Travelers in Italy will be almost overwhelmed by Florence's art and architecture. Known as both the capital of Tuscany and the birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence features artworks by Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci at the Uffizi and dell’Accademia galleries as well as the iconic Duomo Cathedral which dominates city's skyline. Walk along the Arno river and across the Ponte Vecchio bridge before shopping for some of Florence's world-famous leather goods.
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.