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"Mesmorising Firenze" Florence by swissfondue

Florence Travel Guide: 5,320 reviews and 12,182 photos

Oh how I love thee, let me count the ways.

If I did try to count the ways it would take an extraordinary long time as for me personally, Florence is without question one of the most beautiful cities in Italy, both inside and out. Its charms are enjoyed by many, many visitors each year so my best advice is to be prepared to share its history, culture, museums and Renaissance architecture with a milling wide-eyed throng, all with cameras at the ready (and maybe iphones).

Historically known as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, Florence was at that time considered to be one of the most important cities in the world largely due to the controlling influence of the Medici family. Much of the stunning art and sculpture on display in the city's museums, galleries and villas was commisioned during the family's "reign" and remains as timeless today as the artists themselves. Both Michaelangelo and Donatello were benefactors of Medici patronage.

If you become overwhelmed by Florence and I do on occasion, you may need to recouperate briefly from processing the sheer beauty of it all. If this happens there are some nice quiet pockets throughout the city where you can find a secret spot to just sit quietly and reflect on all you have seen.

But be aware that these moments are priceless. Not wanting to miss a single moment you will, at some point, have to return to sharing Florence with other like minded travellers all trying to cram hundreds, even thousands of photo opportunities into a short timeframe. Oh, and I haven't mentioned the queues...and once you get inside... all that reading !! (not a huge fan of audioguides I'm afraid).

Aside from the locals who I imagine must get tired of tripping over tourists, up to 2 million visitors traverse the city and its surrounds annually. So what brings so many people to Florence? What do they all come to see? More than they can possibly imagine.

Florence potentially more than any other city (I know, I'm in love) has an abundance of absolutely essential must sees, some say too many for one visit. Here is my list...

  • Intro Updated Nov 30, 2011
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