Florence is a beautiful city that lies in the picturesque countryside of Tuscany. The city itself lies on the banks of the River Arno, Florence has a charm and beauty all of its own and it and it will captivate every visitors.
Often referred to as the ‘Cradle of the Renaissance’, there is a lot to discover and experience. The home of Machiavelli, Michelangelo and the Medici family, Florence was the place where artists were nurtured and the city profited with elegant architecture, amazing art with an abundance of culture and history.
Arriving in Florence
Airport: Florence Airport, Peretola is Florence’s main airport. A taxi ride from the airport to the city centre is usually approximately 15 minutes. Buses leave the airport ever 30 minutes, and the journey can take approximately 20 minutes to arrive at the bus terminal. Early morning and night buses will drop off at Santa Maria Novella train station.
Pisa, Galileo Galilei International Airport is another airport close to Florence, located in Pisa it will take 1 hour to 1.5 hours to arrive in Florence by taxi/ private car. There is a train and a PisaMover, which is a shuttle that connects Pisa Airport with the City and then a train from Pisa to Florence. PisaMover takes about 5 minutes and a train to Florence can take between 50 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes, depending on the train.
Train: The train station is Santa Maria Novella. It is situated in the city centre and is close to major attractions. There are buses and taxis outside to take you to additional areas, but in most cases hotels are within a 15 to 10 minute walk of the station. There is also a baggage deposit in the train station. Storage is for 5 hours, but you can pay for additional hours and can extend to 12 hours. A good option is you are too early to book into your hotel and don’t want to carry luggage around.
Once you have settled in to your hotel, it is often a good idea to have a little stroll into the city to soak up the atmosphere and get a bite to eat.
Why not take a wonderful 2 hour tour to introduce you to Florence?
A gentle walking tour to introduce you to Florence. You will be introduced to the streets of Florence, seeing the famous sites of the Vecchio Palace with the sculptures outside. You will see ‘Neptune Fountain’, ‘Hercules and Cacus and ‘The rape of the Sabine women’. From this central piazza, it is a short walk to the famous Ponte Vecchio – the only bridge to survive the German retreat from the region during WW2.
This 2 hour introductory tour will show you the exciting sites of Florence. Your local guide will help you to navigate the city.
We recommend taking in the main tourist sites in the first day, with plenty of time to wonder round from site to site. We have an amazing walking tour of Florence that includes the Uffizi Gallery, Accademia Gallery and the Duomo.
Here, you will be able to see the following sculptures outside the Vecchio Palace; Ammanati’s controversial ‘Neptune Fountain’ (Michaelangelo said ‘what a lovely piece of marble you have ruined!’ upon seeing this work), Bandinelli’s ‘Hercules and Cacus’ and ‘The Rape of the Sabine Women’ by Giambologna. From the central piazza, we will walk the short distance to pass the Ponte Vecchio – the only bridge to survive the German retreat from the region during WW2.
The Uffizi is the oldest gallery in the world and was built in 1560 as offices for the Tuscan Administration (‘Uffizi’ translates as ‘offices’). Pupils will enjoy a guided tour of the museum and will such works as ‘The Birth of Venus’ and ‘Primavera’ by Botticelli, Michelangelo’s ‘The Holy Family’ and Titian’s ‘Venus of Urbino’. The museum displays its paintings in a series of rooms off the horseshoe shaped main corridor. The works are shown in chronological order to reveal the development of Florentine art from Gothic to High Renaissance. show the focuses on gothic art, the early renaissance and culminates in various paintings from the High Renaissance.
We will have time to enter the Florence Duomo, view the Campanile bell tower, built by Giotto in 1334 & view the Baptistry Doors built by Lorenzo Ghiberti in 1401. Inside the Duomo, participants will be able to view the city’s ancient medieval clock & the ‘Last Judgement’ Frescoes by Vasari on the inside of the cupola.
Finishing the tour with the Accademia gallery, with the famous ‘David’ by Michaelangelo.
Attractions: Ponte Vecchio, Uffizi gallery, Accademia Gallery, Florence Duomo
Starting with a walk to Piazzale Michelangelo and discover breathtaking panorama of Florence and the city’s best vantage point. It was designed by Giuseppe Poggi in 1869 and is a typical 19th century terrace, dedicated to Michelangelo with copies of his work. There was supposed to be a museum for Michelangelo’s work, but it never happened. Thankfully it is now home to a coffee bar and a restaurant. A delightful reward after climbing to the Piazzale.
Next, discover Palazzo Pitti. Built for the Pitti family in 1458 by Luca Pitti, it became a symbol of the Medici powers and rule over tuscany. It was the royal palace of two dynasties, the House of Lorraine-Habsburg and the Kings of Italy of the House of Savoy, who lived in Pitti since 1865. It remained the official residence of the rulers of Florence until 1919, when it was handed over to the state by the Savoy family. Today, the Palace is an amazing museum, with four different collections. The Treasury of the Grand Dukes, The Palatine Gallery and the Royal and Imperial Apartments, the Modern Art Gallery and the Museum of Costume and Fashion.
Before leaving, you must visit the Giardino di Boboli. The Medici family started the gardens in the mid- 16th century and became ‘the’ style for Italian gardens and the model for many of the courts in Europe. The gardens have grottos and fountains, with the Fountain of Neptune and the Fountain of the Ocean. There is a beautiful terraced area and pavilion with a rare example of Rococo architecture. It is a great place to wonder through, imagining the past owners enjoying their garden, that remains true to their original project.
After a day of walking and discovering, finish with a visit to San Lorenzo Market. Split in two there is the indoor and the outdoor market. The outdoor section of the market runs along several of the surrounding streets of the Mercato Centrale. There are stall on either side of the streets with pottery, clothing, souvenirs and leather goods. A great place to pick up some gifts for your friends and family without having to spend too much.
In indoor of the central market is a two level food markets. The Mercato Centrale was designed by Giuseppe Mengoni, built with cast iron and glass the building mixes classical and modern and takes a little inspiration from other European countries, notably Paris. On the ground floor, there are the butchers, fishmonger, fruit and veg sells and speciality shops that sell local olive oils, meat and cheeses. The first floor has been remodelled and is bright and spaicours with artisan stalls that sell freshly made items. It is also a place where you can see traditional food being made and also a good place to take a break and try some of the wonderful food.
Attractions: Piazzale Michelangelo, Palazzo Pitti, Giardino di Boboli, Mercato Centrale, San Lorenzo Market
Although, we are writing about 2 days in Florence, there is so much to discover that you will want to return to this beautiful and amazing city. Check out our page on Florence with the tours that we offer.