There’s one overwhelming reason travelers flock to this tiny Italian city amid Tuscany’s rolling green hills: Florence has more than one million works of Renaissance art—among them Michelangelo’s David and Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. It’s also the birthplace of global fashion brands like Gucci, Pucci, and Roberto Cavalli, and the city’s most influential fashion clan—the Ferragamos—have turned their renowned sense of style to four hip hotels across town, breathing new life into the previously staid lodging scene. Add to that succulent Florentine steak, some of the world’s greatest wines, the traditional artisan workshops of the Oltrarno, and Brunelleschi’s famous masterpiece dome, and it’s not so hard to see how Firenze remains as popular as top European cities five times its size.
Florence, the center of the Italian Renaissance, is a city filled with towering cathedrals and exquisite art. From here, you have access to the Tuscan countryside, where you can pair delicious seasonal fare with standout Chianti wines. Partake in the Duomo-capped city's many restaurants, shops, bars, and things to do using our Florence travel guide.
July and August can be unbearably hot and humid in Florence so are best avoided. In August, when sensible Florentines flee the city, many restaurants and bars and some shops close for a period. In spring and fall (April/June and September/October), the weather is usually pleasantly warm, but the city is heaving with tourists. If you want to avoid the crowds, pack warm clothes, an umbrella, and a pair of sunglasses and visit between late November and late February.
The Centro Storico (historic center) of Florence is small and very walkable, especially since large areas have been pedestrianized. The efficient bus network, run by ATAF, includes a fleet of Lilliputian electric buses (routes A, B, C, and D) designed to navigate the narrow streets of the city center. Single tickets for all routes cost €1.20 and are valid for 90 minutes; a 24-hour pass costs €5. Taxis can’t be hailed on the street but are available at designated stands or by phone (39-055-4242 or 39-055-4798).