Florence is the capital city of Tuscany and is the 8th most populated city in Italy. Rich with history and culture, Florence is widely considered to be the birthplace of the renaissance and Forbes have cited the city as one of the most beautiful in the world. The entire city centre of Florence was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1982 and is a stunning destination for any travellers in Europe.
Florence was founded in 59 BC as a settlement for former soldiers who were allotted land by Julius Caesar, in the rich farming valley of the Arno. By the 3rd century AD, it was established as the capital of Tuscany (then called Tuscia). By the 10th century, Florence was on a strong and steady ascent towards prosperity. The city became a powerful banking hub, with many Florentine banks opening branches all across Europe. The powerful Medici banking family ruled the city from behind the scenes and also found fame as prominent patrons of the arts. This economic strength attracted an influx of immigrants, setting the stage for the Renaissance. The city maintained its reputation for innovation throughout the 14th to 16th centuries. Many of the era's most influential artists flocked to the city to create their masterpieces, including Michelangelo, Botticelli, Ghirlandaio and Leonardo da Vinci. In 1737, Tuscany became a territory of Austria and was later ruled by France and the kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont. After unification in 1861, Tuscany became a province of the Kingdom of Italy.
Florence is currently known for being an economic centre in Italy and one of the Italian Cities for fashion. A great deal of Italian stylists come from Florence who specialise in the design and creation of leather bags and other leather goods.
Also known as Amerigo Vespucci Airport, Firenze-Peretola serviced over 2 million passengers in 2014. The airport has 2 terminals, one for departures and the other for arrivals, and is a hub for the Spanish budget airline, Vueling. Firenze-Peretola is a small airport with a single runway and operates flights to national and International destinations such as Düsseldorf, Stuttgart, Barcelona, Cagliari, Catania, London-Gatwick, Palermo, Paris-Orly and Zurich.
Getting from Firenze-Peretola to the City Centre
ATAF, the public transport system of Florence, and Busitalia formed a partnership to provide a bus service that connects the city centre with the airport called Vola in Bus. The service runs every half an hour from 5:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., then once an hour thereafter.
Taxis are also available from the airport at a flat rate of €25, and will take you anywhere in the historic centre and for each piece of extra luggage will charge an additional €1. The airport is located only 4 km from the main train station and is therefore easily accessible by car. Drivers can follow the A1 and A11 via Alessandro Guidoni.
Stazione di Santa Maria Novella is the main train station in Florence and is located just on the edge of the historic centre close to the Santa Maria Novella Church. It is the 4th biggest station in Italy after Roma Termini, Milano Centrale and Torino. It is served by both Trenitalia and ItaloTreno and is on the northern end of the fast line connecting Florence with Rome. Additionally, the station offers high-speed trains to other European destinations such as Paris, Munich and Vienna.
Getting from Stazione di Santa Maria Novella to the City Centre
Santa Maria Novella is already located very centrally with all the main attraction of the city within walking distance. However, from Santa Maria Novella buses and trams are available to connect passengers to all areas of the city. The station is also a stop on Line D and Line C2 of the metro
There are taxis available outside the station, however, they tend to be fairly expensive and in most of the areas in the historic centre driving is strictly prohibited except for residents with permits.
Firenze Campo di Marte is the second train station of Florence and is located in the south of the city. The station mainly operates as a commuter train service for those living in the neighbouring rural areas. Firenze Campo di Marte also provides InterCity, Express and international journeys in its 9 platform strong station. One of the most popular routes serviced at the station is the a night train called Thello that links Paris to Rome, also stopping at Florence and Bologna.
Getting from Firenze Campo di Marte to the City Centre
There are several trains available that link Firenze Campo di Marte with the central Station of Santa Maria Novella, and these trains run every 20 minutes with a duration of 11 minutes. Firenze Campo di Marte is located 7.4 km from Santa Maria Novella, which should take no more than 20 minutes to drive without traffic. The best route to do so is via Luigi Alamanni
The SITA bus station is located at Santa Maria Novella train station. The station is served by buses from ATAF, Li-nea, CAP, Copit, Busitalia and Lazzi.
The Italian motorways are called the Autostrada, and there are several exits that lead to Florence. Simply take the A1 Autostrada del Sole or follow Calenzano / Sesto Fiorentino, Firenze Nord, Firenze Scandicci, Firenze Impruneta or Firenze Sud. From the A11 Firenze-Mare, passengers can choose to travel via the Sesto Fiorentino or Firenze Ovest.
ATAF Le-nea s.c.a.r.l manage the public transport system in Florence and several neighbouring towns and cities. The transport system is made up of buses, trams and regional trains and is one of the most common ways of getting around the city. The tram is called GestTamvia and connects Santa Maria Novella with the south-west suburb of Scandicci.
Florence is the capital city of Tuscany and is the 8th most populated city in Italy. Rich with history and culture, Florence is widely considered to be the birthplace of the renaissance and Forbes have cited the city as one of the most beautiful in the world. The entire city centre of Florence was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1982 and is a stunning destination for any travellers in Europe. Florence is currently known for being an economic centre in Italy and one of the Italian Cities for fashion. A great deal of Italian stylists come from Florence who specialise in the design and creation of leather bags and other leather goods.
Must Know: The city of Florence is quite compact and therefore the best and easiest way to see the city is by foot.
Must See: Visit the Florence Cathedral for stunning architecture and views.
Must Do: Visit the Galleria dell'Accademia to see many famous pieces of art, including the statue of David.
Did You Know: According to UNESCO almost a third of the world's art treasures are in the city of Florence.
Florence is full of amazing treasures that you can explore on foot. Begin your walk at the famous Piazza del Duomo, a square that holds immense historical and religious significance. Here, you will get to see Florence's monumental landmark, the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral. Just adjacent is Giotto's bell tower and the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo that holds special pieces of artwork. Stop at the central market situated within the square and have a taste of Italian espresso. Piazza Signoria, a magnificent square that contains the imposing Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi Gallery, is nearby. This square holds some of Italy's most treasured sculptures and art collections. Locals regard it as the epicenter of the city's social life. From here, cross the Arno River through the iconic bridge of Ponte Vecchio and check out pieces of art and jewelry at the numerous shops that line the river. To get a panoramic view of Florence, walk to Piazzale Michelangelo square through the beautiful rose garden. Catch a breathtaking view of the sunset from this location, and then have a delicious meal at Chalet il Boschetto. With this walking guide, you are set to have a memorable and fulfilling trip.
Be it a cappuccino, a macchiato, or a shakerato (iced coffee), coffee is sacred in Italy. And what better a place to enjoy your coffee than in Florence? Few things beat the experience of sipping a caffe latte served with Florentine squares as you enjoy the surrounding beauty of the city. In Florence, traditional coffee houses and contemporary coffee shops stand side by side. Classic express bars such as the café Rivoire rival third-wave artisan coffee spots such as the Ditta Artigianale for the choosy coffee clientele. Ditta Artigianale is famous for the best coffee in town. It offers a trendy menu with filtered coffee as the highlight and a side of flat whites served within a sleek urban setting. Another great coffee shop is Café Gilli, situated at the center of the amazing Piazza della Repubblica. As you sip your coffee, you can marvel at the barristers at work or the army of staff gliding between tables. In case you need a place that oozes elegance and class, head over to Caffe Paszkowsi. Order scrumptious pastries and chase them down with their famous espresso. In the evening, you can look forward to their piano recitals as you drink your coffee.
Italy is famous for its robust culinary scene featuring amazing treats, famous wines and a hearty food culture. Florence boasts unique Italian foods with a Tuscan influence that has seen the region master the art of using anything in the kitchen along with peak seasonal ingredients. Following that tradition is Lampredotto, one of the region's specialties and a staple of outdoor market and street vendor menus. This street food dish features a sandwich filled with thin slices of tripe that has been boiled in a seasoned broth. Vendors serve it separately on a plate or as a sandwich. Another must-try Florentine dish is Florentine steak, locally known as Bistecca Alla Fiorentina. A beast of a meal and Florentine's signature dish, it features a thick T-bone slab of meat cooked rare for up to four minutes. Traditionally it is prepared rare and the meat itself should be from a local Chanina cow. Roasted over chestnuts to give it a smoky flavor, the steak features a delicate combination of salt, pepper, and lemon seasoning. Truffle Gnocchi is another must-try dish, and features a heavenly combination of Gorgonzola cheese in a creamy sauce with truffle seasoning.
The best months to visit Florence are April, May, September, and October. During these months, the weather is pleasant, and it's the perfect period to enjoy enchanting open-air dining, experience soul-stirring art, as well as cultural and music festivals. Throughout April, temperatures average between 45 to 65 degree Fahrenheit. There is ample sunshine during the day, and the evenings are quite cool. This April period ushers in celebrations that have religious and cultural significance, such as the Scoppio del Carro event and the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino arts festival. Mid-May to July is the peak season; the temperatures are generally warm and mild, and the sun can shine for up to 11 hours a day, thus providing tourists with ample time to tour more places. You can check out the Boboli blossoms and Rose Renaissance gardens that come alive during the spring, or catch the San Giovani fireworks from the Santa Trinita bridge. July and August experience high temperatures, while September and October are warm and tolerable. Autumns here have an irresistible romantic atmosphere and fewer crowds. You can take part in events such as the Festival of the Paper Lanterns on September 7th, or visit a vineyard to taste some world-class wine.