What’s the big deal about Florence? First off, it was an important medieval trade and commerce centre and was the home of the Italian Renaissance, which brought Europe kicking and screaming out of the Middle Ages. More to the point, the city is famous for its Renaissance art and architecture – home to Michelangelo’s David and Botticelli’s Birth of Venus – but there’s more to see than the Uffizi and Duomo. With so much to do you’d better get your skates on … or maybe your Salvatore Ferragamo shoes! For ideas on planning your trip, check out our Suggested Itineraries in Florence. We’ve listed some of the highlights below.
|The Duomo in Florence|
Day 1: The Art of Florence
‘Art is the queen of all sciences’, said Leonardo da Vinci; check out the Italian Renaissance masters on the Accademia Gallery and the Uffizi Gallery Guided Tour, which takes you through two of the world’s most important art galleries. Master works by Leonardo da Vinci, Giotto, Botticelli, Raphael and Michelangelo are just some of what’s on offer.
Tuscany is famous for its cuisine so when it’s time for dinner front up for the Tuscan Cooking Course and Dinner in Florence in a historic Florentine home. Learn how to cook traditional Tuscan dishes and how to match suitable wines. A sumptuous dinner follows.
|The leaning tower of Pisa|
Day 2: Pisa & Piazzas
Join the Private Florence Walking Tour for an intimate stroll through some of Florence’s finest architecture – Piazza Santa Maria Novella and its magnificent Dominican church containing Brunellechi’s famous crucifix and Masaccio’s Trinity, Palazzo Davanzati, Ponte Vecchio and Dante’s house. In the afternoon enjoy a leisurely drive along the Arno River on the Pisa and the Leaning Tower Tour. No trip to Florence is complete without a visit to this iconic Italian landmark.
Back in town head for the superb restaurants on and around Piazza della Signoria including the famous fine dining establishments of Gustavino, Angels and Alle Murate. There are also some sketchy tourist eateries around here too, so avoid the places that are packed out with tourists – pizzas and pastas are pre-prepared, reheated and doled out to the unsuspecting.
|The hills of Tuscany|
Day 3: Food & Fashion
You too can dress like the Florentine fashionistas – get on board the Florence Shopping Tour to the Gucci and Prada Outlets that visits all the most prestigious fashion companies where you can get discounts from 30% to 50%. First stop is Prada and then the tour goes on to The Mall where you can purchase glad rags by Agnona, Alexander McQueen, Armani Jeans, Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Burberry, Emanuel Ungaro, Ermenegildo Zegna, Fendi, Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Hogan, I Pinco Pallino, La Perla, Loro Piana, Marni, Pucci, Salvatore Ferragamo, Sergio Rossi, Stella McCartney, Tod’s, Valentino, Yohji Yamamoto and … gasping for breath! … Yves Saint Laurent. Better bring a suitcase.
In the afternoon enjoy a 40-minute double-decker bus excursion to one of Tuscany’s most beautiful areas on the Chianti Region Wine Tasting Afternoon Tour. The tour visits Romanesque churches, villas and castles, and historic farmhouses set amongst the region’s famous vineyards and olive groves. Wine and food tastings are featured, along with Chianti’s colorful history.