and villages. These places are ideal for day trips, so it makes more sense to hire a car in Florence and visit them while you are staying here.
Here are some of the things to see and do in this intriguing city.
Check out the Uffizi
A fifteenth-century painting known as the Birth of Venus is the center of attraction at the Uffizi as it’s one of Botticelli’s most mesmerizing masterpieces. This U-shaped gallery is also littered with other gorgeous Renaissance artwork and is a joy for history lovers, or basically anyone with a slight inclination toward art. The aesthetics are not just in the painting themselves, as the gallery is a splendid piece of 16-century masonry ingenuity influenced by famous Italian painter Giorgio Vasari.
Stand at the top of Piazzale Michelangelo
Very few places in Florence offer a vantage point like the Piazzale Michelangelo, situated in Oltrarno district just across the river. It’s a great place to take pictures as the panorama featuring breathtaking views of the alluring Uffizi and the glamorous Tower of the Palazzo Vecchio is truly as picture perfect as it gets.
Dine at the Borgo San Jacopo
Florence – and Italy in general – is well known for a plethora of tasty dishes, and no trip to the city would be complete without sampling the exceptional delicacies of a country with such well-regarded cuisine. Borgo San Jacopo is a particularly exquisite outdoor Michelin-starred eatery that not only nourishes the taste buds, but also provides beautiful views of the nearby medieval stone bridge (the Ponte Vecchio) and surrounding architecture.
Visit the Boboli Gardens
You’ll be gasping at every turn at the Boboli Gardens as this public garden is lined with classical sculptures, the most notable of which is a beguiling Egyptian Obelisk. The park also boasts a few hidden grottos that offer a secluded haven, such as the winsome Grotta di Buontalenti. If you are in search of some peace and quiet, this Tuscan-themed vibrant garden provides magnificent solitude.
Walk through the Vasari Corridor
Spanning a distance of about 0.7 miles, this extensive passageway was built in the sixteenth century by Duke Cosimo I de Medici who wanted to avoid the hassle of traversing the streets. These days the walls of the Vasari Corridor are decorated with various works of art from preceding centuries, turning it into a gallery in itself. The structure also offers divine views at the point where the tunnel, the Arno river, and the jewellery shops of Ponte Vecchio meet in perfect synergy.
Stop over at the Mercato Centrale
The Mercato Centrale is basically a market brimming with foodie delights. From fish, fruit and meat to wine, oil and spices, there’s nothing you can’t find at this one-stop market. This is shopping was done before supermarkets were a thing. It’s worth a visit even as a traveller as there is also a food court for coffee and snacks on the first floor. The beauty of this market is in the sheer diversity and authenticity of the food,
And that rounds off our introduction, but these examples are just a sample of what Florence has to offer. If you were thinking of getting away for a cultural European city break, Florence is as an excellent option.