Florence (Firenze in Italian) is one of the most famous and visited cities in Italy, and for good reasons. It is the birthplace of the Renaissance, the home of countless artistic and architectural masterpieces, and the center of a rich and diverse culture. Whether you are interested in art, history, food, or shopping, Florence has something for everyone. In this blog post, I will share with you some of the most important things to know before you visit Florence, how to get there, what to do and see, and where to eat and stay.

How to Get to Florence

The easiest way to get to Florence is by flying to the Florence Airport (FLR), which is about 10 km from the city center. You can take a bus, a taxi, or a private transfer to reach your accommodation. Alternatively, you can fly to the Pisa Airport (PSA), which is about 80 km from Florence, and then take a train or a bus to the city. You can also fly to other nearby airports, such as Bologna (BLQ) or Rome (FCO), and then take a train or a bus to Florence.

If you are traveling within Italy or Europe, you can also take a train to Florence. The main train station is Santa Maria Novella (SMN), which is located in the center of the city and connected to many other destinations. You can also take a bus to Florence, but the train is usually faster and more comfortable.

When to Visit Florence

The best time to visit Florence depends on your preferences and budget. Florence is a popular destination all year round, but each season has its pros and cons.

  • Spring: Spring is a lovely time to visit Florence, as the weather is mild and sunny, and the flowers are blooming. You can enjoy walking around the city and the countryside, and see the Easter celebrations. However, spring is also a busy season, and you can expect crowds and higher prices.
  • Summer: Summer is the peak season for Florence, as it attracts many tourists who want to enjoy the warm and sunny weather. You can also enjoy many events and festivals, such as the Calcio Storico (Historical Soccer), the Festa della Rificolona (Festival of the Lanterns), and the Festa di San Giovanni (Feast of St. John). However, summer is also very hot and humid, and you can expect long lines and higher prices.
  • Autumn: Autumn is another beautiful time to visit Florence, as the weather is cool and pleasant, and the leaves are changing colors. You can also enjoy the harvest season and the wine festivals, such as the Chianti Classico Wine Festival and the Festa dell’Uva (Grape Festival). However, autumn is also a rainy season, and you can expect some showers and cloudy days.
  • Winter: Winter is the low season for Florence, as it attracts fewer tourists who want to avoid the cold and snowy weather. You can enjoy lower prices and fewer crowds, and see the Christmas markets and the New Year’s Eve celebrations. However, winter is also very cold and dark, and some attractions and facilities may be closed or have reduced hours.

What to Do and See in Florence

Florence is a city that offers a lot to do and see, and you can easily spend a week or more exploring its attractions. Here are some of the must-do and must-see things in Florence:

  • Visit the Duomo: The Duomo (Cathedral) of Florence is the most iconic and impressive landmark of the city, and a masterpiece of Gothic and Renaissance architecture. You can admire its exterior, which is covered with white, green, and pink marble, and its interior, which features a stunning frescoed dome by Brunelleschi. You can also climb to the top of the dome, the bell tower, or the baptistery, and enjoy the panoramic views of the city.
  • Explore the Uffizi Gallery: The Uffizi Gallery is one of the most famous and visited art museums in the world, and a treasure trove of Renaissance paintings and sculptures. You can see works by artists such as Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Caravaggio, among many others. You can also admire the architecture and the decoration of the museum, which was once the palace of the Medici family.
  • Cross the Ponte Vecchio: The Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) is the oldest and most picturesque bridge in Florence, and a symbol of the city. You can cross the bridge, which is lined with shops selling jewelry, art, and souvenirs, and see the views of the Arno river and the city. You can also see the Vasari Corridor, a secret passage that connects the Palazzo Vecchio (Old Palace) and the Palazzo Pitti (Pitti Palace), and was used by the Medici family to move around the city.
  • Visit the Accademia Gallery: The Accademia Gallery is another famous and visited art museum in Florence, and the home of the original statue of David by Michelangelo. You can see the statue, which is one of the most renowned and admired sculptures in the world, and other works by Michelangelo, such as the Prisoners and the Pietà. You can also see other artworks by artists such as Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, and del Sarto, among others.
  • Stroll around the Piazza della Signoria: The Piazza della Signoria (Signoria Square) is the main and most lively square in Florence, and the center of the political and social life of the city. You can see the Palazzo Vecchio, the seat of the city government and a museum, and the Loggia dei Lanzi, an open-air gallery with statues by artists such as Cellini, Giambologna, and Donatello. You can also see the Fountain of Neptune, the Equestrian Statue of Cosimo I, and the replica of David.