Our recommendations on what to see and where to dine in this magnificent city. In the centre, most of these are within walking distance of each other.
Duomo – the third largest cathedral in the world
Ponte Vecchio – the pedestrian old bridge
Palazzo Vecchio – town hall
Basilica Santa Croce – church
Uffizi – the main art gallery (book in advance in high season)
Palazzo Pitti - Renaissance palace
Vasarian Corridor – 1km passage between Palazzo Vecchio and Palazzo Pitti (book in advance)
Boboli Gardens – behind the Pitti Palace
This unmissable view of Florence is just a couple of minutes up the hill by bus or taxi. For another amazing view, walk a few meters behind it to San Miniato church.
For another great view of the city Fiesole is a bit further to get to but also has an impressive amphitheatre.
This café opposite Palazzo Vecchio has tables on the square. Have a coffee or beer and admire the Palazzo, imagining how it would have been in the XIV Century.
SHOPS AND MARKETS
Mercato di Sant' Ambrogio – a fresh food indoor market
Mercato di San Lorenzo – two markets in fact, an indoor food market ('Central Market') and an outdoor section selling leather goods, clothing, souvenirs, etc
Luisa in Via Roma – an expensive boutique for designer clothes and shoes
Firenze is a very touristic city, so be aware that all the restaurants will have tourists. Don’t be put off by this, just bear it in mind.
The most expensive restaurant in town and world renowned for its wine selection (hence the name Enoteca). I know people who've been and say its very smart, with amazing food that's designed to accompany the wine.
Booking essential. Unique dishes with a mix of Florentine/Tuscan traditions and new flavours. The décor is very smart and the chef, Fabio Picchi, appears on TV presenting recipes and cooking tips. Quite expensive but not crazy.
Historic Florentine restaurant from the old days, where (they say) you can eat the best Florentine steaks (bistecca alla fiorentina). You can’t book so you may have to queue. It is very casual and not smart. You'll be seated on a big table next to others and drink red Chianti from a fiasco (old hand-made wine bottle). It's fun and the food is good.
A good restaurant in a very cute location (Piazza della Passera). If you go mid-week for lunch you'll see real artisans Florentine who have their lunch there for half price (as part of a deal they have with local restaurants). The lovely location is worth seeing and there are a couple of bars in the square as well.
A nice and casual restaurant for primi (pasta dishes) and crostini (big thick slice of bread with ham, cheese or other toppings) and lots and lots of delicious wine (it’s called enoteca for a reason). The location is fantastic – near the centre of town, just a little stroll from Ponte Vecchio and outside the old Porta San Niccolo’ (Door San Niccolo’).
Founded in 1880 Buca Lapi is the oldest restaurant in Florence. It's pet friendly and Fiorentina is the dish to have here.
A buzzy place known for its classic Florentine steak and wine, with an enclosed terrace and huge mural of Florence. Apparently it's quite touristy.
I haven't been but I've heard good things about this well-located restaurant that promotes its typical Tuscan home cooking.