Florence – Gateway to Tuscany

Florence is the capital of the Tuscany region and Firenze province, in central Italy. Located approx. 230km (145 miles) northwest of Rome, Florence is surrounded by gorgeous hills covered with vineyards, farms, villas, and orchards. It is a city noted for its Renaissance architecture, with traces of medieval, Neoclassical, Baroque, and modern architecture, culture, and monuments. It was rightfully declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. One of its most enchanting natural attractions is the Arno River, the most renowned and largest river in the Tuscany region, running from Mt. Falterona and entering the Tyrrhenian Sea, after cutting through Florence. The river is said to have an unpredictable behaviour. You may see its water levels being close to non-existent and then rise to almost flood level in just a few days. It is a beautiful site to relax, and the grand building lining it add nicely to the overall atmosphere. Florence provides another spot for enjoyment and leisure, away from the crowded city centre. The Giardino di Boboli (Boboli Gardens) is a 32-hectare (79-acre) land behind the Pitti Palace, now holding a lovely collection of grottos, fountains, and sculptures.

Sunset over Florence

Sunset over Florence

Florence is the city of numerous art galleries, such as the Uffizi Gallery and the Academia Galleria (Academy Gallery) that hosts Michelangelo’s David. Its architectural and artistic heritage also includes museums, churches, and monuments. A landmark of the city is the Santa Maria del Fiore domed cathedral, also known as The Duomo. Six centuries after its completion and the dome is still the world’s largest mortar and brick dome. Other highlights include the nearby Baptistery and Campanile buildings. Besides the Cathedral (the Duomo), the Palazzo Vecchio is another building dominating the skyline. As for the historic centre of Florence, it contains 14th century medieval walls and the masterpiece of marble sculpture, the still functioning Fountain of Neptune.  At the Piazza della Signoria, you can find numerous statues created by famous Ammannati, Giambologna, Cellini, and Donatello. Expect to be mesmerised by the oldest bridge in Florence, the charismatic Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) that will take you back in time as it stands intact after the Second World War. Aside from monuments, Florence also contains several streets, such as the bustling Via Camillo Cavour and the Via Ghibellina, alongside piazza (squares), such as the Piazza della Repubblica, the Piazza San Marco, and the Piazza Santa Croce, among many others, thriving with life. Fashion boutiques are strongly present at the luxurious Via de’ Tornabuoni street.

Michelangelo's David

Michelangelo’s David

Florence cuisine is distinguished by peasant eating, and the majority of dishes are meat-based. Among the most famous Tuscany flavours is the saltless Tuscan bread that complements soups. A Florentine specialty is the T-bone steak prepared on chestnut wood. Served with a drizzle of olive oil, pepper, and salt, it provides a clean flavour and mouth-melting texture with the use of the finest artisanal ingredients, just like with all meat and fish dishes. At the three-Michelin-star restaurant Enoteca Pinchiorri, you can please your palate with dishes such as Crawfish with Thyme and Courgettes, stewed with bacon and onions. As for their wine cellar, it is world-renowned and houses more than 120.000 bottles of the finest Tuscan wine. Other restaurants offering superb tastes of the Florentine gastronomy include the Cibrèo, Alle Murate, and Il Palagio restaurants. The Chocolate and Hazelnut Caramel Ice-Cream Cylinder is the latter’s specialty. However, a traditional dessert includes the Schiacciata alla Fiorentina.  Finally, a typical dish served during the summer months is the Panzanella (salad of fresh veggies and bread).

Holiday House Villa Le Piazzole (Accommodation Code: IT5270.740.1) is a 55m2 2-room house nicely situated on the Tuscan hills overlooking the beautiful countryside. It is only 3km from the Firenze centre, 5km from the Palazzo Pitti, and 4km from the Piazzale Michelangelo. Others attractions nearby are the Impruneta (9km), the Greve in Chianti (25km), and the San Casciano Val di Pesa (13km). As for those enjoying golf, the 18-hole golf course is 8km far. Right next to the property, you will find agricultural products (e.g. wine, olive oil) that you can buy. With an exit to a beautiful garden and a lovely open-hearth fireplace, it is the perfect retreat for you, your family, and your pet.

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