Step back in time on a tour of Florence in Italy

A tour of Florence in Italy

Florence in Italy is often called the best city in the world. It was ranked top of the list in the Conde Nast Traveler Reader's Choice Awards for several years. I took some photos of Florence that will give you an idea of what it is like, if you haven't been, and bring back memories if you have.


There are many things to do in Florence. We spent two days there and did everything below as well as squeeze in a visit to the Leaning Tower of Pisa in that time. By the end of our two days we were utterly exhausted. According to our step counters, this was also the day we did the most steps ever.


Narrow Alleys

Walking in Florence was like stepping back in time. It is like a living museum. As I stood on the street corner, I could picture the men and women walking around in their medieval costumes. Right on cue, a horse and cart went past.


Horse and cart in Florence

We went on a free walking tour of Florence with Daniele. There were two tours – a Renaissance tour and a Medici tour. We met him at this spot. An Armenian woman in traditional dress fed pigeons as we waited for our tour to start.


Woman feeding pigeons


Piazza di Santa Maria Novella

On the Renaissance tour, he pointed out the homes of famous residents of Florence including Michaelangelo and Carlo Collodi (Pinocchio's creator). Other famous people who had lived in Florence were Donatello, Botticelli, Roberto Cavalli – The Fashion Designer, and Catherine de Medici – The Ruthless Queen. Michelangelo, Machiavelli and Galileo Galilei are buried here in the Church of Santa Croce.


Michaelangelo lived here

We also saw the famous Duomo (Duomo di Firenze Cathedral), the famous structure synonymous with pictures of Florence. It is capped by Filippo Brunelleschi's red-tiled cupola.


Duomo - Cathedral of Santa Maria dei Fiore


Palazzo Pitti - one of the palaces where the Medicis lived

The Ponte Vecchio is another famous landmark of Florence and its oldest bridge. It is a beautiful arched bridge housing shops – previously butcher shops and fisheries but now jewellery shops. There are great views of the River Arno from here.

This building is covered with dollar bills. No, they're not real.


Dollar Bills

We also visited the Uffizi Gallery which houses art by Michaelangelo, Rafaello (the painter not the chocolate), Botticelli and Leonardo Da Vinci. Of course, all this was lost upon my young children and they were quite bored. We had to buy the tickets for the Uffizi Gallery before we left South Africa, as the queues are crazy. We used Rick Steve’s audio guides here as we did in Venice and Rome.

We made a quick stop at the leather market where my kids bought genuine leather sling bags to carry their tablets in. Unfortunately my son’s bag containing his tablet was stolen in Rome, our next stop.


Building covered with $100 bills

At the end of the day, I dragged my tired family to the department store in the Piazza della Repubblica which is said to have one of the best views of Florence. When we got there, it was too crowded to take good pictures.

Uffizi Gallery

Uffizi Gallery

We stayed at a hotel called Vasari Palace. It had a very artistic feel to it - with lots of paintings - which was quite appropriate considering it was in Florence. Medieval knights and dames were painted on the doors, to give the effect that they were guarding the room. On a side note, my Tripadvisor review on this hotel was one of my most read reviews on their website.  If you have a higher budget, then book at one of the best luxury hotels in Florence.


Entrance to hotel room

Did I think that Florence was the best city in the world? It was charming but I don’t think that I would put it at the top of my list. I preferred Venice and Istanbul.

Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio

While in Florence, we visited Pisa for the day. Find more great day trips in Europe here.

Check out more cool things to do in Florence here.

Find the best accommodation deals in Florence here.

Florence in Italy

8 comments on “Step back in time on a tour of Florence in Italy”

  1. Florence is in fact a great city. It depends on what the reasons behind it. I am convinced Munich is the best city in the world to live in, but I think Istanbul tops my list of cities to experience.

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