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Overview

Florence is one of the world's top cities for arts and culture. As the center of the Renaissance, it produced a staggering amount of the world's greatest works of art and architecture. From Michelangelo's Statue of David at the Accademia, to Leonardo Da Vinci's works at the Uffizi Gallery, the elegant Ponte Vecchio bridge, and the awe-inspiring Duomo cathedral, Florence is a living museum of Western culture. Visitors should take a walking tour of the city center, then venture across the river for the less touristed Oltrarno district filled with artisan shops, quiet churches, and the bizarre Museo Specola.

But don't think ...

Florence is one of the world's top cities for arts and culture. As the center of the Renaissance, it produced a staggering amount of the world's greatest works of art and architecture. From Michelangelo's Statue of David at the Accademia, to Leonardo Da Vinci's works at the Uffizi Gallery, the elegant Ponte Vecchio bridge, and the awe-inspiring Duomo cathedral, Florence is a living museum of Western culture. Visitors should take a walking tour of the city center, then venture across the river for the less touristed Oltrarno district filled with artisan shops, quiet churches, and the bizarre Museo Specola.

But don't think Florence's sights end with the 16th century. Ferragamo's fashion empire headquartered here is as timely as this spring's fashions. Leather, shoes, art, and jewelry all make Florence a shopping destination. Florence is also justly famous for its cuisine — be sure to try some Bistecca Fiorentina steak, to be washed down with local Chianti wine and homemade Gelato. A large international student community makes for lively nightlife, and a good selection of language and arts classes for visitors.

Bill Fink
About the Expert

Bill Fink is coauthor of Pauline Frommer's Italy, contributing the introduction, sections on Tuscany and Umbria, and chapters on Italian food, arts, and history.

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Bill Fink for Triporati

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Now Happening in Florence

Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Florence is the capital of the region of Tuscany in Italy. The city is considered a cultural, artistic and architectural gem. Florence was the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance.
  • Language: Italian
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Spring and fall: the heat isn't as extreme and the crowds aren't as thick