There’s one overwhelming reason travelers flock to this tiny Italian city (pop. 365,000) 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. A hub of Italian fashion since the 1950s, Florence is the birthplace of global brands like Gucci, Pucci, and Roberto Cavalli, and the city’s most influential fashion clan—the Ferragamo—has turned its renowned sense of style to four hip hotels across town, breathing new life into the previously staid lodgings scene. Add to that succulent Florentine steaks, 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 birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, is a city filled with towering cathedrals and exquisite art (think Botticelli, Michelangelo, da Vinci, and more). From here, you have access to the Tuscan countryside where you can wash down delicious seasonal fare with standout Chianti wineries. Visit Florence to partake in the Duomo-capped city's many cultural and gastronomical pleasures using Travel + Leisure's Florence travel guide.
Things Not to Miss in Florence
Art is paramount here—little surprise given the city's history as the origin of the Italian Renaissance. There are art-filled churches (Santa Maria Novella), iconic sculptural masterpieces (Michelangelo's David at the Accademia), and fantastic museums (Palazzo Medici-Riccardi). Some venues, such as Valleria delgi Uffizi, draw lines so it's best to book ahead. Travel to Florence for these highlights:
• Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchico
• Valleria delgi Uffizi
• Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
• Ponte Vecchio
When to Go to Florence
With its humid subtropical climate, Florence is a great place to visit at any time of the year. The city's pleasant conditions make Florence travel comfortable in the winter and especially lovely—and romantic—during the summer.
A private tour of an otherwise off-limits wing of the Uffizi containing the Contini Bonacossi collection of Renaissance masterworks.
Shopping the leather stalls of the San Lorenzo market or the fashion boutiques around Via Tornabuoni, especially the luxurious linens of Loretta Caponi and the monk-made cosmetics and liqueurs of the Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella—both in frescoed palazzi.
Visiting the Teatro del Sale for an evening of authentic Italian food and entertainment—jazz singers, theater performances, and stand-up comedians—masterminded by eccentric restaurateur Fabio Picchi.