by Janis / 0 comments - Orginally published:8th September 2020

So this post is our light-hearted view of Florence

It has some of the interesting stuff, a few trivial facts, and our thoughts on this beautiful Tuscan city.
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The Location

The Three C's

The city of Florence can be found amongst the beautiful Tuscan countryside in central Italy. Surrounded by rolling vineyards and charming farmsteads and is around 174 miles (280km) northwest of Rome.

Firenze was founded by the Romans during 1st-century BC. During its chequered past, it has been a Republic and a seat of the Duchy of Tuscany.

The Medici family a significant Italian household played a prominent role in Florence, particularly through the 15th & 16th centuries. The banking family were also at the political forefront with four heirs becoming Popes.

Florence suffered a devastating flood in November 1966, when the River Arno burst its banks. Many people died, and the city suffered significant cultural losses.

The Historic Centre of Florence was granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 1982.

On the 26th May 1993, there was a terrorist attack by the Italian Mafia, in which 5 people died and caused extensive damage. This included damage to several houses and artworks within the Uffizi Gallery.

Where's Florence in the world?

Florence Up Close

Florence is considered to be the birthplace of the Renaissance. Therefore, with so many magnificent pieces of architecture, museums and piazzas to discover, it makes an excellent location for a mini-break.

Firenze is easily negotiated on foot and so many tempting ice-cream parlours, it’s ideal chance to burn off some of those extra calories too.

National Flag

Italian Flag

Regional Flag

Florence Flag
It’s good to talk
Italian (English is widely spoken)
International Dialling Code
Euro (EUR)
Central European Time (CET)
Difference from UTC
+1 Hour

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Did you know?

  • The ‘Opera’ is believed to have been born in Florence, over 400 years ago during the Renaissance period. This was by a small group of academics named Florentine Camerata.
  • There’s a 1km private walkway called the Vasari Corridor which crosses over the Ponte Vecchio. This was commissioned by the Medici family in 1565. It links the Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi to the Pitti Palace on the other side of the Arno River.
  • Florence Nightingale ‘Lady with the Lamp’ was born in Florence in 1820, and yes, she was named after the city.
  • The First Empire of France once governed Florence from 1808 until 1815.
  • Florence was the capital of Italy from 1865 to 1870.
  • There’s an ‘English Cemetery’ in Florence which is owned by Switzerland. It’s named the English Cemetery as the majority of the burials were for protestants.
  • When you think of Italian fashion, Milan will probably spring to mind; however, Florence can certainly hold its own. With a history of textiles, the stylish locals certainly know how to dress to impress.
  • The number of influential people that were born or resided in the Province of Florence is incredible. Here are just a few Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Niccolò Machiavelli, Dante, Raphael and Galileo.

Food and drink

Bistecca alla fiorentina
One for the carnivores amongst us, this traditional Florentine dish is a T-bone steak, usually around 2 inches thick and served grilled. I did have a steak with a limoncello sauce; however, it wasn’t quite the size Desperate Dan would order.
When it comes to wine, I think it would be hard to go wrong with Tuscan wine. Nonetheless, a delicious Chianti wouldn’t go a miss.
Ohh yes one of my favourite subjects ‘ice cream’. Come rain or shine I will also search out an ice-cream parlour. Boy, the Florentines’ know how to produce it.

I adore this dessert. The dish is dome-shaped, a bowl is lined with thinly sliced cake, filled with sweetened ricotta cheese, nuts and candied fruit and then chilled.

I didn’t realise that it was traditionally Florentine; otherwise, I would have been on a mission to find it. Hey ho, one for next time.

If you're lured by beautiful Renaissance architecture and the incredible Ponte Vecchio, I urge you to visit Florence. I found this DK Top 10 Pocket Travel Guide invaluable, they're extremely informative, easy to follow, and the pictures and maps tempt you into a voyage of discovering.

We used a previous version of this book to plan our mini-break to Florence, now you can grab the revised copy.

What to see & do in Florence

Ponte Vecchio
Nothing shouts Florence to me like Ponte Vecchio, it is so synonymous yet so mesmerising. Goldsmiths and jewellers still line the bridge behind dark wooden shutters.
Piazza della Repubblica
This a wonderful square to visit day or night, with its surrounding colonnade, Triumphal Arch and the column of Abundance.
Florence Cathedral
The stunning Duomo just draws you in. The Gothic and Renaissance façade is beautiful, different shades of pink, green and white marble. It’s free of charge to visit too.
Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens
Stroll south of the River Arno to visit Pitti Palace. The gardens themselves are like strolling around a museum, with so many statues and sculptures.
Uffizi Gallery
Don’t be like me and run out of time, book your ticket in advance.
House of Medici
This prominent family were influential in Italy and not just Florence. Take a stroll to appreciate the inspirations from the Medici dynasty.

In the movies

The sequel to Thomas Harris’s, The Silence of the Lambs. Anthony Hopkins plays a truly shocking serial killer and cannibal in Ridley Scott’s 2001 movie. It is quite disturbing at times; however, it’s fantastic.
The Dark Knight Rises
The 2012 Batman film from Christopher Nolan, has a star-studded cast. Christian Bale and Anne Hathaway fight to save Gotham City from the clutches of Tom Hardy.
A Room with a View
A little more light-hearted is this delightful romantic drama from James Ivory. Any film with Dame Maggie Smith and Helena Bonham Carter is a hit for me. Then with the charm of Florence, it’s win, win.
Tea with Mussolini
Yes, a movie by the local boy, Franco Zeffirelli. Another heart-warming film set in Italy, a group of ladies raise an Italian orphan boy. Once again it stars Maggie Smith and Judi Dench.
Other Movies
There are many more movies filmed in and around Florence, and a couple are; Inferno, the 2016 Ron Howard film and Under the Tuscan Sun, the 2003 Audrey Wells picture.
Assassin’s Creed II
One for video gamers, sees Assassins and Knights Templars fight against each other, leaping with dexterity across the ancient rooftops of Firenze.

Where we stayed in Florence

Hotel degli Orafi
We stayed in the beautiful Hotel degli Orafi, next to the River Arno, with stunning views of the Vasari Corridor and the Ponte Vecchio.


or What are the chances of us revisiting?
(0% - You'll have to drag us over hot coals to go back 100% - Why am I not there now?)


Florence was a magnificent city; there are so many beautiful churches, piazzas and museums to visit. There’s still more for us to discover.

Value for Money

Our value for money index.
Don't forget we're Londoners, and that means our baseline is quite high.

(0% - How much? I wanted to buy a drink, not the bar 100% - How much? I'll take two.)


In an Italian city like Florence, which prospers on tourism, it may often feel overpriced. Nonetheless, there are always places where locals eat and drink to search out.

Also, I find with dishes like pasta and pizza, these are usually reasonably priced.

Getting around town

What's it like discovering the city?
Is it walkable? do you need to use public transport? did we leave with weary feet?

(0% - It's mountainous and public transport's a joke 100% - I'm in paradise.)


In the heart of the old city, it is very easily walkable, which is how we navigated Florence.

We also visited Pisa for a day and caught a train there. This was reasonably straightforward and cheap. We were also prior informed to ensure you stamped your ticket when you got on the train.

As you can be fined.

Janis's Hi's & Lo's


I love searching out Italian piazzas large and small, they are so enchanting, and Ponte Vecchio is incredible, I never got tired of visiting there.


It has to be that we ran out of time to visit the Uffizi Gallery. When the weather is fine, we tend to discover more of a location on foot. So, then occasionally, a place of interest may get dropped.

Gary's Hi's & Lo's


It has to be the architecture; there's plenty of different styles throughout the city. Then the food, we had some great experiences during our time in the city.


The weather - I know we went in mid-March, so we were asking for trouble but we could have done with a little more sun.

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