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Is Florence, Italy Worth Visiting On Your Next Vacation?

Is Florence, Italy worth visiting, considering it is a city with the world’s best museums, amazing food and wine, beautiful churches and amazing city views?

Is Florence Italy worth visiting - Those Poor Sabines

Those Poor Sabines

Home to the House of the Medici, it is considered by many to have been the birthplace of the Renaissance and became a major artistic, cultural, commercial, political, economic and financial center. It is the biggest city in Tuscany and the dialect in Florence became the basis for standard Italian due to the influence of Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Machiavelli and others.

In addition to the beauty of the city itself, it is also a jumping off point for other attractions that are close by, like Pisa, Siena, San Gimignano and Lucca. An alternative would be to stay in the Tuscan countryside and make trips into these cities, but I prefer to stay in Firenze.

Florence Pop Culture References

I am surprised there aren’t many movies shot in Florence when you consider how visually appealing it is. Some movies you might want to check out are :

  • Inferno – Coincidentally, we were in Florence while they were shooting this movie based on the third book in the series by Dan Brown, so I feel a special attachment to this.

  • The Best of Youth (La Meglio Gioventù) –  Among other places in Italy, it includes scenes in Florence set during the big flood of the Arno river in 1966.

  • Hannibal – I preferred The Silence of The Lambs but if you want to see Florence, check out this one.

Is Traveling To Florence Easy?

Is Florence Italy worth visiting - Rub the Shiny Part for Luck

Rub the Shiny Part for Luck

Traveling From Rome To Florence By Train

To reach the Santa Maria Novella Station in Florence by train, you have a few options:

  • You can book with Trenitalia, the national rail network of Italy. The fastest and most expensive train option is on the Frecciarossa, which should take you around 1.5 hours with prices starting at 29.90€ each way when booking on their site.

  • The Intercity train takes a little longer at more than 3 hours and costs from 12.90€ to 19.90€ each way. 

  • The Regionale train, which varies but can take from 3hr 45min and costs from 21.75€ to 14.80€ depending on the number of stops.

  • You can book with .Italo, Italy’s private rail network. It looks like all the options here are equivalent to the Frecciarossa described above and around the same price, depending on if it’s peak time (i.e. during rush hour). The train is also around 1.5 hours and the price starts at 27.90€ and goes up from there.

Traveling To Florence By Plane

At present, there do not seem to be any non-stop flights from the US to Florence. The Aeroporto Amerigo Vespucci (FLR) is relatively small and you will need a connection from a larger hub, like Vienna, Schiphol or Paris. The major carriers seem to dominate as I don’t see many budget airlines making the connection to Florence.

Is Florence Nicer Than Rome?

Florence is definitely different from Rome. It is smaller and cleaner, but with more college students. The overall risk in Florence is low. Like any other tourist-heavy city, crowded areas like around the Duomo and around the Santa Maria Novella train station might have pickpockets and petty criminals, but nothing unusual. Just like when you are in Rome, be a smart traveler and do not take too much money with you when you are out and use a hotel safe for valuables.

What Are The Sites In Florence Worth Visiting?

The things to do in Florence are both centrally located and a little more remote:

Is Florence Italy worth visiting - David

Donatello’s Davide at the Bargello Museum

  • The Duomo & Brunelleschi’s Dome: The Cathedral is a must-see attraction and it would be very difficult to miss. It is in the center of Florence and is visible from around the city. Climbing the dome also provides a fantastic view of the city.

  • The Gates Of Paradise (Bronze Doors): The famous Baptistry Doors of Florence attached to the Baptistry of St. John was built by Lorenzo Ghiberti.

  • The Ponte Vecchio: This medieval bridge at one point was filled with butchers and farmers, but was upscaled and now is filled with jewelers.

  • The Uffizi Gallery: It occupies a large building built between 1560 and 1580 and designed by Giorgio Vasari. It is the most famous museum in Florence for its collections of ancient sculptures and paintings from the Middle Ages to the Modern period.

  • The Accademia Gallery (Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze): There is one reason to go here: Michelangelo’s Statue of David. There are some other statues but really, David is the main draw.

  • Piazza della Signoria: The square has a distinctive medieval aspect that surrounds you with stunning buildings that envelop you! Also, there is a marker in the ground that indicates where Savanarola was burned at the stake.

  • Palazzo Vecchio: The stunning medieval palace that was once the center of Florentine life.

Are There Other Things To Do In Florence?

  • Sunset In Piazzale Michelangelo: If you have ever seen those incredible shots of Florence and the Duomo and wonder where it came from, the answer is Piazzale Michelangelo. You can enjoy the view during the day or at night, but sunsets are the best.

  • Bargello Museum: It is one of the oldest buildings in Florence that dates back to 1255 and displays some works by Donatello (1386-1466) including my favorites David and Mercury.

  • Boboli Gardens: Behind Pitti Palace, the gardens established by the Medici family would become a model for many European courts.

  • Calcio Storico: This is a cross between a soccer (calcio) game and a fight and takes place in Piazza Santa Croce in June.

What Is The Best Food In Florence?

Florentine and Tuscan food in general is world renowned so as long as you avoid the tourist spots, you can’t go wrong. Some suggestions we have are below, but if you want to learn more, check out: Some Hidden Gem Restaurants In Florence.

Is Florence Italy worth visiting - Lampredotto at Mercato Centrale

Lampredotto at Mercato Centrale

  • For a wide range of delicious Tuscan specialties, try: Ristorante del Fagioli at Corso dei Tintori, 47-r

  • If you are looking for the best Bistecca Fiorentina, check out I Brindellone at Piazza Piattellina, 10/11r

  • If you want to try the specialty Lampredotto, my favorite place is any street cart

  • Upstairs at Mercato Centrale you can buy prepared foods and on the lower floor you can buy uncooked groceries for preparation at home.

So, Is Florence, Italy Worth Visiting?

Florence, Italy is definitely worth visiting because there is a lot to explore and it is an excellent place to act as a home base for exploration outside the city. Enjoy the mornings and sunsets in Florence and take trips to places  like Pisa, Siena, San Gimignano and Lucca.

If you want to read more about great weekend getaways from Rome, check out some of these articles:

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