In this blog, we follow our travel expert Mandy (below) on her travels in Italy, where she picked out some of her favourite locations and experiences in Florence to inspire us all.
Florence is home to many iconic works of Renaissance art, but none more iconic than Michelangelo’s David. Get to the Galleria dell’Accademia early to avoid the hordes so you can gawp at him in peace.
Pizza, pasta, gelato, Moretti beer, Campari cocktails... Florence does Italian classics well. Try delicious beef carpaccio or calamari at the L’Incontro restaurant at the Hotel Savoy (below), which you can enjoy on the sun-kissed terrace overlooking one of Florence’s beautiful piazzas. Or try the gelato at Gelateria dei Neri - if you can choose which flavour to have. And don’t worry about your waistline- you’re on holiday.
Florence has a number of hotels that let you live like a Medici lord, from villas perched on hilltops around the city, to hotels that are right in the centre but still feel a world away. Stay at JK Place Firenze, a peaceful, luxurious haven with glorious views over the city’s red rooftops, and a stone’s throw from David and his determined disciples, or there’s the beautiful Villa San Michele (below), a 15-minute drive from Florence, which has a 15th-century facade attributed to Michelangelo himself.
One of the delights of a city like Florence, which is like a living work of art, is simply walking around the streets and piazzas, dropping into ornate churches, meandering around the markets... the list is endless. Go at your own pace, or take a walking tour with an expert guide.
Florence is a shopping mecca, with luxury boutiques offering everything from the latest Italian fashions to bespoke jewellery. Florence is proud of its artistic heritage and today’s artisans continue a rich tradition. For a special gift, head to Ponte Vecchio and visit the shops that have inhabited this bridge for centuries. Around the bridge, the Oltrarno is the artisan quarter of Florence, where you can find workshops and watch the experts at work creating violins or books, and Borgo San Jacopo is a good spot for boutiques. After all that shopping, choose a piazza and relax with a bellini and some tasty tapas.
Find out more about Italy and Florence here.