Florence was once the driving force of the Italian Renaissance and an important centre for trade. But even with today's population of just over 300,000, the compact city centre leaves visitors feeling right at home. The might of Michelangelo's David, the famed Uffizi gallery and the instantly-recognisable Duomo cathedral; with stunning art and architecture at every turn, it's no wonder so many are drawn here come rain or shine. Whilst older visitors will be charmed by the views from the River Arno and the choice shopping along the Ponte Vecchio bridge, art-lovers will be blown away by magnificent church interiors and grand tombs. The younger crowd will also enjoy discovering the secrets of Florence's nightlife; in Tuscan eateries and hidden cocktail bars around the maze of cobbled streets.
Florence owns a varied mix of deluxe 5-star accommodation, individual guesthouses and budget downtown hotels. Staying in B & Bs around the historical centre is easy with many attractive converted mansion houses within walking distance of the piazzas and museums. Low-cost 1 and 2 star hotels are also in plentiful supply, many located in traditional Florentine homes near the railway station and main attractions. Over the river, visitors will find farmhouse guesthouses perched in the beautiful Mugello hills.
Florence is serviced by local Vespucci Airport but with Santa Maria Novella station on the national rail network, connections to airports in Rome and Pisa are quick and hassle-free. International coach companies also run services here. Once arrived, most visitors find that the pedestrianised streets are best explored on foot, with taxis available for evenings and transferring luggage.