Florence: Suggested Itinerary

City of Stone

 Florence is one of Italy's true capitals of culture. The world's first opera was performed in Florence, the world's most famous statue can be found and some of the world's best-known museums are spread around the city.

Day 1: Housing some of Italy’s most prized possessions, the Uffizi Gallery should be high on the list of any tourist’s potential adventures. This, as you can imagine, often gets very crowded, so be sure to book your ticket online beforehand.

Head to Piazza della Signoria, one of Florence’s bustling squares. You can pick up a traditional Florence dish for lunch from the many stalls in Piazza Cimatori. This also sets you up nicely for a stroll along the River Arno, a magical piece of the Italian landscape where you can safely stare at the otters and rowers as you go. You will also be able to see the Ponte Vecchio, one of the city’s best-known bridges across the river. And for the evening’s entertainment, head to the Santa Croce district – known both locally and internationally as the epicentre of Florence’s vibrant nightlife.

Day 2: No visit to Florence would be complete without visiting the Baptistry. Known for its beautiful mosaics, frescoes and the massive bronze doors outside it – known as the Gates of Paradise. Opposite the Baptistry is the Duomo, where you can trace the footsteps of Brunelleschi’s by climbing the ingenious and noble dome for a panorama.

If you want to catch Michelangelo’s David at the Accademia, again remember to book ahead and you won’t have to spend the whole day in a queue. Many of the city’s magnificent churches are free to visit and the Santa Maria Novella is a great place to go. Here you can experience the splendor of the first Renaissance painting to use perfect perspective and a Ghirlandaio fresco cycle on which the great artist contributed to in his days as an apprentice.

Remember the city, like many of its European counterparts, shuts down early for the mid-day riposo. But by now you should have packed in enough to take in the evening, where you should find plenty of places ready to serve you up a Tuscan feast.

Day 3: Start bright and early today with an excursion to Fiesole, one of the nearest places to the city that still boasts an impressive set of Roman ruins, as well as packing in many other cool pleasures. Make sure you get back into Florence for lunch and head to Vivoli for the best gelato (ice cream) that is world-renowned. Head back to the centre of town to cross the jewelry shop-lined medieval bridge Ponte Vecchio and over to the artisans’ quarter known as the Oltrarno. Here you will find the splendid Pitti Palace, with its spectacular art galleries. Should you tire of the finest world art, you can head outside to the Boboli Gardens until it’s time for dinner. This particular area of town is swarming with fine institutions ready to create that perfect Mediterranean meal.

Day 4: Like most of us, the final day is one to relive the things we enjoyed most and also pick up some of those all-important last-minute gifts that we never quite got round to getting. If you fall in the latter category, there is a leather market and also a main shopping strip known as Via de’ Tornabuoni, so this would be a good place to visit, should you need some last-minute inspiration.