Florence's history is long and eventful - evident through everything you can discover and see on your Florence city breaks. Primarily known as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, it was originally a Roman city. Politically, economically and culturally, for about 250 years, Florence was one of the most important cities in Europe and the world from the 14th to the 16th centuries. The Medici family revolutionised high culture and the arts, exalting their influence by patronising numerous artists and sculptors and effectively disseminating the Renaissance throughout Europe through their connections and marriages. Florence was also home to Machiavelli, Giotto, Brunelleschi, Donatello, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.
You can see many of the greatest artistic treasures in the world in Florence's galleries, museums, palaces and churches - even the buildings that house the masterpieces are works of art in themselves. Florence has been famous for centuries for its profoundly influential art, language, literature, music, cuisine, science and more. Today, on Florence city breaks, discover its vibrant culture and the bars, shops and commerce in the city.
What to do in Florence? You have endless choice. Don't miss the Cathedra and Baptistry, the Uffizi, the Bargello and Academia. Go and see the art in the churches of Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce, including Michelangelo's magnificent library of San Lorenzo. Cross over the Ponte Vechhio, an ancient bridge over the River Arno with shops and houses. See the vast art collection in the Pitti Palace. Outdoors, it's worth wandering around the Boboli Gardens or climb up to the hilltop church of San Miniato al Monte and enjoy the enchanting panoramic view of Florence.
Three rivers including the Arno flow through Florence, in the river basin of the Senese Clavey Hills of Tuscany. Florence has a typical inland Mediterranean climate.
The architecture is richly varied and many of the attractions in Florence include remains from Greek and Roman periods; Romanesque architecture from the 10th-13th century including many towers, palazzi and churches; Gothic churches and bell towers from the 13th century; numerous Renaissance buildings of all types; Rococò; Neoclassicism; Empire and Art Nouveau and finally modern and contemporary architecture. It is a fascinating, aesthetically stimulating city.
Time your Florence city breaks to coincide with one of the many annual events. They include the Florentine New Year on March 25; Easter Friday Passion Play in Grassina and Easter Sunday "Explosion of the cart" in Florence; May Music Festival; Fireworks for St John Feast on June 24; Football Historic event in June; Florence Dance Festival every June and July; The Festival of the paper lanterns on September 7; The historical parade of Festa di Santa Reparata - October 8;
Most people use the ATAF and Li-new bus network - you can buy tickets easily at tobacconists, bars and newspaper stalls. Trenitalia runs trains via several stations, the principal being Santa Maria Novella. The nearest airport is the Amerigo Vespucci Airport, just over 3 miles west of the city and connected via bus to Florence city centre.