Florence. Firenze. Birthplace of the Renaissance. Home of Leonardo, Michelangelo, Botticelli, and the Medicis. Site of Brunelleschi’s Dome and the Ponte Vecchio. A major stop on the Grand Tour of every young Englishman during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. One of the most-visited European cities in this century.

Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo

Florence is intense. And not just because of all that art and history. Its historical centre is small, easily covered on foot, and jam-packed with tourists.

The Arno from Piazzale Michelangelo

The key to enjoying Florence is to not resent the crowds ― everyone is there for the same reason you are. If you can, visit Florence in the off season.  And, if that’s not possible, get up early, and explore as much of the city’s piazzas and narrow streets before the rest of the world is up and about. You won’t regret it.

Copy of Michelangelo’s David in Piazza della Signoria

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