The Best European Cities for Café Culture
By Jack Stacey
26 April 2019
There is, I suspect, an image that appears in everyone’s heads, when someone says the words 'European café'.Read more
Few visitors can fail to be moved by Florence's outstanding beauty; it's impossible to turn a corner here without being confronted by some spectacular building or landmark. Tuscany's most populous city, Italy's short-lived former capital and the birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence nestles in a valley surrounded by hills and is neatly in to north and south by the River Arno.
Florence presents its guests wonderful dilemma: what to do first? The city is so enriched with cultural, artistic and architectural treasures that it could conceivably take a lifetime to experience and admire them all. Once seen, however, sights such as the Ponte Vecchio('Old Bridge') which spans the Arno, the magnificent Gothic Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore with its skyline-dominating dome, and the panoramic city views attained by climbing the 414 steps of Giotto's Campanile (bell tower) will never be forgotten.
Such is the importance and beauty of Florence's medieval heart, which encompasses an illustrious six-hundred-year history of artistic and architectural brilliance created by the likes of Giotto, Michelangelo, Donatello and Brunelleschi, that it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992.
From visiting any of the city's eighty-plus museums to admiring its breath-taking architecture and exquisite artworks, and from strolling in beautiful Boboli Gardens to witnessing a Tuscany sunset from the Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence presents an endless succession of truly pleasurable and unforgettable experiences.
In a city blessed with so many outstanding highlights, here is a selection of those which the majority of Florence's visitors deem genuinely unmissable:
Although this art museum contains many notable artworks from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries it is the presence of Michelangelo's original marble statue of the biblical hero, David, that truly justifies a visit.
The largest Franciscan church in the world, the beautiful Basilica di Santa Croce was consecrated in the fifteenth century and is notable both for its superb artworks and for housing funerary monuments to Italian luminaries including Dante, Galileo, Rossini, Michelangelo and Machiavelli.
This world-famous art museum contains many original Renaissance masterpieces by artists including Botticelli, Giotto, Titian, Caravaggio, Michelangelo, da Vinci and Raffaello,
The public square in front of Florence's spectacular cathedral is surrounded by unforgettable architecture and is the perfect place to relax with an Italian coffee and become immersed in the beauty of the location as the bustling world passes by.
This thirteenth-century Romanesque building resembles a fortress and although once a Ducal palace is now a museum. Extensively restored the palace features elaborately detailed-painted ceilings, many fine sculptures and a tower which may be climbed for further superb views of the city.