Making the Most of Your Florence Trip

by Community Manager on ‎06-22-2015 11:43 AM - last edited on ‎06-30-2015 10:54 AM by Lithium Technologies (916 Views)

With its lively crafts scene, excellent shopping and cuisine fit for kings, Florence is a little town bursting with big-city energy.


Florence’s beauty extends beyond its world-class canvases, sculptures and frescoes to the city itself. Centered on the iconic cupola of the Duomo, Florence is known as the “cradle of the Renaissance” for its monuments, churches and buildings. Here, iconic sights and experiences to get the most out of this Italian gem.


Key sights
In a city of countless museums, the crown jewel is the Accademia Gallery, where you can see Michelangelo’s David. Equally impressive is the Uffizi Gallery, home to the largest collection of Italian Renaissance masterpieces in the world. Meanwhile, the city’s architectural—and literal—high point is Florence’s main cathedral, commonly called the Duomo, whose neo-Gothic facade, striped with multihued marble, has been captivating sightseers for centuries. It’s a good idea to hire a local guide to help you navigate these fascinating sights. Guides break down the city’s rich history with tales you often wouldn’t hear while exploring alone.


Magical experience
For the young and restless, climbing the 463 stairs to the top of the Duomo rewards the effort with sweeping views. For a more leisurely thrill, stroll along the tiny goldsmith stores lining the 700-year-old Ponte Vecchio for a glimpse of the river Arno coursing below.


Insider tip
Running atop Ponte Vecchio, the passageway known as the Vasari Corridor was once used by Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici to move in secret between his palaces. Now it houses a huge collection of Renaissance self-portraits—and remains largely undiscovered. Note that you can enter only as part of a guided tour of the Uffizi Gallery.


Eat like a local
Florence is famed for simple fare that emphasizes fresh ingredients over fancy preparations, which harks back to the region’s peasant roots. The city’s signature dish: bistecca alla Fiorentina, a charcoal-grilled T-bone steak served rare and intensely packed with flavor.


Italy offers experiences unique to each major city. Read more on Venice and Rome. And to discover more of the Mediterranean, view this Mediterranean immersive experience, complete with videos, slideshows and more.


A version of this story appears in the July/August 2015 issue of AAA Living magazine.


Image credit/source: Thinkstock

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