Florence is the capital city of the region of Tuscany, a haven for lovers of culture and art. Tuscany itself is beautiful and stunning, full of green hills and mountains. As a former capital of Italy and of Italian renaissance, Florence is rich in ancient history and a city where Leonardo da Vinci, Machiavelli, and Dante were born. Aside from the city’s rich cultural heritage, food and wine have a mark as well; the residents of Florence care about their gastronomy as well as their art.
Florence is serviced by bus (the AFTA), which goes around the city. Passengers are required to buy tickets first before boarding, as there is a standing fine for not complying. Aside from buses, cycling is primarily the form of transportation for locals and some backpackers.
Things to See
As a cultural city, Florence is full of stately historical buildings and ancient structures. Many of them offer free entrance, and foremost among them are the Galleria dell’Accademia, home of Michelangelo’s famous sculpture “David” (the Galleria offers mostly Michelangelo’s works); the Uffizi Gallery, considered Europe’s first modern art gallery; the Duomo, which is an important Gothic building in Italy and known for its cupola; and the San Lorenzo Basilica, which is Florence’s oldest basilica. Nip over to the Mercato Centrale (just beside San Lorenzo), a great market teeming with trinkets, souvenirs, and food.
Where to Stay
Florence offers plenty of hostels. Try contacting Hosteling International (HI) for their member hostels or the Italian Youth Hostel Association (they only accept HI members).