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Welcome to Florence


City Breaks to Florence

The cradle of the renaissance, Florence is a treasure chest of paintings, sculptures and terracotta-domed buildings. Everywhere there are stunning sights and tributes to great artists like Michelangelo, Leonard De Vinci and Botticelli. Art is the essence of Florence and it is important to experience all that this little river-side town has to offer. The delights of the Tuscan fare and fine wines which can be found in the many trattorias and restaurants combine to make Florence an ideal choice for a short break at any time of the year with our last minute city breaks & short break deals to Florence.


Information & Facts


Florence is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, packed with churches, cathedrals, art galleries and museums like the Cattedrale de Santa Maria del Fiore, the church of Santa Croce, the Galleria degli Uffizi. The city houses some of the finest examples of renaissance art on display. One of the key pieces on view is Michelangelo’s David which stands proud in the Academia Gallery. 

While museums and architecture are visually appealing there is more to this city and region to be enjoyed on city breaks to Florence from Dublin. Cross the River Arno to the Giardino di Boboli with its fountains and the Pitti Palace or sip a coffee in Piazza della Signoria in the historic centre and watch the world go by. With a one day tour around the region of Tuscany taking in the beautiful scenery, you could enjoy in the vineyards surrounding Florence with a wine tasting tour. 

You will be able to shop til you drop on Via de' Tornabuoni, Florence's main shopping street, where luxury fashion houses and jewellery stores can be found. For more reasonable prices try The Mall, a designer outlet with labels such as Alexander McQueen, Gucci, Fendi and Burberry. Visit the Ponte Vecchio, where jewellery shops line the sides of the medieval bridgeor try out the local markets, such as San Lorenzo, a popular spot for souvenirs and leather goods. Start you shopping trip on one of our unforgettable cheap weekend breaks to Florence from Ireland.


Florence enjoys a humid, subtropical climate. Summers are hot and muggy with temperatures higher than those found along the coast. Relief rainfall prevails in the winter, with cool to cold temperatures and occasional snow.


The official language of Italy is Italian. English is understood in the larger cities but not in the more remote parts of the country.


The Euro (EUR) is the official currency, which is divided into 100 cents. Those arriving in Italy with foreign currency can obtain Euros through any bank, ATM or bureaux de change. ATMs are widespread. Travellers cheques can be exchanged with ease in the large cities, not so in the smaller towns. Credit cards are accepted in upmarket establishments and shops around the cities. Banks are closed on weekends, but tend to have better rates than casas de cambios.

The Gallerie dell'Academia houses one of Europe's finest art collections. Its display follows the progression of Venetian art from the 14th to 18th centuries. Notable works in the gallery include Paolo Veneziano's Coronation of Mary, Carpaccio's Crucifixion and Apotheosis, Giovanni Bellini's Madonna with Child between Saints Catherine and Mary Magdalene, Giorgione's Tempest, Lorenzo Lotto's Portrait of a Young Gentleman in His Studio, Paolo Veronese's Feast in the House of Levi, and Tintoretto's Theft of St Mark's Body and Crucifixion.

Originally owned by the wealthy banker Luca Pitti, the Palazzo later became the property of the Medici family. It is a grand structure that now boasts no less than seven museums. Amongst these are the Medici treasures that are showcased in the Museo degli Argenti, the Museum of Costumes and the Porcelain Museum. The Galleria d'Arte Moderna provides a fascinating display of works from the Macchiaioli school - early 19th-century proto-impressionist paintings - as well as a collection of Neoclassical and Romantic art. Extending behind the palace are the elaborately landscaped and beautifully maintained Giardino Boboli (Boboli Gardens). The most celebrated aspect of the gardens is the Grotta del Buontalenti, located close to the entrance. In the deepest recess of the cave is the sculpture Venus Emerging from her Bath, attended by curious imps. Another notable structure is the enormous amphitheatre designed on a scale to serve the Medici's tastes.

Santa Maria del Fiore, the Duomo or Cathedral of Florence, is set in the heart of the city and perches above the metropolis like an emperor before his subjects. Its most distinctive feature is the enormous dome, designed by Filippo Brunelleschi and built between 1420 and 1436. Visitors can climb between the two shells of the cupola for an unrivalled panorama of the city.

The original Gothic exterior was destroyed in 1587 so that it could be replaced by the styling of the High Renaissance. However, this vision died prematurely with its patron, the Grand Duke Francesco de Medici, and the funding to build the neo-Gothic façade that we see today was not found until the 19th Century. The Campanile (bell tower) was built according to Giotto's designs in 1334, and is an elegant prop to Brunelleschi's stout Cathedral. The tower is decorated with two garlands of bas-reliefs, strung around its pink, white and green marble façade. Above, sculptures of the Prophets and Sybils, carved by Donatello, look down upon the city below.

The Campanile can also be climbed for the magnificent views over the square and the adjacent cathedral. The neighbouring Baptistry, with its famous doors designed by Lorenzo Ghiberti, is one of Florence's oldest buildings and was originally a pagan temple. The gilded brass doors, dubbed the 'Gates of Paradise', were commissioned in 1401 to mark Florence's deliverance from the plague. The original panels are in the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo (the Duomo Works Museum), which exists largely to safeguard the sculptures removed from the doors and niches around the Piazza del Duomo. The museum also contains the machines used in the construction of the cathedral's dome, and has displays devoted to the problematic construction of the cathedral's façade. A room containing Ghiberti's baptistry doors provides an opportunity to closely examine the stiacciatorelief technique used.

Other noteworthy artefacts found in the museum include Michelangelo's Pieta, the carved figures of Donatello's Prophetsas well as his Magdalenesculpture. In the anteroom are Andrea Pisano's panels from the first few levels of the bell tower.

The Ponte Vecchio's status as the oldest bridge in Florence saved it from destruction during the Nazi retreat from Italy in 1944. They defied orders to blow up the stately bridge straddling the Arno River and bombed the ancient buildings on the either side of it instead. The Arno Flood of 1966 also tested the bridge's resilience, and swept parts of it away in its powerful current. The most affected sections were the iconic overhanging shops belonging to the gold and silversmiths. In 1593 the original tenants - butchers, tanners and blacksmiths - were evicted from the workshops because of the noise and stench they created. To one side of the bridge is the majestic bust of the most famous Florentine goldsmith, Benvenuto Cellini. Perched above the shops is a secret passageway, the Vasari Corridor, providing an elevated link to the Palazzo Pitti via the Uffizi. It was the private walkway of the Medicis who could move between the various residences without having to rub shoulders with the riff raff.

Santa Croce, a magnificent Gothic church built in 1294, contains the tombs of many celebrated Florentines such as Michelangelo, Galileo, Ghiberti and Machiavelli. The Gothic interior is graced by the radiant frescoes of Giotto and his pupil Taddeo Gaddi, and integrated into the cloister next to the church is Brunelleschi's Pazzi Chapel( Cappella de' Pazzi). When Lord Byron first laid eyes on the church he declared himself 'drunk with beauty'.

Michelangelo's Davidstands self-assured above the crowds that flock to admire him at the Accademia Gallery. In the hallway leading up to the famous sculpture are further examples of Michelangelo's genius in the figures of the four Prisoners. The statues were deliberately left unfinished, revealing the marble in its unfashioned state.

This Gothic Palazzo shelters a treasured national collection of Renaissance sculpture. Before its renovation to become Italy's first national museum, the building, constructed in 1255, functioned as a town hall, private residence and prison. An extensive collection of decorative art is on display, in addition to the magnificent sculptures of Michelangelo, Donatello, Giambologna and Cellini. The Palazzo's inner courtyard is ornamented with numerous coats of arms and the grand stairwell leading to the second-story loggiaoverflows with bronze birds created for the Medici's gardens. Other notable displays include an Islamic collection, an assortment of ivories (the largest collection in the world) and 16th-century majolica porcelain from Urbino, Faenza and Florence.

The Uffizi is one of the world's greatest art galleries, with a collection of Renaissance paintings that includes the works of Giotto, Masaccio, Paolo Ucello, Sandro Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Titian and Caravaggio. The collection is housed on the top floor of a building designed as the offices ( uffizi) of the Medici, commissioned by Duke Cosimo I. From 1581, Cosimo's heirs used the upper storey to display the Medici art treasures. Ancient Greek and Roman sculptures line the inner corridors of the gallery and a series of rooms jut off from here, showcasing the chronological development of Florentine art from Gothic to High Renaissance and beyond. The scale and magnitude of the collection may need to be enjoyed over two visits. Rooms 1-15 (Florentine Renaissance) could be explored more thoroughly on the first trip and on the next visit one could concentrate on rooms 16 to 45 (from High Renaissance to later Italian and European paintings).

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