5 things you need to know about Florence

Florence is an old Italian city in the Region of Tuscany and the capital of the Province of Florence. With a population of 370,000 in the city proper and about 1.5 million people in the city's Metropolitan area, it is the largest city in Tuscany. Florence has a rich history that goes as far as the Medieval Europe during which it was a rich trading and finance center. The city is considered the birthplace of the 'Renaissance' and has invariably been called the 'Athens of Middle Ages'. Its history also features the turbulent rule by the Medici family as well as being the capital of Italy in the newly created Kingdom of Italy from 1865 to 1871. Check out the list below to know more about this old grand city.

1. Tourist Attractions

Like all Italian cities, Florence has its fair share of monuments. Below are a couple of them.

i. Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio
ii. Il Duomo - Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
iii. Baptistery of John the Baptist
iv. Campanile - Bell Tower
v. The Ponte Vecchio (old bridge), built in 1345
vi. Galleria dell' Academia
vii. Boboli Garden and Pitti Palace

2. Shopping

For some real authentic Florentine shopping, there are only two places. They include San Lorenzo’s Market and Sant’Ambrogio. Whether you are looking for fresh produce from the Florentine farms or you are just window shopping, you will always have something to buy in these two markets.

3. Culinary Exploits

There are hundreds of dishes that you can eat in Florence...the most famous include Pizza, spaghetti and lasagna. However, the most Florentine dish should be 'Panino con Lampredotto' translated as abomasum sandwich...the name is strange alright...but the taste is out of this world.

4. Leisurely Walk

The Florentine sunsets are legendary. If you want to capture the sun just as it sinks down the Arno River, the best place to do this will be the Ponte Vecchio. The reflective rays over the Florence skyline and into the Arno River make your photograph look like it has been enhanced with Photoshop - and yet, it is real.

5. Florence's Magic Spot

Many claim that the magic spot in Florence is the Piazzale Michelangelo while others say is Ponte Vecchio, but if I had a say in this matter, I would say Santo Spirito is the magic spot. It is more localized and you much more likely to interact with the Florentine culture than in all the other tourists spots. It has coffee shops, wine bars, cheap restaurants, markets etc. It is one of the few places in Florence that you can hear interesting stories about Florence that are unavailable in tourist websites.

If you are not going to visit Florence during you Italian tour, then cancel the whole tour. Italy can never be Italy without Florence.

by Kennedy Runo on 01/31/2014 in Sightseeing