Evidence shows that there once was a settlement around the area in the 6th and 7th century BC, and in the first century, Florence became a Roman military settlement. In the 11th century, the city prospered and was able to revive itself even after the Plague. In the 18th century, Florence fell under Austrian control, then by the Germans in WWII. For a brief period, Florence was the capital until it was moved to Rome.
Even though the city underwent a horrible flood in the 20th century, it was once again able to recover and today, the city has become one of the most popular destinations in Italy and the world. So if you are planning a trip to this gorgeous place, or even want to go back, here are some highlights we love and you may too.
Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy
Established in the 12th century CE, Officina Profumo Farmaceutica is one of the oldest pharmacies in Europe and sells both medication and perfume. The moment you step inside, the interior will take you back in time—from the furniture all the way to the cashier. Officina Profumo Farmaceutica is a true gem, plus, you can find a unique gift for yourself or someone back home.
For the best views of the city, we recommend you check out Arnolfo Tower, part of Palazzo Vecchio. This tower has 233 steps so your legs may shake a little if you’re not a stair master, but the views are rewarding! Unlike the other towers in Florence, Arnolfo is not as narrow, making it easier to climb up and down. Once you reach the top, what you see is breathtaking and will be worth those stairs.
Secret Passages Tour
Florence offers a unique tour that you can book with a few groups, one of which is Caf Tour and Travel, offering a guided tour including lunch. If you’ve ever read Dan Brown’s book, Inferno, then you may remember the secret passage underneath the Hall of Maps, and yes, it does exist. This passages tour will take you through several secret ones in Florence, but you must book in advance as space is limited to only 10 people with only a few tours a day. It’s such an interesting activity and piece of history that can amaze almost anyone.
Basilica of San Miniato al Monte
Basilica of San Miniato al Monte is the oldest church in Florence and is located a little outside of the center of the city. However, it’s over 1,000 years old (built in the 10th century), and is beautifully decorated both inside and out. It’s less crowded here and the views of the city are also spectacular. During the day you can see all of Florence from the cemetery, and if you go here towards the evening, you can watch the sunset too.
Club Culinario is a local favorite and a hidden gem in Florence. The restaurant serves traditional Italian cuisine that’s incredibly delicious, such as the antipasta, puntarelle and risotto, eggplant parmigiana and umbrichelli pasta with sausage and truffle. All the pasta is homemade, so you can expect only the best. Club Culinario is small yet cozy—perfect for a romantic date or just an intimate dinner with friends without all the chaos you may get in a larger, more touristy restaurant.
The amazing and historically-rich city of Florence offers its visitors so much to do, see and taste. From museums and mom and pop shops to monuments and traditional Italian restaurants, Florence is a must-visit. If you are heading to this Italian destination, we hope this guide will help you decide on some fun places to check out while you’re there.
If this or any other destination speaks to you, we’d love to help you get there in comfort in business class and save you up to 70% off. Submit a flight request or contact your agent and we’ll find the best dates to travel there!