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Nestled within the historic and tranquil region of Tuscany, Florence is the capital city and arguably its most popular tourist attraction. This city can trace its roots back for thousands of years and thanks to its unique geographical location, it was the centre of trade during the Roman empire and well into the late mediaeval period. While trade might not be its most important industry, the fact of the matter is that Florence is frequented by millions of visitors each year. In fact, the entire urban district has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Art museums, galleries, amazing architecture and a proximity to some of the most beautiful vineyards that Italy has to offer are only a handful of amenities to appreciate when travelling here. Let's take a quick look at some basic travel information, a handful of the top landmarks and some tourist attractions that should never be missed during your stay.
Most will choose to fly into Florence Airport (Peretola) due to its proximity to the city centre as well as the ability to use their bus line to access the Florence Central Railway Terminal. Buses are provided every 30 minutes and there is also a dedicated taxi service which can be used to arrive at your hotel.
This airport serves a number of international carriers. Some of the most relevant for the purposes of this article include:
TAP Air Portugal
Lufthansa Regional (via Frankfurt)
Please note that Florence airport can also be reached through other nearby hubs such as Galileo Galilei International Airport. The average flight time between London and Florence is approximately two hours and 10 minutes. This is assuming that you have chosen a direct route. Connections via other cities such as Madrid or Paris may take three hours or longer. So, always be sure to plan ahead before your departure. Now that we have taken a brief look at the primary travel options, let's examine some of the top sights and most popular landmarks.
Florence is often referred to as the “Cradle of the Renaissance”, and for good reason. The architecture here is truly stunning. It can be argued that the most famous landmark within the entire city is the massive Florence Cathedral. Commonly known as the Duomo, this dome reached 600 feet into the air and it is still the largest of such structured made out of brick in the entire world. Masses are still held within its confines and you should be sure to check out the frescoes and statues which serve to define its interior.
If you are a fan of history, try to visit the ancient city walls. These were constructed in the 14th century as a means to protect the city and they are still largely intact. The very same feel of immortality can be observed in the Ponte Vecchio (Vecchio Bridge). One interesting feature of this bridge is that shops are built directly into its framework (a common practice during mediaeval times).
Another major landmark is a statue of the god Neptune by famed sculptor Bartolomeo Ammannati. This marble structure is a true masterpiece and interestingly enough, it is an amazing example of ancient Roman aqueducts in use today. Be sure to bring your camera along, as this sculpture is worth a closer look.
Of course, these are only a handful of some of the top landmarks to be found here. Some other notable locations to research further include (but are not necessarily limited to):
The Palazzo Vecchio
The Church of San Lorenzo
The Piazza della Signoria (with a reproduction of the statue of David)
The city itself obviously offers a wealth of truly unbelievable sights to be witnessed. Still, never forget that a trip to the nearby countryside is an excellent way to appreciate the tranquil nature that has come to define Tuscany as a whole. If you have been looking for an unforgettable Italian holiday, there is no doubt that Florence will satisfy even the most demanding of tastes.