Florence trip planner

A view of Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo. (Photo by Shane Lin)

A guide to help you plan the perfect vacation in Florence, Italy, hometown of the Renaissance

Why Florence?

So you say you want some Renaissance, eh? Well how about Michelangelo's David for starters?

Then we can move on to Giotto's frescoes in Santa Croce, or maybe Brunelleschi's massive, ingenious dome over the Duomo (cathedral).

And let's not forget the Uffizi Galleries, the world's mightiest congregation of Renaissance paintings, with highlights like Botticelli's Birth of Venus and Leonardo da Vinci's Annunciation.

Birthplace of the Renaissance

Botticelli's Birth of Venus in the Uffizi Galleries
Botticelli's Birth of Venus in the Uffizi.

Florence was the cradle of the Renaissance. From the late 14th through late 16th centuries in Florence, an era of humanist thought, classical ideals initiated a creative boom that resounded throughout Europe, rang the death knell of the Middle Ages, and would eventually come to be called the Renaissance, a "rebirth" of culture, thought, art, and music.

It helped that the 15th century saw the ascendancy of a powerful ruling family called the Medici, who—in addition to being great savvy and even better politicians—also happened to be great lovers of art and patrons of literature, philosophy, and science.

Florence beyond the museums

Brunelleschi's dome on the Cathedral
Brunelleschi's dome on the Cathedral.

However, Florence doesn't force you to stick to the Renaissance 24 hours a day—though it might sometimes fell that way as you make your way from one world-class art museum to the next, filling in the gaps with countless fresco-bedecked churches.

Florence is still Italy, and therefore a master at living la dolce vita. When you're art-sick and museum-weary, treat yourself to a Tuscan feast with copious quantities of Chianti wine from the hills around Florence. Or delve into the medieval heart of the city that gave birth to Dante and Boccaccio, two of Europe's great early poets.

Shop 'til you drop on high fashion and fine leather in the city that brought the world Gucci, Pucci, Ferragamo, and Beltrami. Pisa and its Leaning Tower and Tuscan hill towns like Siena and San Gimignano all lie within easy day trip distance. Or just relax in the Boboli Gardens and let the green hills and lazy sunshine inspire you to write your own poetry or paint your own Renaissance. » more

Spend at least two days in Florence, three if you can swing it, a lifetime if you can.

Florence quick guide

Tips & links

Useful links & resources
How long does Florence take?

Planning your day: Florence would well be worth a week, but you can still fit a lot into just a day or three.

To help you get the most out of your limited time in the Cradle of the Renaissance, here are some perfect itineraries, whether you have one, two, or three days to spend in Florence.

» Florence itineraries

Florence tours

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Useful links

Florence tourist information
Via Cavour 1R
tel. +39-055-290-832

  • Florence rail station
  • Firenze Santa Maria Novella: Grandistazioni.it, Piazza S. Maria Novella (in the NW corner of the center)
  • Bus to center: C2 (but it's just a few blocks; you can walk)
  • Bus to Oltrarno: 11, D
  • Car resources
  • Emergency service/tow: tel. 803-116
  • Highway agency: Autostrade.it (traffic info, serivce areas, toll calculator, weather)
  • Italian automotive club (~AAA): Aci.it
  • ZTLs: Ztl-italia.blogspot.com (lightly outdated, but handy, links to cities' traffic-free zones)
  • Transport Florence—Livorno cruise terminal
  • Viator.com (private car: 90 min, €40–€260)
  • Trenitalia.com (train: 68–100 min, €9.10) + Livorno port-station transfer (€1 bus; €20–€30 taxi)

Train tix

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