Florence’s main sightseeing area, packed with the must-see museums of the Italian Renaissance; centrally located around the Cathedral; high concentration of luxury and mid-market shopping as well as old, family-run leather goods shops and stalls; luxury hotels set in grand villas; elegant cafes sit on ancient narrow streets
Romantic and bohemian neighbourhood located south of the River Arno and jeweller-lined Ponte Vecchio; a mix of Pitti Palace’s over-the-top display of Medici wealth and the calm, shady corners of the Boboli Gardens; artisan workshops line the streets; hip eateries and boutiques around the Piazza Santo Spirito and neighbouring streets
FLORENCE CITY GUIDE | 48 HOURS
Wake up at...
JK Place in the heart of the city. This stylish hotel blends chinoiserie with modern design. Begin the day by visiting the Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella on nearby Via della Scala, a magnificent pharmacy dating back to the 1200s that sells unique fragrances as well as lavish skincare and cosmetics. Next, head east onto Via de' Tornabuoni, renowned for high-end designer stores including Emilio Pucci, Fendi, Gucci and Salvatore Ferragamo housed in the grand Palazzo Spini Feroni. Close by is the Luisa Via Roma concept store, offering designer clothing and impressive VM. Don't miss La Terrazza by Floret, a new eatery and co-working space.
Spend the afternoon...
Having lunch at Amble, a quirky cafe and a great spot to people-watch by the river. You can buy the furniture and artwork. After lunch, pop opposite to vintage store Marie Antoinette to find near-perfect pieces from the likes of Prada and YSL. A trip to Florence is incomplete without visiting the newly curated Gucci Garden museum-cum-shop spread over three floors in the Piazza della Signoria. Browse exclusive items in Alessandro Michele's new shop, or stay a while and indulge in a slice of luxury in the Gucci Osteria next door.
Spend the evening...
Dining at Osteria Del Pavone if you're after classic Florentine cuisine with an elegant twist. The restaurant's impressive renaissance decor and towering bar make for the perfect spot to sample divine takes on street food classics, including lampredotto (tripe) or La Bistecca (Florentine steak). Enjoy an accompanying cocktail concocted with liqueurs and bitters made from medieval recipes at Santa Maria Novella. If you're looking for a modern, buzzy spot, try the relatively new La Ménagère on Via de' Ginori, which boasts a lofty, rustic space featuring long wooden tables, mismatched chairs, floor-to-ceiling windows and plentiful hanging plants. The food is both creative and well presented.
Wake up at...
At Ad Astra, a stunning hotel near Ponte Vecchio. Overlooking the largest private garden in Europe, it features midcentury design pieces, roll-top baths and a beautiful garden terrace. Cross the bridge and take in the traditional jewellery stores that line the streets. Head to Scandi store Bjørk on Via dello Sprone for contemporary brands such as Wood Wood and House of Sunny, plus art and fashion periodicals. Dexter, for men's workwear styles, and the latest Société Anonyme concept store are close by on Via Maggio. Take a stroll into San Frediano for new workspacecum- store Hello Wonderful and independent eyewear brand I Visionari. Head to hip garden hangout Santa Rosa Bistrot for brunch, lunch or a drink al fresco.
Spend the afternoon...
At buzzing cafe/restaurant/bookstore Brac on Via dei Vagellai. Browse the selection of art and design before settling down for a delicious vegetarian lunch, such as spinach and ricotta pancakes or house ravioli, alongside a fresh berry smoothie. Afterwards, head down the street to the latest outpost vintage store Celeste, featuring relatively inexpensive pieces from the likes of Moschino, Gucci and Escada. Other must-visits include men’s footwear store Sutor Mantellassi, and leather goods and stationery boutique Pineider.
Spend the evening...
Visiting new Japanese bar and restaurant Kawaii in Oltrarno. Described as the Italian reinterpretation of an izakaya, a typical Japanese sake bar, you can enjoy soups tartare and sushi, all washed down with sake. If you're just after a tipple, Kawaii's innovative cocktails that use unexpected ingredients including soy sauce and wasabi with Japanese shochu are sure to heighten the senses for the night ahead. For a more Italian experience, try speakeasy Manifattura Tabacchi back in the city centre. Enjoy prohibition-style drinks and classic Italian snacks, including parmesan waffles and roasted chestnuts, all complemented by the nostalgic 1950s decor and timeless Italian playlist.
FLORENCE CITY GUIDE | FAST FACTS
AEROPORTO GALILEO GALILEI (PSA)
This is the closest international airport for Florence and the main Tuscan hub for low-cost airlines. It's located in Pisa, 50 miles (80km) west of Florence. The Pisa Mover bus service (8 minutes) can take you from the airport to the Pisa train station, with service to Florence every 20-30 minutes with a one-hour trip time for a one-way fare of €8.40. Terravision offers an hourly coach bus service to Florence 8:40am-12:20am, for a one-way fare of €4.99, and a trip time to Santa Maria Novella of about 70 minutes.
AEROPORTO A VESPUCCI/PERETOLA (FLR)
This small airport is located about 6 miles (10km) northwest of Florence and
makes for an ideal alternative if you’re coming from France, the UK, Germany
or Italy. Volainbus bus departs from the airport every 30 minutes starting at
5:30am to central Florence for €6. A taxi to the city centre is a set fare of €20
with 1 per luggage item.*
* Tips are not expected but small amounts are appreciated.
Florence is best explored on foot; however, the city's efficient bus system, ATAF, makes rounds in the centre and also climbs Piazzale Michelangelo and San Miniato for 1.20 per ride. Taxis are also convenient for quick travel and can be found at stands throughout the city, or by calling +39 055 4390 or +39 055 4798.
Travelling to Florence by train is easy and convenient since the
city is on the principle Italian train route between most European
capitals and Rome. Within Italy, Florence is connected with
Rome and Milan by the fast train service Frecciarossa.
Service charges are often included at Florence
restaurants and hotels – if so, tipping is generally not
expected. However, when given, tips are typically less
than other countries.
Bartender/Cocktail waitress: €1 per drink
Porter/Doorman: €1 per bag
Stores are open Monday-Sunday 9am-12pm/1pm and
*An increasing number of shops are open through the afternoon riposo, but others are closed all of Sunday through Monday morning. Please check store websites or call for more specific information. Additionally, many Italians holiday in August, resulting in a lot of smaller/independent shops being closed
Time Zone: Central European: UTC +1/+2
Common Language: Italian