Florence Holidays

Renaissance art and phenomenal architecture meet high fashion on holidays to Florence.

Florence is all about intriguing Medici history, Michelin-starred restaurants and museums that silently hold tight to prized works of art. As you make your second or third mouth-watering gelato stop of the day, strolling the exclusive jewellery shops lining Ponte Vecchio, or sauntering into the newly opened Gucci Garden you’ll start to see how history and style are merging in this architecturally rich city. The most ancient bridge in the city now trades on the allure of diamonds and the designer stores on Via Tornabuoni intertwine with 13th-Century palaces and the medieval Palazzo Spini-Fertoni. Florence holidays unveil Renaissance masterpieces in the Uffizi Gallery and Michelangelo’s graffiti on the walls nearby; vespas whizz through narrow streets in frivolous Florentine style and the steps up to the Duomo’s cupola or a stroll through the elegant 16th-Century Boboli Gardens deliver spellbinding rewards.

Just before dusk it’s time to get the camera out, as amber rays land on architectural Italian treasures – Duomo – Florence Cathedral, the Church of Santa Croce and the sculptures in Piazzale Michelangelo. There’s a golden time of day in Florence – la passeggiata. It’s a stylish affair, heralding the start of each evening, with everyone spilling out into fairytale piazzas to dress up, socialise and enjoy a campari sprtizer. Join this customary pre-dinner stroll for a real sense of what the Italians love – glorious chit-chat, spontaneity and the uniting of young and old. It’s the same harmony seen throughout our hand-picked Florence holidays – a city steeped in breathtaking history but not afraid of getting ever-so cosmopolitan. For a shift in scenery your passage out of the city takes you by foot into Tuscan countryside, or, less than an hour by high-speed train, to Pisa.

Whether you want a chic boutique hotel behind the Duomo or a 15th-Century building on the banks of the River Arno, give one of our Personal Travel Experts a call and we’ll craft your dream Florence holiday.

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Florence Hotels

Our recommendations for the best places to stay in Florence

Hotel Brunelleschi

A historic and romantic hotel in the heart of Florence.

Hotel Silla

A tranquil choice on the banks of the River Arno.

Gallery Hotel Art

Modern design boutique hotel just steps from the Ponte Vecchio and Uffizi Gallery.

Hidden Florence

Appreciate the exquisite garden architecture of Florence on a half-day tour of the city's ancient heart. On this private tour, you’ll tour Florence's parks and secret gardens with expert insight from your guide. You’ll visit the Gardens Giardino de’ Semplici, a botanical garden created for medicinal plants in 1545 that’s among the oldest gardens in the world. A visit to Boboli Garden shows you the classic Italian garden style, dotted with ancient and Renaissance statues and beautiful grottos and fountains. You’ll stop for a delightfully authentic Tuscan lunch served with wine.

• Duration: half day
• Time: 10am to 3pm
• Daily departures from Florence
• Operates year-round
• Private experience

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The Wines of Florence

Taste the best of Florence’s food and famous Chianti on a half-day private tour. Your experience begins by walking through the old Florentine traditional winemakers, peeking into the city’s wine windows. These small arched windows were first used to serve food and wine during the bubonic plague in the 17th century and give insight and historical context into Florence’s long winemaking history. Some expert insight and the opportunity to taste wine follow on a visit to a palace of the Renaissance. You’ll join a professional wine-tasting session with the local gastronomic specialities and local canapes.

• Daily departures from Florence
• Operates year-round
• Private experience

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Florence: Home of the Medici

Delve into the lives of the famous Medici family on an illuminating morning, reliving the splendour of 15th-century Florence on a private walking tour. The legacy of the Medici family is found in Florence’s monuments, piazzas and historic buildings. On a private tour, you’ll be let in on the family secrets and their stories of love and hate as you hear about Lorenzo the Magnificent and other family members as you walk through the most beautiful streets of the city, including the Duomo Square, the characteristic district of San Lorenzo with Palazzo Medici and Piazza Della Signoria, up to the Ponte Vecchio. Your walk concludes with an aperitif in one of the cafés in the centre of this beautiful city

• Duration: half day
• Time: 9.30am to 12.30pm
• Daily departures from Florence
• Operates year-round
• Private experience

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Gelato Making Class

Dedicate two hours to learning how to make authentic Italian gelato from the experts in the heart of Florence. Over a memorable morning, you’ll meet a master gelato-maker at an authentic family-run gelateria in the centre of Florence to learn the art of making delicious ice cream. Hear the secrets of genuine Italian gelato and learn how fresh, seasonal ingredients are the only way to make the perfect flavours.

• Duration: 2 hours
• Time: 10am to midday
• Daily departures from Florence
• Operates year-round
• Group experience

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Tuscan Leather and Perfume Experience

The skilled craftsmanship in Florence is world-renowned. Join a half-day walking tour to discover two of the city’s most famous crafts: leather and perfume. Your tour begins with a visit to the Florentine Leather School in the Santa Croce district to learn about the history of the work procedures and the Gilding and watch a demonstration of craft techniques. Next, you’ll visit a perfume laboratory where intoxicating aromas fill the air, and you’ll have the chance to shop for your favourite scents.

• Duration: half day
• Time: 10am to 1pm
• Daily departures from Florence
• Operates year-round
• Private experience

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Tuscan Cooking Class

Spend an evening learning how to create traditional Italian dishes and enjoy them with wine over a memorable dinner. During a private cooking lesson in a palace in Florence, you’ll create a menu you’ve decided on in advance. Under the expert guidance of a chef, you’ll get an introduction to traditional Italian dishes along with the appropriate pairing of wines. After preparing the dishes, you’ll sit to enjoy your meal paired with wine.

• Duration: evening
• Time: 4pm to 7.30pm
• Daily departures from Florence
• Operates year-round
• Private experience

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San Gimignano Cooking Class

Join a half-day or evening group cooking class at a country wine estate in the rolling hills around San Gimignano. On arrival, you’ll be welcomed by the winery staff and the chef for a walk in the vegetable garden to choose and harvest the seasonal vegetables for the dishes. Led by Italian chefs, you’ll prepare a delicious four-course menu in the open air, using only the freshest ingredients for homemade pasta, typical sauces, meat, and dessert. The menu may vary by season and will be paired with a selection of wines from the estate.

• Duration: half day or evening
• Times: 10am to 1pm or 5pm to 8pm • Daily departures on self-drives from Florence
• Operates year-round
• Group experience

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Get to know Florence and those important practicalities when planning your perfect holiday.

Capital
TIME DIFFERENCE

GMT +1 hour

CURRENCY

Euro

FLYING TIME TO DESTINATION

2¼ hours

RELIGION

Christianity (Roman Catholic)

LANGUAGE

Italian

Where is Florence?
The capital and biggest city in north-east Tuscany lies in central Italy about 90 miles northwest of Rome and just an hour by high-speed train from Pisa. It’s compact in size and surrounded by the olive groves and vineyards of the Tuscan countryside.

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Culture
Tuscany’s capital is the birthplace of the Renaissance and you’d be hard pressed not to be bowled over by the old masters and intricate frescoes hidden floor-to-ceiling inside some of the most beautiful buildings in the world. Top of the list is the Uffizi Gallery and Galleria dell’Accademia for Michelangelo’s ‘David and Botticelli’s Venus. The cultural trail continues with ancient bridges, palaces, churches and museums including Ghiberto’s Doors of Paradise, the Bargello and Brunelleschi’s Palazzo Pitti.

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Getting around Florence is delightfully walkable. Its small size means you can walk from one end of the historic city centre to the other in less than an hour, although this doesn’t account for all the gelato shops and architectural gems you’ll want to stop at along the way. There’s no hailing a taxi here, but there are dedicated ranks and hop on/hop off buses to take you to all the major sights. Day trips to Pisa, Lucca and Siena are quick and easy by train from the city centre Santa Maria Novella station.

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Food & drink
Authentic Italian gelato artiginale, that famous Florentine Chianina cattle T-bone steak, buttery truffle gnocchi and street-food pizzas… everything is mouth-watering and head-turning whichever way you look. Perhaps not the tripe, but it’s a local specialty that may be worth the try. The Italians are food and wine lovers, so look out for cafes with wood-fire ovens and home-style Tuscan food, restaurants with acclaimed wine cellars and word-of-mouth trattorias and osterias. Expect plenty of canoli and coffee breaks in pretty piazzas, sweet treats and aperitivo on Via Roma and Michelin-starred dining in Renaissance palaces.

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Shopping
Florence’s medieval streets are flooded with chic boutiques, traditional leather stores, high street fashion and antique jewellers. Via Tornabuoni is famed for its designer stores and the roads off of elegant Piazza della Repubblica have the high street fashion shops. You’ll find plenty of flea markets while wandering, selling everything from souvenirs to traditional leather goods, and high-end antique jewellers along the River Arno. Step back in time inside Santa Maria Novella Perfumery where 17th-Century cabinetry and beautiful frescoed walls are lined with irresistible perfumes, soaps and elixirs, and for an affordable but special souvenir of Florence, head to Il Papiro near Piazza Pitti to pick up marbled cards and stationery

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Florence Weather

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