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For over a millennium, Florence has been a global icon of beauty. Even its lesser-known neighbourhoods are a delight

The cradle of the Renaissance and the world capital of art in the 15th century, it boasts one of the oldest historic centres and some of the most famous museums in the world, as well as one of the most iconic and distinctive landscapes as far as the eye can see. Everything in Florence is spectacular: from the shops to the streets that lead to the hills overlooking the most touristy areas, from the most authentic and popular neighbourhoods, just outside the historic centre, to the monuments that exhibit its soul. 

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Art & Culture
Square of Signoria in Florence at sunrise, Italy

Palazzo Vecchio

The museum on the history of Florence Palazzo della Signoria, or Palazzo Vecchio, with its 94-meter-high medieval tower, is the symbol of the political, cultural and artistic life of Florence. Resting over an ancient Roman theater still visible underground, it has always been the city’s center of power, first hosting Cosimo I De' Medici who expanded the Palace with the help of artists such as Vasari and Buontalenti. When Florence was the Capital of Italy, the Palace became the seat of the Government, and still holds this function as the location of the city hall. Inside it hosts the museum that exhibits the history of the city. On the first floor, you can find the “Salone del Cinquecento”, one of the largest and most representative halls of the Palace. At the beginning of the sixteenth century, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarroti were commissioned to paint two glorious episodes of the military history of Florence, respectively, the Battle of Anghiari (1440) and the Battle of Cascina (1364), but neither of the two artists completed the work. The current appearance of the room is by Giorgio Vasari. The coffered ceiling, decorated with 42 cassettes, depicts important episodes in the history of Florence, including the foundation of the city in Roman times and the expansion of the walls in medieval times. At the center, Cosimo I stands as the lord of the city and lands annexed to the duchy, surrounded by the insignia of the twenty-one Arts, or guilds, and by cherubs bearing the emblems of his house. In the Salone, there are extraordinary masterpieces such as Michelangelo's Genius of Victory. In the Mezzanine, you can admire typical furnishings of ancient stately homes and works of art from the Middle Ages and Renaissance. On the second floor, there are additional monumental rooms such as Sala delle Carte Geografiche [Geographical maps] and globe, Sala dei Gigli where the original of Donatello's Judith is located and paintings by Bronzino, in the Chapel of Duchess Eleonora. In the basement of the palace, it is possible to follow an archaeological route through the excavations of the Roman Theater.

The city that symbolises the Renaissance

This open-air art gallery, admired around the world, is the perfect destination for holidays dedicated to culture, and also to great food and drink. Its vibrant soul fills the streets, brimming with architecture, churches, museums, small art workshops and artists ready for impromptu performances. Last but not least, it is also a benchmark for fashion.

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