Florence Mini Guide
Florence is so well known and loved and there is so much to see that you can return many times and still not see it all. Tourists flock to his famous city throughout the year to see the city's world class art and brilliant architecture, Florence being the home of Michelangelo and the Medici. See the largest collection of artistic treasures anywhere in Europe by visiting Florence. This fantastic city is so steeped in culture it is likened to an outdoor art museum.
The most iconic landmark in the city is called the Duomo which is open to the public to view. The red tiled Dome dominates the skyline of Florence along with the marble facade of pink, white and green takes you to an almost make believe world.
Building began in 1296 by Arnolfo di Cambio and it is the world's 4th biggest cathedral. It took 150 years to complete so has the influence of several different architects. The oldest part of the cathedral is called the Canon's Door (Porta dei Canonici) which is what you enter to climb up into the dome. There are 463 steps up to the dome which did not have any supporting frame used when it was being constructed. It's found in the Piazza del Duomo and many guide books would have you believe this is the only sqauer worth seeing. Of almost equal note is the Piazza dellla Signoria with the Palazzo Vecchio overlooking it menacingly.
Florence offers a huge choice of cuisine including the local well known dish called bistecca alla fiorentina which is a huge piece of prime steak and of course the classic wine called Chianti.
In the summer, live open air concerts are a frequent event at the Piazza Santa Spirito where many of the residents of Florence frequent during the hot summer evenings.
As it is a tourist city you will find lots of tourist type shops offering traditional souvenirs but there are also quality goods and fine leathers that can be bought along with a wide choice of bookshops.
There are lots of designer clothes shops mainly on the Via de Tornabuoni and the Via della Vigna Nuova, and there are also designer outlet centres which sell the previous year's collections.
- You'll have just missed this year's 'Explosion of the Cart' festival which takes place at Easter each year. A cart is pulled around the city and it explodes in the Piazza del Duomo. This is just one of the many vibrant and unusual celebrations in Florence each year.