Hipmunk City Love – 48 Hours in Florence, Italy
Italy is blessed with a rich art and religious history that tourists of all faiths and nationalities flock to see. While Rome is the center of the religious story, Florence is the center for art as the birthplace of the Renaissance. It’s most likely a stop on your city hopping tour of Italy. Below are some of the must-see attractions to enjoy the best of your 48 hours in Florence.
The Cathedral of Santa Maria Del Fiore
The Duomo is the fourth largest cathedral in the world and the first stop on the tourist trail for Florence. The church is a perfect example of gothic architecture. More fit travelers can ascend the 463 steps to the top of the dome for spectacular views of the city. Or descend into the depths of the church and visit the crypt of Santa Reparata, the ancient medieval church on whose remains the cathedral was built.
The Accademia Gallery is home to Michelangelo’s original David which almost makes Florence worth a visit on its own. There are also works by Michelangelo including Prisoners and Saint Matthew. Other artists on display include Sandro Botticelli, Dominico Ghirlandaio, and Andrea del Sarto. The museum can get quite crowded so plan to visit early in the day and buy your tickets ahead of time.
Piazza della Signoria
The David was moved from its original location in the Piazza Della Signoria. However, a replica was erected in its place for a sense of history. The Piazza is also the busiest square in Florence as the hub of both the local and tourist life. There is plenty to see and do in from the Uffizi Gallery to the Palazzo Vecchio Town Hall to the Loggia Dei Lanzi, an open air sculpture gallery which includes the Medici Lions.
Giotto, Leonardo, Botticelli, Mantegna, Caravaggio, Raphael, Titian. Need we say more? You’re going to want to spend at least a half day here. It’s one of the oldest and most famous art museums in the world-renowned for its priceless paintings. Before it was overrun by tourists, the museum was Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci primary hangout in Florence. Remember, the museum is closed on Mondays like many others in Europe. You can buy your tickets online to avoid the queue.
Food as Art
You know I couldn’t write about Italy and not mention the food! You have to eat a famed Florentine Steak while you’re in town. It’s a T-bone unlike any you’ve had before. The meat is cut thick and meant for sharing. Cooked over a wood or charcoal fire, the steak is seared to medium rare. As soon as it’s removed from the flame, salt, pepper, and oil is immediately applied. The cut is typically served with lemon wedges for garnishment and perhaps a side of Tuscan style white beans. Enjoy other great tastes of Florence by booking a guided food tour. On the tour you’ll continue to taste the best of Florence with behind the scenes visits to a café, panino, market, and enoteca to watch food artists at work.
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This article is part of the #HipmunkCityLove series.