Hi, I am Foy Renfro, owner of Journey To and Fro Travel in Atlanta and professional travel adviser. After graduating from Clemson in parks, recreation and tourism management in 1992, I have had the opportunity to visit several countries over the years, enjoying the wonderlust of travel!
Florence, Italy, is one of my favorite cities to visit, and I have been fortunate to find myself there a few times for both work and play. Located in Tuscany, Florence has the largest population in the region. Let me show you around:
Duomo di Firenze
Il Duomo di Firenze (Florence Cathedral), the Baptistery and Giotto’s Campanile (bell tower) are in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Florence’s historic district. Work on the cathedral began in 1296 and was completed when the iconic dome, designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, was finished in 1436.
Purchase a 72-hour Duomo ticket that includes entry to the museum, the Baptistery and Giotto’s Campanile.
Ponte Vecchio and The Accademia
The Ponte Vecchio or “Old Bridge” is a medieval bridge that spans the Arno River — Florence’s only bridge to survive WWII. Located in the historic district, it connects the Pitti Palace to the Ufizzi Museum via a private corridor. Since 1593, the pedestrian bridge’s shops have only been occupied by jewelers, goldsmiths and silversmiths. The Accademia is also located nearby, which is home to Michealangelo’s David.
If you want to get a bird’s-eye view of Florence, make your way to Piazzale Michelangelo for a spectacular panorama of the city. It’s even better at sunset.
The Mercato Centrale
This expansive food hall, located behind the Basilica of St. Lorenzo, features many different culinary artisans of Tuscany. There is no need for reservations unless you want to eat in the restaurant, Tosca, or enroll in a cooking lesson. The stands offer pizza, pasta, fried fish, buffalo mozzarella and more — all fresh.
Taste the city’s signature Florentine Beefsteak or, if you have a sweet tooth, save room for gelato from Gelateria La Carraia or a sweet treat from Migone Confetti Firenze.
Santa Maria Novella Apothecary
Visit the Santa Maria Novella Apothecary on via della Scala, which operates in the historic area of the monastery built in 1221 by Dominican Friars, who created luxuriant perfumes, soaps, elixirs and more. Recipes are still used that date back to hundreds of years.
Florence is easily accessible by train, which makes it a good place to stay and take day trips from as well. Many, for example, visit nearby Chianti for lunch and wine tastings. The Castello di Verrazzano and Antinori nel Chianti Classico wineries are great for experiencing contrasting architecture styles.
Interested in sharing the best eats and secret spots of your own city with fellow Tigers? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.