In this guide, we’ve handpicked the very best of what makes Italy so special — both on and off the beaten path — so you can travel like an insider in Italy!
When you begin making your to-do list for Florence, your first concern is likely to be how you’ll fit everything in that you want to see. But you’re on vacation, so one thing you’re probably not thinking about is what day of the week it is – and whether that matters at all.
Florence is well-known as a place to buy beautifully-made leather goods. But you may not know that part of the city’s history with leather is tied to one of Florence’s most visited churches. No visit to Santa Croce is complete without a stop at the Scuola del Cuoio – the Leather School.
Walking tours in a city like Florence are great – the historic center is extremely pedestrian-friendly, and at a walking pace you’re sure not to miss anything. But if you’re craving something more active, or if you just want to work off additional calories in order to indulge in some of Italy’s best gelato later on, then consider a running tour in Florence.
One of the most famous historic festivals in Tuscany happens twice a year in Siena – the Palio horse race. Since Siena is so close to Florence, there’s really no reason to miss out on this truly spectacular event. Plan ahead and you can easily take a day trip from Florence to Siena to see the Palio.
The historic center of Florence is cut in two by the Arno River, so you might expect river cruises in Florence to be plentiful. Today, however, the Arno is relatively small where it runs through the city, and not deep enough to handle the sort of river cruise boats popular elsewhere in Europe. You can take a boat trip in Florence, though, on a traditional Florentine boat.
Michelangelo is inextricably linked to the city of Florence, having spent much of his early artistic career there under the patronage of the Medici family. He was able to purchase a house in Florence, which is today known as Casa Buonarroti, though he never actually lived there.
Inside the Santa Maria del Carmine church in Florence is a small chapel with some of the most famous paintings in this famously artistic city. Many people overlook the Brancacci Chapel in their race to see the galleries of the Uffizi, but you should definitely pay the chapel a visit.
Florence’s imposing Pitti Palace was built in the 15th century as a home for the ruling Medici family. Today, it is home to seven different museums – not including the museum piece of a garden behind the building.
In Florence, one of the must-see attractions is the marvelous art collection inside the Uffizi Gallery. The long line that often snakes out the front door is a testament to how popular the gallery is. If you plan ahead, however, you can not only avoid waiting in that line, you can get in before the doors open to the general public – and you can have breakfast inside to boot.