The entire Tuscany region is awash with the best pasta, pizza and scenery in Europe, but there are a few particular highlights, and Florence is one of them. Although the city is probably more overcrowded than is comfortable these days, there is still a huge amount of beauty, architecture and culture to be soaked up!
The wealth and glory of Florence are somewhat faded, but the remarkable and rapid rise of this small city about an hour from Pisa is fascinating. The Medici family, the beginnings of banking in Europe and the impressive constructions all revolve around the business of money.
The photo above shows the famous Ponte Vecchio, and one of my favourite things about Florence is that you can literally see a trail of power and money from the Palacio Vecchio, over the Ponte Vecchio and to the Palacio Pitti. This covered and private trail (you can still see the windowed corridor above the bridge) allowed the enormously wealthy Medici family members to commute about the city without having to see or interact with the rest of the population.
I wouldn't consider myself a great art lover, even though I have a serious history obsession, but that being said, the Uffizi Gallery (seen above) was incredible. It's one of the largest and most popular in Italy, and is around the 25th most visited art gallery in the world.
The dominating Duomo Cathredral, Uffizi Gallery and the rest are all amazing, but I actually enjoyed the quieter, less visited parts of Florence more. Certainly the streets are not close to being able to cope with modern traffic and tourism, but off the main roads and trails, there is a treasure chest of smaller palaces, medieval cloisters and squares that are absolutely worth exploring.
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