8 Places to Visit in Italy Before You Have Kids

Italy is truly one of Mother Nature’s masterpieces, offering a geography boasting incredible landscapes- from the icy Alps to the volcanic craters to the turquoise waters. Along with incredible scenery, this country is filled with history, medieval towns, and more UNESCO World Heritage cultural sites than any other country. Dine on traditional Italian foods, indulge in the finest of wines and take in incredible sites. Italy is a place to be visited twice, once before kids and once with kids and the following eight places should all be done before you are toting around the wee ones.

8. Milan

The fashion capital of the world is best discovered without kids in tow, for obvious reasons and the time to get there and shop is now. This seething metropolis at times can seem brash and soulless but underneath that lies serious history and beauty. Visitors should count on visiting the grand Gothic Cathedral that lays at the heart of the city, La Scala one of the best Opera Houses in the world, the ancient shopping gallery- Galleria Vittorio Emanuele and the Brera Art Gallery. There is no shortage of museums, churches and historical monuments to be found in this city, along with a slew of incredible restaurants and accommodations. Shop, eat, catch a football game or attend one of the many exhibitions that take place throughout the year; whatever it is you do, enjoy it sans kids.

La Scala Milan

7. Sicily

The gorgeous island of Sicily is one of Europe’s most alluring destinations, the eternal meeting point between East and West, Africa and Europe. The varied landscape here with sea, mountains and volcanoes makes for a stunning backdrop for outdoors activities. Visitors here will be privy to plenty of diving, swimming, climbing and hiking. The ancient cuisine here will make any foodie happy, as the chefs still depend on island-grown ingredients including shellfish, tuna, hazelnuts and almonds, and play with these ingredients to create timeless recipes with creative flairs. Wander through the rubble of ancient columns, through the breathtaking Concordia temple and palace walls as you discover the history of this incredible island. Best done without kids, this is one place in Italy you must get to.

Sicily ruins

6. Cinque Terre

Made up of five small fishing villages, Cinque Terre has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997 and offers some of the most dramatic coastal scenery on the planet. This is a place that is rooted in history with the oldest village, Monterosso dating back to AD 643. Much of what remains in the villages today date back to the late High Middle Ages, including several castles and parish churches. Explore the villages by train or foot, as cars were banned over a decade ago. Expect long walks with breathtaking views, eccentric shops, quaint B&B’s and superior wine and food. The main draw here is the landscape and there is an abundance of hiking trails throughout the villages, as well as a number of beaches throughout.

Cinque Terre

5. Amalfi Coast

If you are looking for a more road trip style vacation before you have kids, there is only one choice when it comes to Italy, and that is the Amalfi Coast. Considered to be Italy’s most scenic stretch of coastline the landscape is full of towering bluffs, pastel colored villages, luscious green mountains and expansive vista over the sparkling turquoise waters. Aside from the sheer beauty you encounter here, the Amalfi coast is home to a slew of superb restaurants and hotels, as well as being one of the top spots in the country for hiking. Don’t miss the coastal towns of Positano and Amalfi, which are the two favorites. If you are looking for romance stop into the most romantic and beautiful small town in Southern Italy, Ravello, a city blessed with lush gardens, unforgettable views and a beautiful history.

Amalfi Coast

4. Merano

This city of flowers is located in Italy’s Alps, a breathtaking landscape of snow-capped peaks, clean air and luscious green. The city itself sits only 1,000 feet high and is often referred to as the Shangri-La of Italy with its sunny microclimate and leafy boulevards. Visitors come to this city for it’s incredible spa hotels, wonderful organic farmers markets and spectacular wine. Head here during the International Wine Festival in early November for a chance to try local stars as well as vintages from around the world. Explore medieval castles, ride the aerial tramways, dine on sausage and beer from street stalls, meander through the Merano Promenades or simply soak your troubles away in the abundance of spa centers; whatever it is you choose to do, do it now before you have little ones in tow.

Merano italy

3. Tuscany

The region of Tuscany is full of great things to see and do, without kids of course as dragging them to renaissance towns and art galleries surely won’t be any fun for them. There are plenty of UNESCO World Heritage Sites to explore in this region including Siena, a beautiful medieval town worth exploring. This region is truly postcard material with its gently rolling hills, golden wheat fields, silver olive groves and hilltop villages. Spend your days hiking, cycling, visiting the islands off the south coast or simply sipping a glass of wine with your significant other. Explore the historic churches, chapels and monuments that make up the breathtaking city of Florence and choose from the simplest of accommodations or boutiques so chic you can even choose your own sheets.

Tuscany

2. Rome

A city full of history, fine art and great food screams for a child-free visit and this is one city you need to get to before having kids. This internal city is one of the world’s most beautiful and inspiring capitals. Much of your days in Rome will be spent wandering historic sites, immersing yourself into the culture and idling around the city streets. When the sun sets and the temperatures break here, that’s when the real party starts and let’s be clear; this is no party for kids. The fashionistas descend onto Rome’s cafes and restaurants and then later head to the famous late-night clubs and bars. Think freshly ground coffee in the mornings, five-star dining in the evening and gorging on pizza at neighborhood diners.

Colosseum Rome

1. Venice

This city seeps with romance, from the romantic gondola rides through the canals to drinking wine at the open-air cafes that fill the sidewalks. It screams child-free with its impressive dining options complete with plenty of Prosecco, Venice’s signature drink of choice. Bringing kids here really isn’t recommended, as there is lots of walking, plenty of adults-only dining and just not really that many interesting things to see or do as a kid. Venice thrives on mystery and awe, a place where marble palaces disappear into the fog, where labyrinth like streets fill the city and where cathedrals beg to be discovered. There are no cars or roadways here, just canals and boats and narrow alleys and small squares, with hidden treasures at every turn. The perfect place to explore sans kids.

Venice

The 7 Best Spots to Soak Up Some Sun in Italy

The country can claim The Mona Lisa, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and slurp-worthy spaghetti as its own, but Italy’s not only home to incredible art, architecture, and food — you can also find some of the world’s best beaches on Italy’s coasts. From the turquoise blue waters of the island of Capri to the excellent people watching along the beaches of the Italian Riviera, here are the top spots to soak up some sun on your next Italian getaway:

7. Cala Granara

So it takes a bit of commitment to get to Cala Granara, a picture-perfect beach on the shores of the tiny island of Spargi, part of the Maddalena Islands in the deep blue Sardinian Sea, but in this case, embarking on the journey is just as fun as relaxing at the destination. To get to the island, you’ll need to hire a small boat at La Maddelena to take you over to Spargi. The only thing better than relaxing on the sand of Cala Granara is relaxing on the boat that gets you there; the gentle rocking of the ocean’s waves beneath your boat just might lull you to sleep! Once on the island, you’ll want to wake up to take in the gorgeous scenery, including rocky outcroppings rising from the island, glass clear inlets of cool water, and unmatched vistas of wild, isolated Italian beauty.

Cala Granara

6. Cala Goloritze

Goats, pigs, and donkeys, oh my! The little shepherd’s town of Baunei on Sardinia offers lots of delights for the animal lover, and an amazing beach nearby to boot. To take in all the sights, lace up your hiking boots and explore the six mile trail that juts off from Baneui to the Altopiano del Golgo, a forlorn plateau filled with animals grazing among the scrub and trees. Ready to head to the beach? The Cala Goloritze awaits down by the shore, with shocking blue water and otherworldly limestone rock formations popular with climbers. Oh, and one more tip — don’t forget your snorkel! The water off of Cala Goloritze is the perfect place to spot some fish and other sea creatures.

Cala Goloritze

5. Chiaia di Luna

At Chiaia di Luna, there isn’t much room to lay out a huge beach blanket and lounge around. That’s because a huge cliff rises up straight from the beach, leaving a pretty narrow strip of sand that leads into the cool blue bay. What Chiaia di Luna lacks in roominess, though, it makes up for in sheer beauty — the sight of the pale, dramatic cliff looming above the unbelievably blue waters below is a sight you won’t soon forget. You’ll find this charming, unique beach on the island of Ponza, located in the Tyrrhenian Sea, off Italy’s central coast in between Rome and Naples. If you’re looking to escape the sun’s rays for a bit, try embarking on a diving expedition while on Ponza; the area is a diver’s delight.

Chiaia di Luna

4. Spiaggia delle due Sorelle

Is a beach without sand really a beach? After visiting Spiaggia delle due Sorelle, you’ll answer that question with a resounding “yes”! This unique beach off the coast of Sirolo, Italy, is actually made up of small smooth white pebbles, instead of sand. Walk along this beach to give yourself a foot message. When you take a dip in the incredibly clear water, make sure you turn around to look back at the beach — visitors claim that the best view of Spiaggia delle due Sorelle is the one from the ocean, since you get to see the dramatic whitewashed cliffs soaring above the pebble beach below. You can reach this one-of-a-kind Italian beach either by shuttle or by boat from Porto Numana.

Spiaggia delle due Sorelle

3. Paraggi Beach, Portofino

Get in touch with your inner sun god or goddess at this ritzy beach, located just a short drive from the port town of Portofino in the Italian Riviera. If you like your sun and surf served up with a side of celebrity, then this is your spot — it’s not uncommon to see the rich and famous (and often extremely good looking) strolling along Paraggi’s shoreline. No celebrity sightings? No worries, you still have the breathtakingly beautiful blue Ligurian Sea to gawk at. Plus, there are plenty of restaurants and quality shops nearby to keep you busy when you start to get a little too tan from lying out in Italy’s sun. If you’re not staying in a hotel right near the beach, it’s still an easy spot to get to; buses run from Portofino to the beach about every fifteen minutes.

Paraggi Beach

2. La Guardia, Elba

The Tuscan region of Italy is more known for its famous vineyards and olive groves than its beaches, but the Tuscan island of Elba can hold its own when it comes to lazy living down by the shore. Elba is Italy’s third largest island, and it offers up nearly endless delights along the shores of its 150 beaches. The best beach on Elba, though, is arguably la Guardia, where dramatic dark cliffs plunge into the deep blue sea below. Elba’s beaches can get suffocatingly crowded, especially during the summer months, but la Guardia stays relatively quiet all year round. So if you prefer listening to the sound of crashing waves over the chatter of other beach goers, then this is the Italian beach for you.

La Guardia

1. Capri

The island of Capri off the coast of Southern Italy has long been famed as an escape for the rich and famous. Once you arrive on the island, after taking a ferry from either Naples or Sorrento, try to snag a spot on a boat tour down at the marina — boating around the island is absolutely the best way to soak up the sun at Capri. If you’re lucky, your boat captain will be well versed in celebrity sightings, and hopefully he can point out the opulent villas that once housed the likes of Mariah Carey, Jackie Onassis, Leonardo DiCaprio, and others, tucked high above the blue water on dramatic cliffs. A must-stop on your Capri boat tour? The Blue Grotto, a sea cave that glitters with a brilliant blue glow, thanks to two small holes that allow sunlight to flood the cave. You’ll need to transfer into a tiny rowboat to make it into the opening of the cave, but the transfer is most definitely worth it.

Capri

10 Must-Try Foods In Florence, Italy

Surprise! Italian food isn’t, strictly speaking, “Italian food.” There are lots of similarities, but for the most part, each of Italy’s 20 regions serves up its own distinct cuisine. Tuscany is no exception. Many visitors book cooking tours through the region, but there’s no reason to miss out on the food if you remain in Florence. A food and wine tour offered by a passionate local, such as Curious Appetite, is a fantastic way to learn about the city’s most delicious nibbles. A tour is a great starting point, but make sure you don’t leave Florence without trying each item on this list.

10. Schiacciata

The cuisine of Tuscany is known as cucina povera, or “poor kitchen,” and the bread of Florence embodies this concept. It’s said that in the 12th century, Florentines didn’t want to pay a salt tax to nearby rivals Pisa, and so they’ve been making their bread without it ever since. Much of the bread served in the city is bland, so the schiacciata is a lovely surprise. It’s a flat bread drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt, much like what many of us know as focaccia. Try it stuffed with salumi and cheese for a mid-day snack.

Schiacciata Focaccia

9. Cantucci

If you’re looking for ultra-rich, ultra-sweet sweets, Florence bakeries might not be the place for you. This is a cuisine that uses olive oil rather than butter, after all. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pause and sample the treats those lovely little pasticceria are offering up. Stop in and pick up a bag of cantucci, tiny biscotti made with almonds. These twice-baked little gems are lovely dunked in your morning cappuccino or evening espresso (never, ever have your cappuccino after noon!) but even better if you dip them into the local dessert wine known as Vin Santo.

Cantucci

8. Zuppa di fagioli

Tuscans are known as “bean-eaters”, so don’t allow yourself to leave Florence without sampling at least one dish made with cannellini beans. Fagioli all’uccelletto is a popular side dish in the city. If you know a little Italian, don’t be alarmed – there are no birds, or uccelli, present in this dish. It consists solely of cannellini beans stewed in olive oil and tomatoes, with a bit of salt, garlic and sage to impart flavor. The dish may sound simple, or even boring, but it’s an excellent accompaniment to the roast meats prominent in Tuscan cuisine.

Zuppa di fagioli

7. Panzanella

Spending your summer vacation in Florence? Be sure to try this local salad, which once again embraces the Tuscan tradition of “poor cooking.”  Leftover, stale bread is used to create a delicious meal. The bread is soaked in water, then squeezed dry. Tomatoes, onions, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper are added to create the customary Florentine panzanella. The bread can be soaked in the vinegar or basil might be added to the finished product, but additional ingredients – capers, mozzarella, or lemon juice, just to name a few – are looked down on by those that embrace tradition.

Panzanella

6. Gelato

Gelato is not confined to Tuscany. Nor is there a particular “spin” given to it in Florence (although some say it was born there). But it’s not possible to spend time in this city and not be confronted with heaps upon heaps of creamy gelato, enticing the weary tourist to stop for refreshment. Don’t fall for it! The best gelato is handmade in small batches, and there are no vivid pinks or bright greens to be found. Look for small stores displaying nothing but covered tubs, and do your best to sample what’s in season.

Gelato

5. Ribollita

Whereas you’d eat panzanella in the summer, come winter you’re more likely to find ribollita on the menu (don’t worry; gelato can be consumed year-round). This dish, whose name means “reboiled”, might best be described as a soup, but the texture is ultimately much thicker than even a stew. Ribollita is yet another Tuscan dish with roots in cucina povera, as it originated as a use for the previous day’s minestrone and was thickened with day-old bread. You might not expect it from a dish composed of stale bread, kale, carrots, tomatoes and other assorted vegetables, but it’s remarkably tasty.

Ribollita

4. Pappardelle with cinghiale sauce

Cinghiale, or wild boar, is a bit of thing in Florence – there’s even a fountain featuring one in the city’s New Market. You’ll often find pasta with wild boar sauce chalked up on the menu boards scattered around the city. Foreigners might find this a bit outside of their comfort zone, but if you’re one that enjoys pig, you’ll definitely love this gamier version, which ups the flavors of a pork ragu. The sauce is most likely served over pappardelle, a rather wide noodle favored in Tuscany, although sometimes it will be served over tagliatelle, a noodle which resembles fettuccine.

Pappardelle with cinghiale

3. Olive Oil

Many of the olive trees in the groves surrounding Florence are said to be around 600 years old, and those ancient limbs are the ones that provide the tastiest fruit. In Tuscany, olive oil isn’t a luxury, but rather a necessity, present at every meal. And like wine, olive oil differs based on climate, growing conditions, the soil, and other factors. Olive oil from Tuscany has a more delicate taste than those from further south, although the flavors vary even from town to town. Stop in at shops around Florence and it’s likely the proprietors will let you sample a few!

Olive oil

2. Bistecca alla Fiorentina

This Florentine dish is for serious carnivores only. But no matter how much you love meat, don’t attempt to tackle this one alone! Bistecca alla Fiorentina is a T-bone steak that typically weighs in at well over a pound, brought to diners with the meat hanging over the edges of the plate. The beef comes from the local Chianina cattle and the steak is meant to be served rare – this is where that bland Tuscan bread is a perfect accompaniment, allowing diners to soak up all the juices. Those juices are the only “sauce” you’ll find on this steak, but the meat is so delicious you’ll need nothing else.

Bistecca alla Fiorentina

1. Lampredotto

Hands down, the dish you absolutely must eat when visiting Florence. If you have squeamish members of your party, just don’t tell them that lampredotto is made of the fourth cow’s stomach. If you yourself are unadventurous, you’ll forget all about the fact that you’re consuming tripe once it melts in your mouth. This ultimate “poor kitchen” dish is available in restaurants, but is often best at one of Florence’s food stalls or carts. There it is typically served as a sandwich, with the lampredotto layered inside crusty bread that’s been dipped in the broth the meat was cooked in.

Lampredotto

10 Things to See and Do in Florence

Florence is the capital city of Italy’s Tuscany region and is historically famous as it’s considered the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. With a population of approximately 380,000, it is also the most populous city in the Tuscany region. Florence was proclaimed a World Heritage Site in 1982 and is rich in culture with its Renaissance art, architecture, monuments, palaces, churches, numerous art galleries and museums. This incredible heritage has given it the distinction of being called one of the most beautiful cities in the world by Forbes Magazine and is ranked among the top 50 fashion capitals of the world. You can roam some of the oldest streets in the city to the Arno River and the see the newest area of Florence called the “Oltrarno”. Whether you enjoy museums, old architecture, art or the outdoors, there is something breathtaking and awesome to see in this incredible city.

10. Florence Street Sign Art

While traveling through Florence, you may notice something a little unusual about the street signs. Though all the other historical architecture and beauty around you may distract you from paying much attention to the street signs, (especially if you’re traveling on foot) it’s worth paying attention. The signs are a virtual pop art exhibition. An artist by the name of Clet Abraham living in Italy for over 20 years, has been enhancing Florence’s visual experience by altering the traffic signs adding stickers and secretly creating humorous scenes out of the ordinary signage posted all over the city. Since the stickers are removable, his artwork is often short-lived but not unnoticed or unappreciated. He has created some controversial works of art as well but it’s mostly received with great admiration. Over the years, the municipality has come to accept his work and it is slowly becoming quite a tourist attraction. Clet actually has a studio in Via Dell’Olmo where you can buy stickers and see more of his work. Whether or not you have children with you, discovering the hidden treasures created by Clet is an enjoyable experience for all.

Italianvideophotoagency / Shutterstock.com
Italianvideophotoagency / Shutterstock.com

9. Shopping

While visiting Florence, you will want to take the opportunity to visit some of the numerous shops located here. There are vintage shops, designer boutiques and luxury shops you won’t want to miss while looking for something new and fashionable or for some souvenirs to take home. Via Tornabuoni, Via della Vigna Nuova, and Via dei Calzaiuoli are home to many luxurious shops, designer boutiques and jewelry stores. If you have a little money to burn, you’ll want to visit these streets in the Santa Maria Novella district or you can at least window shop and dream of owning them one day. Via Maggio is known as the destination for antique collectors. Located near Pitti Palace, the street is full of antique shops featuring treasures from as far back as the Renaissance. The San Lorenzo Market features many leather shops if you are looking for a new bag or jacket. For those looking for something a little more budget friendly, a stop at some of the outdoor flea markets located in and around Mercato Centrale in the San Lorenzo district is a great place to shop for just about anything including great food to sustain you on your journey.

Eddy Galeotti / Shutterstock.com
Eddy Galeotti / Shutterstock.com

8. The Florence Baptistery

The Florence Baptistery, also known as Baptistery of Saint John is a minor basilica in Florence. It’s an octagonal building standing in both the Piazza del Duomo and the Piazza di San Giovanni. It was constructed sometime between 1059 and 1128 in the Florentine Romanesque style making it one of the oldest buildings in the city. It’s renowned for its three artistic sets of bronze doors featuring relief sculptures created by Andrea Pisano and Lorenzo Ghiberti. Michelangelo called the east doors the Gates of Paradise. Many historically significant people were baptized here including the poet Dante, members of the Medici family and other notable people of the Renaissance. By the end of the 19th century, all Catholic Florentines were baptized here. The octagonal shape has become commonplace for baptisteries since the number eight is a symbol of regeneration in Christianity. Under the roof on the corners are lions’ heads with human heads under their claws. On the west side is a rectangular apse and on the roof there is an octagonal lantern. It is a beautiful holy building to enjoy while visiting the city.

The Florence Baptistery

7. Ponte Vecchio

The Ponte Vecchio or Old Bridge is a medieval stone bridge crossing the Arno River featuring closed-spandrel segmental arches. The bridge is well known for having shops built along it and though in the past the shops were occupied by butchers, they are now home to jewelers, art dealers and souvenir vendors. There are two other bridges crossing the river as well -Ponte Santa Trinita and the Ponte alle Grazie. It is believed that the concept of “bankruptcy” originated here when a merchant could not pay his debts and the table he used to sell his wares (banco) was broken (rotto) by soldiers. This practice was called bancorotto (broken table) and possibly became banca rotta meaning broken bank since the merchant had no more table or place to sell his wares. There are many padlocks along the bridge popularly connected to the idea of love. It’s thought that by locking the lock and throwing the key into the river, the lovers are eternally connected. However, there is now a fine for doing this, so the frequency of this practice has decreased substantially.

Ponte Vecchio

6. Pitti Palace

The Pitti Palace (Palazzo Pitti) is an enormous Renaissance palace situated on the south side of the Arno River near the Ponte Vecchio. It was purchased by the Medici family in 1549 and served as the chief residence of the families of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. Through the years, many treasures were amassed by the families and it has since become a museum displaying paintings, plates, jewelry and other luxurious collections. In 1919, the palace and its contents were donated to the people of Italy by King Victor Emmanuel III. It’s the largest museum in Florence with its main palazzo block measuring 32,000 square meters and divided into several galleries. The main gallery is known as the Palatine Gallery housing over 500 (primarily Renaissance) paintings which were once part of the Medici family collection displayed as it would be in a private collection. The works are hung and displayed as they would have been in grand rooms as they were intended rather than in chronological order or according to school of art. The other galleries also consist of numerous rooms and incredible works of art.

Palazzo Pitti

5. Boboli Gardens

The Boboli Gardens is a picturesque park located in Florence with one of its main features being a collection of sculptures dating from the 16th to the 18th centuries and some Roman antiquities. Located behind the Pitti Palace, the gardens are some of the first and most familiar formal Italian gardens of the 16th century. The layout provides wide gravel walkways, statues and fountains and many incredible details incorporated into the semi-private and public sectors making it an exquisite pleasure to experience. The lavishness of the gardens was unprecedented in its time only to be enjoyed by the Medici family since no parties or entertainment were ever hosted there. Because there is no natural water source to the gardens, a conduit was built to the Arno River to feed water into an elaborate irrigation system. You won’t want to miss a stroll through these Gardens while in Florence. The artistry and natural beauty is breathtaking and the Amphitheater and Andromeda fountain are works of art only enhanced by nature’s hand.

Boboli Gardens

4. Basilica of Santa Croce

The Basilica of Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cross) is a minor basilica of the Roman Catholic Church and a principal Franciscan Church located in Florence. Located in the Piazza di Santa Croce, it’s the burial place of many historically important and famous Italians like Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Foscolo, Gentile and Rossini, giving it the moniker The Temple of the Italian Glories (Tempio dell’Itale Glorie). With 16 chapels displaying many frescoes, tombs and cenotaphs, it is the largest Franciscan church in the world. Inside is a magnificent floor plan of a Tau Cross (a symbol of St. Francis) 115 meters in length with a nave and two aisles separated by octagonal columns.  The 19th century facade consists of an ornate design with a Star of David prominently displayed in the center. In the cloister, there is a monument dedicated to Florence of Nightingale who was born in Florence and named after the city. The former dormitory of the Franciscan friars is now the location of the Scuola del Cuoio (Leather School) where visitors can watch creations being made for sale in the adjacent shop.

Basilica of Santa Croce

3. Piazzale Michelangelo

Piazzale Michelangelo is the premier place to have a panoramic view of Florence. It’s a public square with observation points offering a magnificent perspective on the city below. The square was built in 1869 on a hill just south of the center during the “rebirth” of the city’s middle class. It was dedicated to the famous sculptor Michelangelo…hence the name. Some bronze copies of some of his famous marble works can be found there, such as David and the four allegories of the Medici Chapel of San Lorenzo. This popular tourist spot offers more than just an amazing view of Florence and the Arno Valley. When the terrace was being built, a hillside building was added intended as a museum to display Michelangelo’s sculptures but that never materialized and now the building houses a restaurant where many visitors enjoy a meal while taking in the view. You can access the Piazzale by car along a lovely tree-lined street called Viale Michelangelo, take a tour bus ride or on foot up the stairs or ramps from the Piazza Giuseppe Poggi. However you decide to get there, don’t forget to bring a camera to preserve the picture perfect beauty for a lifetime.

Piazzale Michelangelo

2. Uffizi Gallery

Built at the request of Francisco de’ Medici in 1581, the Uffizi gallery is the primary art museum of Florence and one of the best known museums in the world, housing art mostly from the Renaissance. It’s home to some extraordinary pieces of work by world renowned artists such as Botticelli, Giotto, Michaelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Raffaello to name a few. The works from all centuries are featured here, though the largest part of the collection dates from the 12th to the 17th centuries. The Uffizi Gallery welcomes more than a million visitors annually and with good reason. This must-see destination houses some of the world’s most famous artists and their masterpieces. The Gallery is currently under extensive renovations to help ease your visit with modernization as well as making improvements to the preservation of the works within it. The museum is still open while these improvements are being made, but things could be moved around. Since it’s spread out across three storeys, you will want to plan your visit ahead of time to find out what stage renovations are at, so you will get to see what you want to see.

T photography / Shutterstock.com
T photography / Shutterstock.com

1. Florence Cathedral 

The Florence Cathedral or Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower, is the main church of Florence. Construction on the Gothic style building began in 1296 and it was structurally completed in 1436. The basilica face consists of polychrome marble panels in different shades of green and pink and bordered in white, accented by a 19th century Gothic revival facade. Located in the Piazza del Duomo, the cathedral complex consists of three major buildings and include the Baptistery and Giotto’s Campanile. They are a major tourist attraction in Tuscany right in the heart of the historic center of Italy. The basilica is one of the largest churches in Italy featuring the largest brick dome ever constructed. It was built on the site of the church of Santa Reparata and the remains can still be seen in the crypt. A statue of the architects responsible for the building and dome can be seen overlooking their masterpiece to the right of the cathedral. The inside of the cathedral is quite plain comparatively, but features attractive mosaic pavements, the not so common working clock above the entrance and intricate artwork. It’s quite cool in the summer making it a wonderful place to escape the heat and take in some history.

Florence Cathedral