Italians have a saying, ‘nella botte piccola c’è il vino buono’ – in small barrels there is good wine, which is basically the Italian way of saying that good things come in small packages.
And nothing demonstrates this more than Florence herself.
For all her historical importance, her mainstay as a global hub for arts, artists and artisans, and her impact on world fashion and more, Florence’s historic city centre is tiny. Really, teeny-tiny.
In fact, Florence’s city centre can be crossed on foot, one side to the other, in around 20 minutes of walking – that is, if you can resist stopping to admire the dazzling window displays, stunning architecture and that distracting head-turning glam of the well-dressed locals!
Recently, the centre has also been closed to traffic so the streets are even more conducive to take a wonderful stroll around.
The famous city centre of Florence is formed like a semi-circle, the base of which runs along the banks of the Arno River. Held within this arch is a rich and stunning testament to the greatness of man’s creations, and a few wonderfully scandalous tales and murderous intrigue to boot!
Most of the must-see sights of Florence you see on postcards, calendars, films on Italy and the like are but a short walking distance from each other.
Connected by a series of winding and weaving cobble-stoned streets, touring the city centre of Florence you pass famous sculptures, frescoes and statues, illustrious buildings and stunning churches at each turn. There is the unforgettable Duomo, the charming Santa Trinita and the elegant Orsanmichele, for example. Then there are the amazing must-see sights of Florence’s Baptistery, Bell Tower, Gates of Paradise, Brunelleschi’s Dome, Vasari’s Corridor, Piazza della Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio, Ponte Vecchio, and other not-to-miss places just a skip and a jump apart.
So close are these monuments of Florence that you could walk the distance comfortably in high-heels if you were so ‘inclined’ to do so (excuse the pun).
And that is exactly what the local ladies do each afternoon or evening, as they step out in the kind of style only a Florentine woman has, often arm-in-arm with an equally well-dressed and charming Florentine man, on their way to a pre-dinner aperitif perhaps, or to dine in one of the many great restaurants in Florence, or maybe just to enjoy the charm of Florence’s stunning city centre.
Mixed in amongst the must-see sights in Florence are the artisan stores where gold jewellery and leather goods stores where Florentine jewels, bags, shoes and belts have been carefully crafted throughout the centuries.
Then there are the food stores where top-quality Tuscan ingredients are proudly peddled and purchased in turn, destined to be consumed around antique wooden tables in marbled-floored apartments where families and friends gather to enjoy not only the delicious foods of Florence and Tuscany, but the good company that adds that extra spice to any meal (and a good bottle of Tuscan wine never goes astray either!).
And as if it were ever possible to forget, Florence is also the home of one of the world’s greatest collections of artwork, housed in the must-visit museum in Florence’s Uffizi Gallery. There is also what is considered to be the greatest artwork ever created with no small feat (and not small feet for that matter, either!) – Michelangelo’s David currently residing the Accademia museum.
You too can experience the highlights and must-sees of Florence, enjoying fabulous stories that bring the past to life on one of our expertly-guided Florence city walking tours – The Original Florence Walk. Our Florence walking tour is run by the only Florence tour company recommended by just about every major travel guide, and featured on a BBC World, History and Discovery channel documentary with Michael Palin. Hear how Florence’s 2000 years of tumultuous history changed the world forever.
Hear about astounding events that shocked the Florentines. Discover why Florence became one of the greatest art centers the world has ever seen. Find out who was buried alive near the Duomo and learn why Michelangelo never forgave Leonardo da Vinci.
Artviva Walking Tours has a super-discounted Grand Tour Italy discounted tour package including small-group tours in Rome, Venice guided tours, and small-group tours in Florence.
To explore other areas of Italy, can check out our Artviva Walking Tours website to read more about the tours we have to offer in Florence, Rome, Venice, Cinque Terre, Umbria, Naples, Pompeii and more.