Italy has many famous opera houses – La Scala in Milan, La Fenice in Venice – but if you’re in Florence the theater to seek out is the Teatro della Pergola. Some argue it’s Italy’s oldest opera house.
Pizza, wine, and gelato are the holy trinity of Italian foods. While in Florence we had an evening filled with the area’s finest foods. Our evening starts with a tasting and knowledge about one of the many things that make the region of Tuscany famous: the Sangiovese grape. Since before mid-evil times grapes have been grown in the Tuscany region just outside Florence. Over the centuries the wine makers have perfected their craft and produce some of the finest wines in the world. If you have ever tried a true Chianti it comes from this specify part of Italy. We learned about the process of making the wine and what characteristics that make it unique. A lesson in how to taste wine follows the history of the grape and region.
The piazza in Florence to which most of us flock is the Piazza della Signoria. It’s an excellent spot for people-watching, it’s the original home of Michelangelo’s David (and still has a copy of the statue), and it’s right next to the Uffizi Gallery. But for another look at Florence’s history, head to the Piazza della Repubblica.
Florence is easily one of the best cities in Italy in which to eat gelato, and there’s no shortage of gelato shops to choose from. Perhaps the most famous gelatera in Florence – if not all of Italy – is Vivoli.
Food is such an important part of Italian culture, and meals are special moments to be shared. If you don’t have family in Italy, however, your dining experiences will all feel less personal. Luckily, some Florence residents are opening their home to visitors through unique programs that allow you to have dinner in a real Italian home. Here are some of the ways you can dine in a Florentine home while you’re on vacation.
Tuscany, a famous territory in Italy known for its beauty as well as its good food and wine, is a place full of gems hidden in the hills. It’s not easily accessible by public transport, so you have two options – renting a car, or doing bus tour day trips from a major city like Florence. As a new driver, I opted against the inevitable financial ruin that renting would have incurred upon me, not to mention the difficulty of driving on the winding Tuscan roads, and chose a day trip from Florence to Siena and San Gimignano.
Walking through Florence at any time of year, you’re made quite aware that the capital of Tuscany is nowhere near an undiscovered tourist destination. By contrast, Perugia, the capital of the neighboring region of Umbria, lives a quieter life for much of the year – and it’s an easy city to visit from Florence.
Any must-see list in Florence undoubtedly includes a church or two, but many visitors overlook one of the most beautiful churches in the city because it’s not right in the historic center. The lovely San Miniato al Monte church sits atop a hill high above the city center, but it’s absolutely worth the climb to see it.
Prior to the 1966 flood of the Arno River, a visit to the interior of Florence’s Duomo was a chance to see the cathedral’s collection of in situ artwork. After the flood, however, when the art treasures were recovered and restored, when all the mud was removed, much of the artwork was moved to the nearby Museo dell’Opera del Duomo – the Museum of the Works of the Cathedral.
The Duomo in Florence is the city’s historic heart, but it’s not the only important structure on the piazza. The cathedral’s free-standing bell tower, or campanile, is equally beautiful and offers view-seekers a chance to get an almost-bird’s eye view of the famous red-tiled cathedral dome. Here’s what you need to know about climbing Giotto’s bell tower.