FLORENCE – WHY GO?
Rather like a rich plum pudding, Florence dazzles with its glittering Renaissance jewels. Do allow plenty of time to see its many art treasures, where queuing or booking tickets in advance is often a must.
MUST SEE, MUST DO
Art lovers should start their cultural foray with a trip to the Uffizi collection, the crème de la crème of the city's art museums. You could spend literally days here gazing at works by Michelangelo, Botticelli, Titian and Italy’s other grand master
Other art museums
Don't miss the sculpture-rich Bargello or the arty Palazzo Pitti. Tickets are bookable in advance to beat the queues. Palazzo Pitti houses magnificent works by Tintoretto, Botticelli and Raphael, while Palazzo Strozzi is the setting for some of Florence’s top exhibitions. Santa Maria Novella church is also crammed with frescoes and art treasures.
The Duomo (cathedral) is unmissable, soaring above the city's terracotta rooftops just as it did in medieval times.
A copy of Michelangelo’s iconic statue of David, towering as high as a double-decker bus, can be seen in front of Palazzo Vecchio, in the Piazza della Signoria.
Stroll across the famous Ponte Vecchio – spanning the River Arno since the 13th century.This is the place to snap up jewellery – boutiques selling gold and gems have long since replaced the butchers and tanners here of olden days.
Watch the world go by
Clip-clop through the city on a horse-drawn carriage or admire the greenery in the Boboli gardens.
If this Florentine feast of art and history threatens cultural overload, you can always enjoy some retail therapy along Via Tornabuoni, jostling with designer stores. Ponte Vecchio is another little shopping hotspot.
MAKE A DATE
Sfilata dei Canottieri. Medieval rowing boats see in the New Year, sailing through Florence on the River Arno.
Festa di San Paolino, Lucca. Don't miss the torchlit parade, when players in period costume honour the city's patron saint.
Have a champagne breakfast on the terrace of one of our fabulous Florence hotels and toast that timeless terracotta skyline.