Florence

Florence Travel Guide

Inspiration comes easily in Florence. A stroll along a cobbled street yields tiny cafes serving delectable pastries. Architecture and artwork that have withstood the test of time are practically around every corner.

If only one stop were on your itinerary it would have to be Galleria delgi Uffizi, one of the top things to do in Florence, but also in all of Italy. As one of the world's leading art museums, the Uffizi displays paintings and sculptures by Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Michelangelo, and more.

The city is filled with cathedrals, but the true icon is Il Duomo, which is still regarded by modern architects as a masterpiece. You can climb 463 steps to the top and take in the view, which will likely stay with you for years to come.

Shopaholics are also well served here: Stroll chic Via de'Tornabuoni for big homegrown brands such as Prada, Louis Vuitton, Emilio Pucci, Ferragamo, and more; join in the fray at the San Lorenzo street market; or check out antiques along Via Maggio. Note that most shops are closed on Sundays.

Created in 2006, the FPS has hosted a clutch of exhibitions that have earned international praise; 2010’s Bronzino retrospective—the most comprehensive to date of the Mannerist painter’s work—garnered unprecedented attendance and requests from major American and European museums to host it.

The museum houses an impressive collection of African and Asian art.

Amateurs can sign up for the July session (from $2,541); serious students have to enroll for at least a year ($10,692) and must submit artwork to be considered for one of 12 spots.

Housed in the 17th-century Villa Bardini, this fashion museum showcases the innovative designs of world-renowned dressmaker Robert Capucci.

Since its reopening in 2005 following 50 years of neglect, the 10-acre Gardens of the Villa Bardini in the Oltrarno have become a favorite with Florentines seeking a moment’s repose in the heart of the city.

Named one of the top European culinary vacations by the United Kingdom’s Observer newspaper, Casa Ombuto's cooking courses are held in two Tuscan properties near the village of Poppi: Casa Ombuto and Torre del Tartufo.

Ring the bell to gain access to the garden of this fabric workshop owned by the Pucci dynasty and opened in 1786.

In the center of the city, creative types flock to this pocket-size bar for its fresh-fruit cocktails. Inside, the red leather booths and pool tables are packed, an art show is always up, and hipster sightings are probable: Look for members of hometown band the Killers.

Brancolini Grimaldi Arte Contemporanea, with locations in Rome and Florence, presents a program dedicated exclusively to contemporary photography and video.

A flower shop on a side street in San Niccolo (the artisan's quarter of the Oltrarno), La Rosa Canina ("the dog rose") is run by a brother-sister team who bring a background in advertising and art history to the business.

East meets West in the person of Kurdish-European doctor Zelal Elbistan at his chic city spa. Drop by after a hard day’s sightseeing for a Turkish bath and a soak in the turquoise pool.

Scrambling up between the layers of the cathedral’s noble, white-ribbed orange dome for the requisite city panorama, you get to glimpse up close some of the innovative engineering techniques that genius architect Brunelleschi used to create what was, in 1436, the largest dome in

Recent renovations at this sprawling Renaissance-Mannerist palazzo have opened up archives, grottoes, and sights that had been closed years.

The chapel contains The Expulsion of Adam and Eve, Masaccio's early Renaissance masterpiece.

This lively, sprawling street market is an obligatory stop for anyone in search of cheap and cheerful fashion accessories and gifts.