Often consider “Rome Light”, Florence is the city of the Medici and art galore. Despite this, there is an odd modern influence in this hallowed city.
When it came to the Renaissance, Florence was definitely one of the places to be. The city is full of examples of the past whether from great artists, architecture or significant sites. The city center dominates travel guides, but gardens and interesting sites can be seen by just strolling through the city.
Head to the Santa Maria Novella Church and you are in a ritzy section of town. High-end shops abound as do the headquarters of world-famous fashion houses such as Versace and Ferragamo. The Basso Fortress is worth a look but has been turned into more or less a modern convention center.
For evenings, you want to stroll over to the Santo Spirito Oltrarano area where you will find tons of cafes. The area is particularly nice because it contains the Medici’s Boboli Gardens, which are definitely worth exploring with their fountains, walkways, and, well, gardens. Just go.
When it comes to art, Florence matches up with many of the top destinations in Europe. You’ll find museums with Michelangelo’s David and famous paintings from a variety of artists. The museums tend to be packed, so be prepared. Still, it is definitely one of those things you have to do.
The Florence Twist
I may be burned at the stake for saying this, but I found Florence to be largely forgettable. There is no disputing the city’s place in history nor the incredible architecture, art, and gardens throughout it. Something about the place, however, feels artificial. It is as though Florence has become a modern city, but parades it’s past solely for the all mighty tourist currency. Then again, I could be wrong.
Regardless of your feelings about Florence, it is a city you should definitely visit for art. I’ve rarely stayed for more than two days, and usually only if I’ve missed a train.