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Florence is the capital city of both the Florence Province and the region of Tuscany. It is situated 50 metres above sea level and stands on both banks of the River Arno. To the north and north-east the city stretches along the foothills of the Careggi, Fiesole and Settignano hills, to the south along the Arcetri and Bellosguardo Hills.
Florence dates back to the Pre-Roman age, has a regular urban layout and spans the river with numerous, architecturally splendid bridges. The artistic and cultural heritage of Florence is among the greatest in the world. Its academies, libraries and museums are renown. Its religious monuments, churches, civil architecture and buildings are exceptional.
Hotels and lodgingEdit
- Florence Hotels Lists and compares hotels in Florence to suit every budget.
- Hotel Andrea Piazza Indipendenza, 19, tel. +39.055.483890 - Fax +39.055.461489. .
- Hotel Atlantic Palace Via Nazionale 10, tel. +39.055.213031 - Fax +39.055.268353. .
- Hotel Benvenuti Via Cavour 112, tel. +39.055.572141 - Fax +39.055.586727. .
- Hotel Corona D'Italia Via Nazionale 14, 50123, Ph. +39.055.261501 - Fax +39.055.288639. .
- Hotel Fiorita, Via Fiume 20, 50124, Ph. +39 055 283189 - Fax +39 055 2728153, 
- Hotel la Gioconda, Via Panzani 2, 50123, Ph. 055.211023 - Fax 055.213136, 
- Hotel La Fortezza, Viale Milton 95, tel. +39 055 46391, fax +39 055 46391388 
- Hotel Malaspina Piazza Indipendenza, 24, tel. +39 055 489869 - Fax +39 055 474809. .
- Hotel La Venere via Cavour, 21, 50129, tel. +39 055.215087, fax. +39 055.2656243, 
- Hotel Torre di Bellosguardo Via Roti Michelozzi, 2, tel. +39 055.2298145, fax. +39 055.229008, 
- Villa Torre Rossa, Via Naldino, 11, tel. +39 055.208108, fax. +39.055.208185, 
- Hotel Villa Liberty, Viale Michelangelo, 40, tel. +39.055.6810581, fax. ++39.055.6812595, 
- Eden Rock Resort Via Clemente Biondetti, 1, tel. +39.055.400331, fax. +39.055.405990, 
Hotels near Sports Venues
- Florence Horse Racing Hotels Lists the hotels close to the Fiorentina football stadium.
All the tourist attractions are grouped together in four zones, all of which can be easily visited on foot. The geographical and historical fulcrum of Florence is recognised as those parts which contains the city's Duomo, the Santa Croce district,the north zone of San Lorenzo and San Marco, the zone running from the Santa Maria Novella train station to the west to the Piazza della Repubblica, Ponte Vecchio, Mercato Nuovo and in the district of Oltrarno with the Pitti Place, Santo Spirito, the Boboli Gardens and the Santa Maria del Carmine Church.
The eastern zone of the city maintains its Medieval atmosphere, with its hive of narrow streets and ancient alleyways. The Santa Maria del Fiore or Duomo, with its baptistery designed by Ghiberti and its bell-tower designed by Giotto, dominates this area. The Orsanmichele, one of the finest examples of 13th century architecture in the city, is located in Via Calzaiuoli. The Bargello Gallery is situated in via del Proconsolo. The gallery houses a collection of Florentine Renaissance sculptures, with works from Michelangelo, Donatello and Cellini. The magnificent Gothic Santa Croce Basilica, in the Santa Croce Piazza, is a collection of monastic buildings grouped around cloisters, forming what is today a museum of paintings and religious sculptures. The basilica houses tombs and cenotaphs by Galileo and Michelangelo, the crucifixions by Donatello and Cimabue, the Pazzi Chapel by Brunelleschi and the Bardi Chapel, with Giotto frescoes..
The Piazza della Signoria was both the centre of political power and city life until the era of the city council. This large and sunny square is dominated by the imposing Palazzo Vecchio, which forms the back drop to the Signoria open arched gallery, one of the most important Medieval buildings in Italy. The Medici zone winds it way along via de Martelli, one of the city's main streets, which starts at the passage between the Duomo and the Baptistery. The zone is the site of the San Lorenzo Basilica, which houses the mortal remains of some of the most illustrious Medici family members. The Palazzo Medici Riccardi, the family's main residence, is situated a short distance away. The roads situated around Piazza San Lorenzo, are bustling with a large and colourful market, which includes the central market, a two-storey building selling fresh food.The zone , which at the time of the Medici, housed the Granduke's stables, is now the San Marco district, with its Convent. This district has a young feel , owing to the large presence of students from the University, Conservatory and the Academy of Fine Arts. The block of buildings that begin on the corner of via Ricasoli, is the site of the Academy's Gallery, the Gem Factory and the [[Archaeology Museum.
The city is bordered in the west by the railway station and Ponte Vecchio. The bridge houses numerous antique and modern jewellery shops. The Piazza della Repubblica, one of the liveliest zones of Florence, is situated a short distance away. This zone is renown for its cafes and shopping area which includes via Vigna Nuova and via de Tornabuoni, both highly elegant, lined with refined shops and important buildings from the 15th to the 18th century. The Palazzo Strozzi is an example of the zone's fine buildings, built in Florentine Renaissance style, it is the seat of numerous cultural institutions, including Gabinetto G.P. Visseux.
Oltrarno, is a tranquil zone of low buildings, antique shops and work-shops. The area is dominated by the Palazzo Pitti and the intricately shaped hedges of the Boboli Gardens. The zone is the site of Via Maggio and the Piazza di Santo Spirito, both lined by aristocratic buildings. The Santa Maria del Carmine, situated in the Piazza del Carmine, is famous for its frescoes in the Bancacci Chapel, painted by Masolino and Masaccio.
The Uffizi GalleryEdit
The Uffizi Gallery, with its entrance under the portico of the Palazzo degli Uffizi, is one of the most important art galleries in Italy and the oldest museum in modern Europe. It houses Italian works of art from all periods, from Medieval to Modern. Presently 2,000 individual works are exhibited. The ground floor houses 'The Ciclo di Uomini' by Andrea del Castagno (1450) and the 'Annunciazione' fresco by Sandro Botticeli (1481).
The first large section comprises works from Tuscan Medieval painters from the 12th century to the 14th century including Duccio di Buoninsegna, Cimabue, Giotto, Ambrogio e Pietro Lorenzetti, Masaccio, Masolino, Beato Angelico, Piero della Francesca, Botticelli (Nascita di Venere, Primavera), Leonardo (Adorazione dei Magi), Verrochio and Perugino. Rooms number 16 to 24 are the oldest rooms in the gallery, in particular room number 18, the octagonal Tribune, which houses classic statues and paintings from 15th century Florence. The other rooms contain paintings from the 14th and 15th century from different schools, together with sculptures including Luca Signorelli, Perugino, Albert Durer, Jan Brueghel il Vecchio, Lucas Cranach il Giovane, Giovanni Bellini and Andrea Mantegna.The first room along the third corridor is dedicated to the Florentine painting of the late Renaissance period including Michelangelo, Raffaello, Andrea del Sarto, Pontormo, Rosso Fiorentino and Bronzino.The rooms dedicated to the Venetian school and works from the Emiliano- Ferrara and Central Italy regions, follow on and include the works of Tiziano, with an entire room dedicated to his work ' Venere di Urbino', Palma il Vecchio, Parmigianino, El Greco and Tintoretto. Rooms 41 to 45 house the works of artists from the 16th and 17th century including Rubens, Van Dyck and Justus Sustermans.
The Vasarian Corridor , accessible from the gallery's third corridor, was built in 1565 by Vasari to link the Uffizi to the Pitti Palazzo by means of the Ponte Vecchio. This zone houses works from Italian and foreign artists from the 17th and the 18th century, together with the beginning of the portrait gallery, with works dating back to the 15th century. The Bargello National Gallery, in via Proconsolo, is located in the Podesta building, erected between 1255 and 1345. Opened in 1865 with contributions from the Uffizi, the Mint and the State Archives, the museum is today one of the most important in the world, especially for Florentine Renaissance sculptures, French Medieval ivories and a collection of bronze mannerists. Visitors should see the Donatello Room, with the original moulds used during the competition to design the Baptistery doors.
Walks & ToursEdit
The walk which should be undertaken by first-time visitors to Florence is, above-all, that which leads to Fiesole. These picturesque hills can be reached by bus no. 7, which leaves from the central train station. The area provides the best views over the city and has fine buildings of artistic and archaeological interest including the Duomo, the Roman Theatre and the S. Francesco church, positioned high on a hill, in a position that has won the admiration of poets and writers. Every second Sunday in the month sees the main square host to a characteristic antique market.
- Driving Guide Tours tel. +39.055.632930 . Private excursion in Tuscany with driver guide in luxury sedan and minivan.
Markets & FestivalsEdit
- Second-hand and Flea Market in Piazza dei Ciompi (last Sunday in the month)
- International Antique Show in Palazzo Corsini (September -October)
- Florence's Musical May (end of April to June)
- Internationl Craft Fayre( April-beginning of May), Grillo Festival (Ascension)
- Historic Florentine Football (June)
- San Giovanni Festival, with fashion shows and firework display in Piazza Michelangelo (24 June)
- Rificolona Festival, which takes place on the river Arno (Annunciation) International Antique Festival (odd-numbered years September-October)
- The Estate Fiesolana festival with concerts, dances and plays takes place in the Roman theatre during the summer
It is possible to make excellent purchases in the narrow lanes and streets of Florence. The best time is during the January and July sales. The city centre is rich in all sorts of shops, from used book shops to fashion stores. The widest choice of shops are to be found around Piazza Santa Croce, Piazza dei Compi and Piazza Santo Spirirto. Via Maggio, Festa and Borgo Ognissantii, house fine Florentine antique shops.
Maps and transportationEdit
Getting to FlorenceEdit
Ecologically friendly buses run from Santa Maria Novella Central Station to the centre, calling at Piazza Beccaria, Piazza della Republica, Piazza Ferucci and Oltrarno. Bus number 62 goes to the airport, 12 and 13 run to Piazza Michelangelo, number 7 to Fiesole. Tickets can be bought from ATAF in the station, automatic vending machines and authorized distributors. Tickets are valid for 60 minutes with various options to save on the price, 3-24 hours, 2-3-7 day travel cards and monthly or yearly bus passes. It is possible to travel around the city by bike, a service offered by Florence by Bike, which organizes guided theme tours. The tours last three hours and provides the visitor with views of Rennaissance Florence and the surrounding hills. Have fun gliding through the timeless streets of the Renaissance Pearl that is Florence and discover all her wonders on the coolest ride of the 21st century! The Florence Segway Tour is limited to 8 and a minimum of 2 clients, so it guarantees an intimate and unique experience. After the museums, the monuments and the art, enjoy an exclusive Wine & Cheese Tasting in a typical wine bar located in the heart of Florence. Also included is a detailed explanation of the various flavors and background of the history. Enjoy some of the many delicious tastes of the Tuscany region.
Practical information and resourcesEdit
- Currency : Euro
- Electric supply: 220 Volt, two or three pin plugs
- Climate : typical of the Tyrrenhian region, with mild but rainy winters and warm and dry summers.
- Opening hours : shops are open 9am to 7.30pm except Saturday afternoon in summer and Monday morning in winter. Banks are open Monday to Friday from 8:30 to 1.20pm and from 2.45pm to 3.45pm. The post offices are open from Monday to Saturday from 8.30 to 1.20pm. Restaurants are open from 12:30 to 3:30 pm and from 8pm to mid-night.
- Telephones : the code for Florence is 055
Florence has quite an interesting nightlife scene. Since the city has a steady influx of study abroad students from America, you will always find a party somewhere. Also compactness of the city makes it easy to go from destination to destintion, making pub crawls and club hopping an easy task. Most of the bars tend to cator tourists, so if you really looking for an authentic Italian pub, you might have to look outside of Florence. Depending on your style and taste, Florence has what you are in the mood for. Here are some recommendations
Capocaccia — Lungarno Corsini 12-14, Florence
- Local hangout for the beautiful people who relax over wine at sidewalk tables during the day, and get more than a little merry when the sun goes down. On-street posing is the name of the game, various beauties in black Versace out to attract stares from men in Armani sipping Camparis and sodas nearby. Everyone wears designer shades and the whole scene looks like something out of La Dolce Vita. Judging by the popularity of the place it could be: they have venues in Monte Carlo and Geneva too.
Central Park — Parco delle Cascine, FlorenceEdit
- A summer club where a with it crowd move and groove to live music. There are three floors to choose from so if you are lumbered with a bore, you'll have plenty of places to hide.
Dolce Vita — Piazza del Carmine, 6r, FlorenceEdit
- Classy bar with a large veranda and cosy inner rooms that recalls the high life of Fellini's film. Located on the Piazza del Carmine in front of the church, there's cocktail service all day and small exhibitions and mini-concerts in the little rooms inside. Sit back and chat over classic aperitifs while being serenaded by jazz or classical musicians — not a paparazzo in sight. But where is that Anita Ekberg?
Fusion Bar — Hotel Gallery Art Vicolo dell'Oro 26r, Florence
- Overdid the pasta suppers? Then a trip to Florence’s Fusion Bar may be in order. Though based in the heart of an ancient city, this is a refreshingly contemporary and fashionable place to dine and drink. Foodwise, delectable sushi is the order of the day at this stylish venue based in the Hotel Gallery Art. Overlooking the Arno, it’s a smart and sophisticated place, the sleek design as appealing as the well thought out Asian-influenced food. Everything is immaculately and inventively presented, with the menu, blending Japanese and Italian flavours, drawing a fashionable young crowd. Service is efficient and slick and drinks are equally creative.
The Joshua Tree Pub — Villa della Scala 37r, Florence
- The pub has its own character and energy. It was established in 1997 by two Florentine friends who enjoyed bringing people together. Located on Via della Scala, down the street from Piazza Santa Maria Novella, where on any given night the place can be packed and people pour into the streets. The pub is full of locals of all kinds. No one is alike. Students used to frequent the pub but now mostly the loyal friends and confidants of the pub remain. Joshua is known for their low prices and the long happy hours from 4pm to 9pm, a pint of beer is only 3 euros and a half pint is only 2 euros. An environment a bit dark because of the lack of large windows thus creates a more intimate locale. The cocktails served are just as good. They often broadcast football matches with sky cinema in the pub. When it is game night be sure to get there early to get a seat, it fills up quite fast.
Public House 27 - Via Palazzuolo, 27/r, Florence
- The Public House has recreated the nightlife in and around Piazza Santa Maria Novella. An Irish pub renovated by a group of friends in a film genre with memorabilia of horror, old singers and classic music groups. The atmosphere is quite retro and the staff is very friendly. The popular time to come is during happy hour from 6pm to 9:30pm. A beer will run you only 4 euros. On Tuesday night, it is happy hour from open to close. The other evenings consist of Thursday is live music night, DJ set takes place Friday and Saturday and Sunday is set aside for showing Series A of soccer. They have a vast variety of beers on tap and on occasion they have an artisan beer tasting night where you can taste beers made nearby.
Rex Cafe — Via Fiesolana, Florence
- Large, accommodating pub which for years has been an important meeting place for night owls. With its mosaic design, the pub offers a wide range of aperitifs, drinks, and appetizers all accompanied by music from the various DJs. Special themed nights, shows, etc. Happy hour from 5p.
Twice - Via Verde
- Elegance and innovcation come together to create a comfortable and relaxed atmopsher at Twice. When you enter Twice club you find an elegant bar draped in leather and beautifully lit by Swarowsky chaldeliers where a rich Tuscan buffet is served nightly for L'aperitivo. The wine room is seperated from the main bar by three columns with an elegant crystal display and is furnished with beatiful mahogany tables. Decorated in neutral colors Twice's wine room is an excellent place to relax and enjoy an nice evening out on the town. Once you go further inside Twice club you will find yourself with a 300 sq meter dance floor. At 11PM every night a DJ Set starts accompanied with an entertaining light show on huge projection screens, the music and dancing continues throughout the night.
Space Electronica — Via Palazzuolo 37r, Florence
- If you looking for more of an American style club, big, loud music, lots of Americans, Space is your place. Best nights to go are Friday and Saturday. This two level club is ideal for people are seeking a dance party. The bottom floor has a cool bar surrounded by fish tanks, giving it a unique feel. Venture up the ramp and your lead into one of the biggest dance floors in Italy. The arena style dance floor includes a bar, lounge areas, and in indoor smoking box. If your looking for young American tourists, space is your place on a Friday or Saturday night. Usually is it quite dead during the middle of the week.
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