Florence, The Renaissance City
Florence, the epicenter for the Renaissance is today, more than five hundred years later, a major center for art and a must-see on your Italian itinerary. Located on the banks of the Arno River, in a hollow surrounded by the Chianti and hills of Fiesole, it began as a Roman center called Florentia. Its fortunes as an art center date from the time when it became a Republic (12th C.) and later a Signoria (15th C.) under the Medici family. Under the Medicis the town commissioned masterpieces by the greatest artists of the time (Brunelleschi, Donatello, Botticelli, Michelangelo, etc.) and became the center of Renaissance culture. Growing in power, Charles V created the Dukes of Florence in 1530, and later the Grand Dukes of Tuscany. In 1737, when the Medici family died out, the Lorenas rose to power governing Florence and the region until 1859 (with only a slight interruption during the Napoleonic occupation of 1800-1815). In 1859 Tuscany became part of the Kingdom of Italy and served as the capital city of Italy for 5 years.
from the airport- From the airport the best way into town is by taxi.
Although only about a 15 minute ride, you can expect to pay about $30
plus additional for baggage.
Train- The central train station is within walking distance to most major sights, making it an excellent way to arrive or depart Florence.
Florence is best toured on foot.
Almost all of the sights are within a 30 minute walk. Many
of the streets are cobble stone, so wear comfortable shoes!
Via de’ Calzaioli is the main pedestrian street in Florence, connecting
the Uffizi Gallery, Palazzo Vecchio and the Duomo.
Don’t miss the beautiful Piazza della Signoria. With its loggia
and copies of great sculpture, it is like an open air museum. Why not have an espresso at
one of the caffés which serve outdoors in good weather?
Busses- If you are going to be in Florence for any length of time, you may decide to use the bus system. Tickets are sold at tobacco shops and are then validated onboard. You can purchase a 1 hour, 3 hour, 24 hour or 3 day ticket.
Cars- There is no need for a car in Florence. Traffic is difficult and parking is even worse. Be warned that there are controlled zones where cars are fined if you have not paid the city tax. Most hotels do not offer parking, and when they do it can easily cost up to $40 per day.
Florence deserves a minimum stay of 2 nights. But we realize that many people visit Florence as a day trip from cruise ships, so we offer Private Tours from Livorno to make the best of limited time.
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