High fashion, delicious Italian cuisine, famous art, and stunning architecture around every corner. If you are craving an excuse to indulge in the art and magic of Italy, Florence is the place to go. Between the one-of-a-kind Renaissance art, the delicious restaurants, the inviting layout of the streets, and the rich culture, this magical city quickly jumped to the top of my list of favorite places. There are countless reasons to love Florence, here are the 5 that made my list.
- The City’s Landscape
Florence is the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region, an ancient city founded around 59BC, covering only about 40 square miles of Italian territory. Yet despite it’s relatively small size, the layout of the city is beautiful, easy to navigate, and ideal for exploring the city on foot. I wouldn’t recommend renting a car or driver when in Florence, walking in Florence is the destination. The Ponte Vecchio is the sprawling main river that runs through the city’s heart center. Florence has no shortage of Piazza’s to wander to, including the Piazza della Signotia, Palazza Vecchio and Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Not only it the city’s layout easy to navigate and visit all in a day, but it’s easy on the eyes. Florence has such an aesthetically pleasing design that the architecture, statues, and streets themselves are a work of art. Florence is top ranked for being among the most beautiful cities in the world by many, including Conde Nast Traveller and Forbes.
- The Cuisine
Fresh Pasta, bold regional wine, decadent gelato, unique and exclusive Italian dishes… I could have spend my entire week in Florence doing nothing more than indulging in the cuisine and would have been in heaven. My favorite restaurants in all of Italy were in Florence. La Ménagere and Zaza’s Trattoria were among those I raved about. I also learned a fun fact about the bread there, and the ingenuity of the Florentine culture. If you are craving some Italian bread, in Florence you will be met with a surprise, the bread is not salted. During the Medieval Period, salt was restricted to Florence, and they had to compromise, learning to make the bread delicious and satisfying without the use of salt. Tradition stuck and the bread in Florence is now like none other in all of Italy.
- The Fashion
Florence is considered the World’s Fifth Fashion Capital. Fashion Week, Fashion & Technology Summit, and the vogue shops lining the streets are all just a few ways that Florence is carving its way into the top spots for fashion amongst Paris, Milan, New York, London. Whether you are interested in fashion to be a part of the show or are just interested in basking in the glamor of it all, Florence’s fabulous fashion sense will make you fall in love with this city even more. Visiting Florence is a perfect way to take some timeless pieces home with you, and without breaking the bank. Florence’s one of a kind leather market’s sell authentic Italian made leather bags that are lined along the streets. Don’t be afraid to barter down your price, you can get away with some beautiful leather goods for less than you may think.
- The Art
Florence is home to some of the most popularly visited and coveted museums and works of art in all the world. Home to the infamous “David” statue by Michelangelo, The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli, the Gates of Paradise by Lorenzo Ghiberti, and much, much more. Florence is home to many classic and original works from the Renaissance, and there are no comparable substitutes for viewing such art and history firsthand. If you make your way to Florence, I urge you to check out the museums, it will give you a deeper appreciation for Florence, all of Italy, and really, all of humankind. Even if you are simply walking around Florence into the Piazza’s, you will see freckled through the streets; pieces of art and history so captivating, yet so casually set among the places of daily life. Art in Florence is not simply something for one to check out at a museum on occasion, it is a living, breathing influence on their culture and minds. In Florence, art is a way of life.
5. The Culture
A culture of a place is determined by any number of factors. The art, the cuisine, the fashion, the city’s layout, it all provides a unique and foreign appeal attracting us to travel. Yet the culture is something that stems deeper than what is at the surface level of any of those things. It is the people, the tradition, the history and the energy in the streets as you walk around and be in the moment. It is the welcoming atmosphere in the restaurants you feel when you join in with the Florentine’s to dine. Pictures are beautiful, stories are entertaining, and the food is delicious, but to truly appreciate a place, I urge you to not only visit as a tourist but to observe and indulge in the remarkable ways that this city carves itself as one of the most timeless cities on the planet. Florence was home to the Italian Renaissance that shaped the entire world, the effects of this city’s historical influence are still felt and seen today in countless ways. Whether it be taking an educational tour, interacting with the locals, or simply sitting along the Ponte Vecchio to be still and embrace the beauty that the city offers, the culture is the top reason to visit and to love Florence.