The birthplace of the Renaissance era
Tuscany’s capital, Florence, considered the birthplace of the Renaissance era, with extraordinary artistic and architectural heritage is noted for its culture, and ranked as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The Historic Centre, contains numerous museums and art galleries, such as the Uffizi Gallery and the Palazzo Pitti, was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO IN 1982 and attracts around 10 million visitors every year.
The best of Tuscany can be found at the local Mercado San Lorenzo (the covered food market) featuring cheese mongers, butchers, bakers and fishmongers selling local olive oil, honey, spices, salt, balsamic vinegar and truffles.
In honor of Dante Alighieri , a statue and museum can be found in Piazza Santa Croce, dedicated to his life and works (including The Divine Comedy), and verses are inscribed on various streets in the historical center. Visit Santa Margherita de’ Cerchi, the church where (legend has it) Dante fell in love with Beatrice, a doomed and unrequited passion, that is thought to have inspired much of his work.
Said to be the birthplace of gelato, Florence is famous for its family-run institutions, churning out gelato on the premises. Gelateria Perchè no! known for rotating seasonal specialties such as Tuscan-grown rose and lavender, vegetarian, vegan friendly and gourmet selections like salted caramel, has been open and operated by the same family since 1939. Vivoli, family-run for more than 80 years, is the city’s mainstay for more traditional fare with classic flavours like crema, pistachio, chocolate, and seasonal fruit varieties.
The Uffizi is no secret, but when it comes to Florence, you can’t skip the classics. Carve out time to see the expected (Venus de’ Medici; The Birth of Venus; Bacchus by Caravaggio; Ognissanti Madonna), but don’t miss the Vasari Corridor, which allows you to walk from the Uffizi to the Palazzo Pizzi on the other side of the river. For both, book tickets in advance to avoid waiting in lines.