You may well be familiar with Florence’s famous cityscape, the ancient terracotta-roofed buildings dominated by the Duomo and surrounded by the rolling hills. The reality does not disappoint, it is an incredibly beautiful city, one of only a few cities in the world whose entire historical centre is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. When you then consider that it contains treasures from some of the greatest artists the world has ever seen, it is no wonder Florence City Breaks are ever popular, it really is a place that everyone should experience at least once.
For lovers of renaissance art and architecture, Florence is the ultimate destination. The Uffizi Gallery is one of the most visited museums in the world, with entire rooms decicated to Botticelli and da Vinci, and with pieces by Michelangelo and Lippi it is easy to understand why. Another must see is the Duomo, with the eight white ribs and terracotta tiles of the famous Brunelleschi dome, it’s enormous close to and a guide is recommended to fully appreciate its history. If you are feeling energetic, climb the 463 steps to the top where you can see the inside of the dome up close and get an amazing view of Florence below. Around the Piazza del Duomo is the Baptistry and Museo dell’Opera dell Duomo which are also worth visiting as you can see many of the original statues and decorative elements from the cathedral. The architecture of the city is such that many of the palaces and piazzas are masterpieces in their own right and you will find the odd statue by Michelangelo! The Ponte Vecchio or Old Bridge is another world famous treasure. Browsing the fashion stores of Florence is a popular pastime and the city is well known for it’s exquisite leather goods. Should you wish to break away from the crowds, cross the Ponte Vecchio to reach the less crowded Bohemian Oltrarno part of the city with its many artisan workshops. In hot weather the ornate fountains, hidden paths and area of shade in the adjacent Boboli gardens can also provide a welcome break from the buzz of the city. If you enjoy sampling local food, Florence is an ideal city to visit. From the cheap and cheerful trattorias near the markets to the interesting bars and restaurants of the Santa Croce there is something to suit every budget.
We personally visit the hotels and log client feedback in order to continually provide a variety of good quality hotels. A favourite, great value, 3 star hotel is the Delle Nazioni; a contemporarily styled, conveniently located hotel close to the train station and just a short walk to the main sights. For those who prefer to be in the real hustle and bustle of the city, the 3 star superior Pitti Palace is a perfect choice. It is located next to the Ponte Vecchio and is a contemporarily furnished hotel in an old Florentine building with a panoramic roof top terrace. Should you prefer a 4 star hotel, the Laurus is a classically styled hotel very close to the Duomo, also boasting a roof top, garden terrace. At the top end the 5 star Montebello Splendid comes well recommended. This beautiful hotel is peacefully located away from the busy streets of the city whilst still being an easy walk from the main sights.
Italian cuisine needs no introduction, but typical traditional Tuscan cuisine will include cheese and meat such as boar, deer and rabbit usually roasted or wine braised. The Beef Steak Florentine is popular as is a dish of white beans cooked with sage and olive oil.
October to March is the best time to visit if you want to see as many of the attractions as possible, and, although you may need to wear a coat, it will surely be warmer than the UK! Florence is very busy from spring to early autumn and there will be large (but fast moving) queues at all the major attractions. However the weather will be warm through to hot and there are plenty of opportunities for alfresco dining.
Although there are flights into Florence’s small Peretola airport, most flights operate to Pisa, which is approximately an hour’s transfer by airport train or coach. We offer flights to Pisa from 15 UK and Irish airports including Belfast, Bournemouth, Edinburgh and Leeds Bradford.