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First time Travel Guide to Florence Italy

Updated: Apr 24, 2023

free walking tour of Florence Michelangelo square

After a two-year slump, Italy's tourism numbers soared by 74.4% compared to 2022. Of these, many chose to visit Florence and other art-centered cities like Rome, and Venice. If you'd like to join the masses looking for inspiration during their travels, Florence is a fantastic option for you, too. The city is the capital of the charming Tuscany region and a hotspot for architecture, history, and art. Here's what you need to know if you plan to maximize your time in Florence, Italy Where Is Florence in Italy? Florence lies about 49 miles from Italy's west coast, in the heart of Tuscany, about 145 miles northwest of Rome. It's a picturesque city that rests easily in the embrace of rolling hills, farms, villas, and orchards. Here, the summers are humid and hot, while winters bring cool, wet weather. It's best to visit during the spring and fall when temperatures are warm and pleasant. What Time Is It in Florence, Italy? Florence lies in the Central European Standard Time Zone, which is one hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time, or GMT. All locations in this time zone observe daylight savings time from 2 am on the last Sunday of March, until 3 am on the last Sunday of October. At this time, Florence time is 2 hours ahead of UTC. Every day between 1 pm and 4 pm, local shops close for the siesta. Where to Stay in Florence, Italy? You'll find no shortage of places to stay in Florence. The city boasts a wide variety of apartments, hotels, villas, and bed and breakfast accommodations to suit your budget. The best areas to stay in Florence if you want easy access to the sights, are:

  • The City Center

  • Santa Croce

  • Sant’Ambrogio

  • Santa Maria Novella

If you're looking for something a little more out of the way, you'll find lovely accommodations in San Lorenzo, San Marco, San Niccolò, and Piazzale Michelangelo. Getting Around in Florence The best way to maximize the beauty of Florence is by walking among its lovely buildings, quaint shops, boutiques, and historic sights. If you need to travel a little further, there is a fleet of electric buses traveling between the main areas of the city. There is also a tram line running from Scandicci to the northwestern part of the city. You must buy your tickets in advance from an authorized ticket outlet if you want to travel by bus, you can't buy tickets on the buses themselves. You can buy tram tickets from the ticket machines located at all the tram stops. There is currently no Uber service operating in Florence, but you can hire a taxi if necessary. Things to Experience in Florence, Italy There are a myriad of places to explore and things to do while visiting Florence, Italy. This is a selection of the best ones: Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (The Duomo) This magnificent complex is the most visited attraction in Florence and a must-visit during your trip. The venue incorporates four main parts, which you should include in your explorations:

Climbing to the top of the 600-year-old dome is well worth the long walk to the top. Each of the 463 steps along the way offers unforgettable views of the interior paintings. These artworks are representations of the contrast between heaven and hell, masterfully depicted in graphic detail. The Baptistery is one of Florence's oldest buildings, boasting stunning bronze doors, mosaics, and relief sculptures. The Uffizi Museum The Uffizi Museum is a dazzling showcase of Renaissance art, boasting works by Botticelli, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci amongst others. Along the passageways between the exhibits, you'll come across a priceless collection of busts and statues from the Medici family, including ancient Roman copies of Greek sculptures lost to time. Boboli Gardens This glorious park near Pitti Palace is a boon for outdoor enthusiasts wanting to explore a different side of Florence. The park features ancient oak trees, flowers, sculptures, and fountains to admire. It's a beautiful place for strolling or spending time relaxing in green surroundings and also offers easy access to the Pitti Palace with its panoramic views over the city. Dining in Florence You simply must try out some of the city's local delicacies while you're in the area, so don't miss a chance to pop into a café or restaurant during your sightseeing efforts. Some of the tastiest meals in Florence include:

  • Fagioli all'uccelletto (Tuscan baked beans)

  • Schiacciata (flatbread)

  • Lampredotto (tripe)

  • Bistecca alla Fiorentina (veal)

  • Pappardelle al cinghiale (pasta with wild boar)

Come dessert time, gelato is the way to go wherever you are in Italy. If you feel like a change, you should also try Tiramisù and Zuccotto. Shopping in Florence You'll find no shortage of high-end boutiques in Florence, but you should head to San Lorenzo market for authentic Italian keepsakes. Here you'll find leather goods, souvenirs, and pottery. There's also a dizzying array of fresh produce on display, as well as a few unsavory butchery items. Other top spots for shopping include:

  • Via Roma

  • Via dei Calzaiuoli

  • Via dei Serragli

  • Via dei Tornabuoni

  • Borgo Santi Apostoli

These outlets offer a stylish array of antiques, jewelry, and high-end fashion. Make the Most of Your Time in Florence, Italy Has this Florence travel guide inspired you to visit this beautiful, historic city? When planning your trip to Florence, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of things to do. Be sure to get the most out of your trip and enjoy your time in Florence, Italy by planning your activities well in advance. It's also advisable to book all your tours and tickets in advance for this busy tourist destination. Get started by browsing our blog articles for more ideas and book your free tour to explore the top sights of the city today.

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