A trip to Florence, the world capital of the Renaissance and home town of Panerai watch, can be an intense experience especially if this is the first time. When Stendhal visited him in 1817, he was overwhelmed with emotion. To maximize your visit and to avoid giving up on Stendhal syndrome, I will give you 9 useful tips for your first trip to Florence.
1 . Brush up on your knowledge of history
Florence has a rich and interesting history, which originated in Roman times. It was founded by Julius Caesar in 59 BC as a settlement for his army. In the Middle Ages, the city became a developing city and in the fifteenth century the city developed in such a way that it became one of the largest cities in Europe. He was ruled for more than three centuries by the Medici family. It was influenced by strong personalities such as Machiavelli and Savonarola and was often visited by scientists and artists such as Galileo and Michelangelo. Their work has a strong impact on the city that is still visible today. For a better understanding of the city, I highly recommend reading a little history. “The Stones of Florence” by Mary MacCarthy is a great introduction to the extraordinary art, history and culture of this city. Ross King’s “The Dome of Brunelleschi”, by contrast, is a good book that tells interesting stories about the construction of the Duomo.
2 . Avoid going summer
Florence is inhabited in the summer. It was full of hot tourists who walked nonstop in the hot sun. Temperatures can reach up to 38 degrees and are not at all pleasant to visit historical buildings and monuments with this temperature. It’s better to visit in the spring or autumn, when the city is less crowded and the atmosphere is more relaxed.
3 . Order a ticket for the museum first
If you want to visit major tourist attractions such as the Uffizi Museum and avoid long queues, I suggest ordering tickets online and in advance. Especially if you go to Florence on the first Sunday of the month, when the museum and gallery are not paid. Plan your visit well, as some museums and galleries may be closed for a week.
4 . Try local dishes
There is nothing better than Italian cuisine. Each city and region has their own local specialties. For meat lovers there is a classic Florentine steak. Popular is street snacks such as sandwiches with tripe or lampredotto (beef stomach). The trattorias menu tends to be based on meat, but don’t worry for vegetarians who can taste ribollita (vegetable soup with black cabbage and bean cannellini), pappa al pomodoro (tomato soup with bread), panzanella (bread and vegetable salad) or cecina (chickpeas farinata) . Everything must be tasted with an incredible glass of Chianti!
5 . Visit less-known galleries and museums
Even if you don’t want to miss the famous works of the Uffizi and Accademia Gallery, Florence has some very good and less well-known museums that must be taken into account. The Bargello Museum, located in an impressive 13th-century building, has a fantastic collection of Renaissance sculptures, including masterpieces of Donatello, Michelangelo, Verrocchio, Cellini and Luca della Robbia stand out. The San Marco Monastery contains paintings by monks and Blessed artist Angelico. Beautifully decorated cells are also beautiful. After full immersion in sacred art, a visit to La Specola Natural History Museum is needed.
6 . Admire the view of the city
Florence offers beautiful views. To admire the spectacular city views, you can climb the Duomo bell tower or walk up the hill, just outside the city, which leads to Piazzale Michelangelo. Get ready for your sense of sight, because amazing scenery is something extraordinary. To not miss anything, you can take a short trip to Fiesole, a city on a hilltop a few kilometers from the city.
7. Find a church
Finding churches in Florence is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful things to do. It seems that every church has at least some hidden gems in the form of medieval frescoes or Renaissance works.
8 . Explore Oltrarno
Crossing the Ponte Vecchio and admiring the Palazzo Pitti is a must for most tourists. But the south side of the Arno river, better known as Oltrarno (outside Arno) needs to be studied further. In this area, in fact, there are many choices of restaurants, bars, trattorias and artisan shops. In the afternoon you can go to Boboli Park. However, nearing the end of the night, enjoying an alcoholic drink in the lively Santo Spirito district is certainly one thing that should not be missed.
9 . A day trip
With more days, it’s ideal for traveling outside the city. About 80 km north of Florence we arrive at the beautiful city of Lucca with intact city walls and medieval treasures that return to the past. About an hour’s drive south, there is Siena, whose historic center is part of the UNESCO World Heritage. A trip to the surrounding countryside and an excellent wine cellar is another tip that should not be missed.0