Florence is a city packed full of the most amazing architecture, art, points of interest, history and truly delicious Italian food. It's one of those places that never fails to impress, no matter how many times you go back and what you do while you're there. It's surprisingly small, but rather than meaning there's not much to see, it actually means there's so much packed in and it's really easy to explore on foot. Fly into the city from the UK in just over two hours and get exploring straightaway.
Probably the most famous Florence sight is the neo-Gothic Duomo. The city's cathedral dominates the aptly named Piazza del Duomo, which can be approached on foot from multiple streets and narrow alleyways. Admission to the main body of the cathedral is free and there's a small fee if you want to climb the dome (highly recommended) and visit each different part of the building, including the campanile (bell tower), crypt and museum. Read up on the building's history before you go so you don't miss out on interesting details such as the Porta dei Cononici – or Canon's Door – created in the 14th century. And did you know, for example, that the dome itself is constructed from more than four million bricks?
Stroll from the Duomo to the Ponte Vecchio (literally ‘old bridge') and marvel at the wonder of the shops built on the bridge itself. As well as being a feat of engineering, it's not something you'll see every day. The shops themselves are full of gold and silver jewellery, as well as other sparkling trinkets, so it's not necessarily the best place to pick up souvenirs, but it's a special place to visit nonetheless. On the other side is the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence's town hall. Far from being a standard municipal building, the Palazzo is a grand building with a 311-foot bell tower and castellations that give it the air of an ancient fortress.
For art lovers, the Uffizi Gallery is incredibly special, with a vast room entirely dedicated to Renaissance artist Botticelli. If you're looking for Michelangelo's statue of David – arguably one of the world's most recognisable pieces of art – it's not too far away in the Accademia Gallery.
Italy is probably best known for two things – its incredibly fresh food and its innate sense of style. Both are on show in Florence, with an overwhelming number of pizza and pasta restaurants, gelaterias and high-end boutiques. Rent a Segway for a few hours and zoom around the streets taking notes of menus and window displays. Then head back in the evening with your must-do list in hand. Grab a mouthwatering steak at Trattoria Mario, try true Tuscan cuisine at L'Osteria di Giovanni or go upmarket at Obika. For shoppers, don't miss San Lorenzo Market with its hundreds of stalls selling high-quality, handmade leather goods and much more.
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|Food and beverages||Prices average|
|Beer (0.5 liter)||£1.00|
|Meal at McDonald's||£6.00|
|Water (0.33 liter)||£1.00|
|Taxi starting price (normal tariff)||£4.00|
|1 summer dress in a chain store (Zara, H&M,...)||£51.00|
|1 pair of jeans (Levi's 501 or similar)||£86.00|
|Average monthly disposable salary (net)||£1,068.00|