Firenze (in English: Florence), the birthplace of the Renaissance, is an unmissable sight on a trip to Tuscany. The most famous Renaissance artists, such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Botticelli, were also born or worked here. It is home to the world's most prominent art museums, including the Uffizi and Accademia Gallery.
Some tourists choose their accommodation here, others "drop in" for a day. Regardless of the days spent here, you can admire attractions such as the Duomo, Michelangelo's David and the Palazzo Vecchio.
Map - Where is Florence?
Firenze is located in the centre of Italy, in the Toscana (English: Tuscany) region. It is located in a valley surrounded by hills, where the Arno flows. It is approximately 300 kilometres north of Rome and 80 kilometres east of the Mediterranean coast. It is well connected with the rest of the country and Europe by road, rail and air.
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- Distance from Rome: 300 km
- Distance from Pisa: 100 km
- Distance from Bologna: 120 km
- Distance from Livorno: 100 km
It is not impossible to "squeeze" Rome into a long weekend, as you can be there in 4 hours by car. Let's see what other ways you can travel between the two:
- Train: The train is the easiest and most popular choice. There are several fast trains between the two cities, such as Frecciarossa and Italo, with a journey time of about 1.5-2 hours. A high-speed train ticket costs 50-100 euros.
- Bus: Several bus companies operate between Florence and Rome, including Flixbus and SENA. Travel time is approximately 3-4 hours.
In more detail
The area around Florence is home to many vineyards and olive groves that produce some of Italy's best wines and olive oils. The surrounding hills provide a picturesque backdrop and lavish views. Monte Morello (934 m) in the north is among the highest hills in the area. Its fertile land made it a centre for agriculture and wine production.
- It is surrounded by the Apennines and is located in the valley of the Arno River. The river played an important role in its history, serving as an important transportation route and helping to boost its economy. Several bridges, including the Ponte Vecchio, cross it.
- It has a population of approximately 382,000 people, while the area that includes the surrounding outlying areas has approximately 1.5 million people. Its area is 102.41 square kilometres.
- The city is divided into five districts or quarters, each of which has its unique character and attractions: Centro Storico (Historical Center or Old Town), Field of Mars, Gavinana-Galluzzo, Isolotto-Legnaia, and Rifredi.
- Its history dates back to the Roman Empire when it was a small settlement founded by Florentia in 59 BC. It became increasingly important as a centre of trade in the Middle Ages, and by the 13th century, it had become a powerful city-state with a republican government.
- During the Renaissance, it became one of Europe's most important cultural and artistic centres. Wealthy families such as the Medicis became patrons of the arts. They commissioned famous artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Botticelli to create masterpieces that still adorn it today. It was characterized by significant financial life and became one of the European centres of the banking world.
- In the 16th century, it became part of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, and its importance as a cultural centre began to decline. It remained part of Tuscany until the unification of Italy in the 19th century when the newly formed Firenze became the province's centre.
- In the 20th century, it suffered significant damage during the Second World War but was rebuilt and returned to its former glory. Today, it is a thriving settlement with a rich heritage and a vibrant economy that attracts millions of visitors annually.
Its climate is mild, with hot summers and cool winters. The average temperature in the summer months (June-August) is 22-33°C, while in the winter months (December-February) it is between 6-12°C.
Things to see
It is known for its rich cultural heritage and impressive architecture, and many attractions attract visitors worldwide. One of the most popular sights is the museums, of which you can find seventy.
The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, commonly known as the Duomo (Duomo di Firenze), is a stunning example of Renaissance architecture and one of the city's most iconic landmarks. Visitors can go to the top of the dome for a great view. The building is 114.5 meters long and 38 meters wide.
Construction of the cathedral began at the end of the 13th century, and the building was completed in the 15th century. The cathedral's facade is made of white, pink and green marble. From the outside, you can see intricate details and beautiful sculptures. The cathedral's interior is equally impressive, with frescoes, stained glass windows, and artwork lining the walls and ceiling.
One of the most prominent elements of the cathedral is the dome, designed by the well-known architect Filippo Brunelleschi in the 15th century. The dome is the largest brick dome ever built and one of the greatest engineering feats of the Renaissance. The cathedral also houses a museum that contains many important works of art and artefacts, including the original panels of Lorenzo Ghiberti's famous Gate of Paradise.
The Uffizi Gallery is one of the world's most celebrated museums, home to history's numerous favourite works of art, including Botticelli's Birth of Venus and Primavera, Leonardo da Vinci's Annunciation, and Michelangelo's The Holy Family. The museum also displays works by other prominent Renaissance artists such as Raphael, Caravaggio and Titian.
In addition to its collection of paintings and sculptures, it also contains a collection of ancient Roman and Greek statues, scientific instruments and artefacts. The museum is divided into several rooms and galleries, each dedicated to a different art history period or theme. Among the most well-known are the Botticelli Room, which displays the artist's most notable works, and the Tribune, which displays the museum's most valuable and important works.
The Galleria dell' Accademia di Firenze is known for its vast collection of Renaissance art, including sculptures and paintings, as well as Michelangelo's prominent statue of David. In addition to his sculptures, the museum also has a vast collection of paintings and artworks by notable Renaissance artists such as Botticelli, Pontormo and Bronzino. Among the most notable works in the collection is Botticelli's Madonna and Child.
The museum was established in 1784 as an art school but was later converted into a museum to display the work of students and professors. Today, it is one of the most popular museums in Italy, attracting millions of visitors every year.
#4 David of Michelangelo
Michelangelo's David is a stunning marble sculpture depicting the biblical hero David in all his glory. The statue is over 17 feet tall and is considered one of the largest works of art in history. Other well-known sculptures in the museum include Michelangelo's Unfinished Slaves and works by Giambologna and Bartolomeo Ammannati.
Palazzo Vecchio is a beautiful medieval palace in the centre. Its tower offers a stunning view. It was once the seat of the Florentine government. It now houses the town hall and a museum with impressive frescoes, sculptures and artefacts.
#6 Ponte Vecchio
Ponte Vecchio is a historic bridge that spans the Arno River. The bridge was originally built in the Roman era but was destroyed by medieval floods and rebuilt in 1345. It was used as a food and livestock market but became a centre for goldsmiths and jewellers. The 84-meter-long and 32-meter-high bridge is home to many jewellery and fashion stores and restaurants.
The Basilica di Santa Croce is a church in the historic centre. It is renowned for its stunning frescoes and for having the tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo, Rossini and Machiavelli. It is also known for its impressive Gothic architecture and frescoes.
The church was originally built in the 13th century, then expanded and renovated in the Gothic style in the 14th and 15th centuries. It is one of the largest Franciscan churches in the world. It's worth seeing the facade - but don't miss the small details and beautiful sculptures.
#8 Piazza della Signoria
The popular square is located in the centre. It is known for its sculptures, historic buildings and lively atmosphere. The square has been the centre of local political and social life since the Middle Ages and is considered one of the most iconic sights. Here you find the Palazzo Vecchio, Loggia dei Lanzi, the Fountain of Neptune, the Uffizi Gallery, Michelangelo's replica of David, and Bandinelli's statue of Hercules and Cacus.
- Michelangelo's David Replica: This replica of Michelangelo's famous David statue was originally placed in front of the Palazzo Vecchio in the 16th century. The original statue is currently in the Accademia Gallery, while the copy can be seen here in the square.
- Bandinelli's bronze statue of Hercules and Cacus depicts the mythological hero Hercules fighting the monster Cacus. It is located in front of the Palazzo Vecchio.
#9 Neptune Fountain
The finely crafted fountain can be found in the Piazza della Signora square. The fountain depicts Neptune, the Roman god of the sea, surrounded by water creatures and other mythical figures.
#10 Loggia dei Lanzi
The Loggia dei Lanzi is an open-air gallery that houses many famous sculptures, including Benvenuto Cellini's Perseus with the Head of Medusa and Giambologna's bronze Abduction of the Sabine Women, considered one of the greatest examples of Baroque sculpture. Benvenuto Cellini's bronze statue of Perseus holding a head of Medusa. It is considered one of the greatest works of Mannerist sculpture.
#11 Palazzo Pitti
The Pitti Palace awaits you on the south bank of the Arno River with its Renaissance architecture. You can admire a huge collection of works and artefacts between the walls. It was originally built for the Pitti family in the 15th century but was later bought by the Medici family and made into their main residence.
Today, Palazzo Pitti houses several important museums and galleries, including the Palatine Gallery, which houses a vast collection of Renaissance art, including works by Raphael, Titian and Caravaggio. The palace also houses a Costume and Fashion Museum, which presents the history of Italian fashion, as well as the Royal Apartments, which give a glimpse into the luxurious lifestyle of the Medici family.
#12 Galileo Museum
The museum is dedicated to the history of science, astronomy and technology, with a vast collection of scientific instruments, telescopes and artefacts. You can see many scientific instruments, including telescopes, globes and astrolabes. You can see the telescopes of Galileo himself.
One of the museum's favourite exhibits is Galileo's preserved finger, which was removed from his body during his burial and preserved for centuries. The finger is on display in a special glass case and serves as a reminder of Galileo's important contribution to science and his lasting legacy.
In addition to the permanent collection, the Museo Galileo hosts several temporary exhibitions and educational programs designed to promote scientific literacy and engage visitors of all ages.
A beautiful church on one of the hills with a stunning countryside view. It is one of Tuscany's most beautiful Romanesque architecture, with its impressive marble facades, intricate stone carvings and cloister. It was built between the 11th and 13th centuries and is known for its beautiful interior with frescoes, mosaics and a crypt.
The most remarkable feature of the building is the green and white marble facade with a geometric pattern with intricate carvings and decorations. It is also worth visiting the crypt of the Basilica, where the tomb of St. Minias and many other important relics are located.
#14 Mercato Centrale
The bustling Central Market is located in the San Lorenzo district. Here, you can taste local Tuscan specialities such as fresh pasta, cheeses and cured meats.
Gardens and parks
You will find many popular gardens worth visiting. Here are some of the more popular gardens:
- Boboli: Boboli Park is the more famous garden behind the Pitti Palace. Its area is 45,000 square meters. The gardens feature many statues, fountains and flower beds.
- Bardini: Bardini Garden is home to various terraces, fountains and gardens, including a historic villa.
- Giardino delle Rose: The Rose Garden is located near Piazzale Michelangelo and contains more than 350 varieties of roses.
- Giardino dei Semplici: The Giardino dei Semplici is a botanical garden near the San Marco Museum. The garden contains a variety of plants and herbs, a greenhouse and a collection of historic medical instruments.
Firenze is known for its delicious Tuscan cuisine, where many local dishes are worth trying. Here are some of the most popular treats:
- Bistecca alla Fiorentina: Grilled steak from local Chianina beef seasoned with salt, pepper and olive oil.
- Ribollita: Hearty soup made from bread, vegetables, beans and olive oil. It is usually served with olive oil and is perfect for a cold day.
- Pappa al Pomodoro: Also a soup of bread, tomatoes, garlic and olive oil. It is usually served with olive oil and fresh basil.
- Lampredotto: A popular street food made from cow's stomach, which is slowly cooked in a flavorful broth and served in a sandwich with a spicy green sauce.
- Schiacciata alla Fiorentina: A soft sponge cake flavoured with orange peel and dusted with powdered sugar, usually served during the Carnival season.
- Cantucci: Crunchy almond biscuits usually served with sweet dessert wine Vin Santo.
- Gelato: the ice cream in several flavours is made from high-quality ingredients.
There are several beautiful settlements within a 1-hour drive. Here are some popular ones:
- Pisa 90 km: Pisa is famous for its Leaning Tower and beautiful historic centre and university.
- Siena 80 km: Siena is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its beautiful Gothic architecture, historic centre and the twice-yearly Palio horse race.
- Lucca 95 km: Lucca is a charming walled town known for its medieval architecture, narrow streets and beautiful churches.
- San Gimignano 60 km: 1-hour southwest, San Gimignano sits on a medieval hilltop known for its 14 tower houses and beautiful views of the Tuscan countryside.
- Fiesole 20 km: Located roughly 30 minutes northeast. It is a picturesque village with ancient Rome and a beautiful church.
The distance between Firenze and the nearest beach on the Tyrrhenian Sea is about 100 kilometres. Although it is not located directly on the beach, you can easily reach several towns and resorts. Here, you find secluded bays, larger beaches and bustling coastal villages. The nearest coastal towns are Viareggio and Forte dei Marmi.
- Viareggio is a popular seaside resort known for its long beach, historic promenade and art nouveau architecture. It is about 1 hour away by car, but can also be reached by train.
- Forte dei Marmi is another popular seaside town a little north of Viareggio. It is known for its beautiful beach, luxury boutiques and trendy nightlife. Forte dei Marmi is about a 1.5-hour drive away.
Firenze has a well-developed transportation system that includes buses, trains, taxis, bike rentals, and walking trails.
- Buses: the local bus network is operated by ATAF and covers the whole city and surrounding areas. Several types of tickets are available, including single tickets, day tickets and weekly passes. Buses are frequent and reliable, so you can easily travel with them. A trip costs €1.50, while a day ticket costs €5. Weekly passes are also available for €16.00.
- Taxi: Plenty of taxis are available and can be hailed on the street or booked in advance. The cars are metered, and the municipality regulates the fares. There are also shop cars. The starting fare is 3.30 euros, and a 10-minute taxi ride costs around 10-15 euros.
- Bikes: a bike-sharing company called Mobike lets you rent bikes by the hour or by the day. There are also many bicycle rentals to explore the sights on two wheels. Mobike rental costs EUR 0.30 for half an hour, while traditional daily bike rental costs approx. 15-20 euros.
- On foot: The main sights are within walking distance of each other. Take advantage of it and walk from one attraction to another.
- Bartolomeo Cristofori invented the piano here at the beginning of the 18th century.
- It is home to the oldest European zoo, the Giardino Zoologico di Firenze, founded in 1775.
- The well-known Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci, after whom America was named, was born here in 1454.
- The Italian poet Dante Alighieri, author of the Divine Comedy, was also born here in 1265.
- It is home to the oldest pharmacy in the world, the Farmacia di Santa Maria Novella, which has been operating since the 13th century.
- Also known for its fashion and leather goods, many recognised brands and designers, including Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo and Roberto Cavalli, come here.
- It is home to the oldest art academy in the world, the Accademia di Belle Arti, founded in 1563.
- Italian ice cream - supposedly, it comes from here. The first gelato shop opened here in the 16th century.
- As it is spoken today, the Italian language has its roots in the dialect here during the Renaissance.
- Between 865 and 1871, Firenze was Italy’s capital city, not Roma.
We wish you a good trip and a good rest! Trekhunt team ❤️