Nestled amongst the hills of Tuscany, the beautiful city of Florence is one of Italy’s most popular holiday destinations. As the birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence is a great destination for art and history lovers. However, Florence’s charm is multidimensional. With a plenty of walks, prime shopping opportunities and amazing food, there is something for everyone in Florence!
The best time to visit Florence is during the summer between May and June. During this period, the weather is exceptionally pleasant with highs of 30°C, allowing you take advantage of restaurants’ al fresco dining. In addition, during this period there are a number of festivals to participate in. However, do note that as this is Florence’s high seasons, hotel prices tend to rise, so be sure to book your accommodation advance to get a good deal!
Florence is served by Florence Airport (FLR) and there 26 flights a week. On average, a flight from London to Florence will take approximately 2 hours. From April to September, a return flight from London will cost between £100 and £150. However, for the rest of the year a return flight will cost less than £100.
What to Do in Florence
Synonymous with Florence and one of the most famous landmarks in Italy alongside the Colloseum and the Leaning Tower, is Florence’s Duomo (officially called The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore). Overlooking Piazza del Duomo, Florence’s imposing cathedral is a visual delight with a stunning, intricate design. The cathedral is open regularly throughout the week. For a small fee, visitors can climb to the top of the cathedral for a stunning view of the city below. However, do note that there is no lift, just a 414 step staircase.
There are plenty of galleries to visit while on holiday in Florence, two of the best galleries are the Galleria dell’Accademia and the Galleria degli Uffizi. The Galleria dell’Accademia, in English Accademia Gallery, is home to a number sculptures by Michelangelo, including his famous David and his unfinished Slaves.
Florence is great destination for shopping for premium quality Italian goods such as leather, jewellery and fine stationery. For authentic leather products, head to Santa Croce where most of the city’s leather makers are based. There are plenty of markets throughout Florence; one of the most notable markets is the San Lorenzo Market. This open air market is a great for leather bargains and clothing. If you are looking for designer goods, you best bet is The Mall which is about a half hour cab ride from the centre of the city and is an outlet for major Italian brands like Gucci.
In the past, Florence’s hotel scene was rather polarised as travellers had to choose between a grand hotels or dubious pensioni. However, this is not the case today. With more beds than tourists, there are plenty of accommodation options to choose from and you can get a great deal if you book in advance.
The cheapest accommodation options in Florence include bed and breakfasts, apartment rentals and religious houses. Bed and breakfasts are one of the most popular choices for budget accommodation with travellers as they offer a personable service and are often situated in great locations. If you plan on staying in Florence for a while or just want something with a bit more space, there are plenty apartment rentals in both the city and the surrounding countryside. Monasteries and convents are the ultimate budget accommodation option and are on a number of bus routes. However, do note that if you do choose to stay in a religious house, there are curfews at night.
If you are looking for somewhere luxurious or a little bit different. There are a number of boutique and luxury hotels in Florence. One of the most notable high-end hotels is the Resinza del Moro which is housed in a stunning 16th-century Palazzo.