Holiday the Italian Way in Florence Italy. Visit during winter and experience all the charm with none of the tourist crowds.
If winter weather has you down, shake things up this year by hopping a flight to the Birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence, Italy.
The real question is why go anywhere else? Florence is a hotbed of culture, boasting some of most famous works of art ever created. Michelangelo’s David is perhaps the most iconic, but there are plenty of other pieces of art and architecture to see that don’t involve standing in a line or causing a cathedral-sized gap in your wallet. Here are a few of the best free attractions in the city:
- Santa Maria del Fiore – Known as the Florence Cathedral and heralded as the third largest place of worship on Earth, the cathedral is a masterpiece of meticulous detail. While admission is required for an inside tour, the exterior is a sight to behold in and of itself. Dedicated in 1412, this architectural wonder predates the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista (the oldest church in the US) by more than a century.
- Basilica San Miniato al Monte – An occupied site where monks work and worship daily, respectful conduct is a necessity. It’s a hike up a steep mountainside but worth the exercise. Visitors suggest taking the #12 bus if climbing isn’t part of your plan. Trip Advisor rates this Tuscan Romanesque site #11 on the list of Things to do in Florence.
- Museums – Minors have complimentary access to all state museums, including the world-renowned Uffizi Gallery, which exhibits statues and paintings by Raffaello, da Vinci, and Botticelli to name a few. Adults must pay the $30 entry fee, but that’s a small price for the privilege to view hundreds of art and artifacts outshined only by the Vatican Museum in Rome. Other children-go-free museums include the Museum of the Medici Chapels and the Pitti Palace, through each requires a paying adult.
As a tourist-heavy town, Florence has its share of subpar eateries, but also many wonderful dining spots for travelers who have done their homework. If you’re willing to invest in the experience, Fodor’s Travel reports there are many more restaurants and cafés that shouldn’t be missed. Some local favorites include:
- Perini — Located at the Mercato Centrale (central market), Perini is an Italian establishment that serves up what is arguably the best salumeria, a type of Italian cold cut. Although closed on Sunday, Perini caters to discerning taste buds six days a week with an assortment of prosciutto, pasta sauces, and antipasti.
- Mario — A local favorite, Mario is a family owned and operated trattoria and is therefore less formal than upscale dining establishments. Built in 1536, the building is an attraction in itself and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to meet and greet new friends as Mario utilizes available table space in lieu of seating each party individually.
How to enjoy your Florence vacation
An authentic experience starts by picking the brains of the people who live in this historic city. If possible, avoid high tourist season in May and October so you won’t fight quite so many crowds. Lee Marshall, destination expert for The Telegraph UK, notes that the best tour guides operate locally so look for an individual or company with deep ties to the city.
Travel, the gift that keeps on giving
Regardless of where you choose to spend your vacation, there are few downsides to travel, especially where physical and mental health are concerned. Traveling abroad is especially beneficial for people looking to get a broader view on the world. And, not only does breaking from your regular schedule provide measurable stress relief, travel can also thwart seasonal affective disorder, a type of depression common throughout the winter months. Studies suggest that people who travel reap the rewards long before leaving the tarmac as the anticipation offers mood-enhancing benefits as does the simple act of planning a vacation.
If you’re looking for a unique experience, look no further than Florence. With cultural immersion and an abundant of palate pleasing cuisine, this irresistible Italian town makes the perfect holiday escape.
About The Author: Brandon is a dog lover and vet tech. He loves helping pet owners by sharing advice on FurandFeathers.info.
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