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Top 5 things to do in Florence

Florence…the birthplace of the Renaissance, the ‘Athens of the Middle Ages’, Italy’s culture capital. It is no surprise that it is one of the most visited cities in the world. Here are 5 things you must do during your next visit to Florence.

Take in the views at Piazzale Michelangelo – This square, named after and dedicated to the great Renaissance sculptor Michelangelo (with bronze copies of his marble works) famously boasts one of the most beautiful skylines in all of Europe. Whether it’s by foot (be prepared for a steep climb!) or vehicle, make sure you get here during your time in Florence – it is the only place where you can see all the city’s major sights from the same spot.

Visit the Uffizi Gallery - In Florence, the choice of art galleries and museums to visit is enormous. For me, however, the Uffizi Gallery comes out on top of this elite selection. Here, you will find a collection of priceless works from the likes of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Botticelli, making this a pilgrimage for art lovers. If you are visiting Florence for a few days, my top tip would be to purchase a ‘Firenze Card’, which grants access to this and all the city’s other galleries and museums, providing you with priority entrance without need for pre-reservation.

Climb the Duomo – Located in the Piazza del Duomo, Florence Cathedral (‘Il Duomo’) stands proudly alongside the Baptistery and Giotto’s Campanile (the entire complex has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site). The cathedral’s exterior and interior are both stunning, and of course the dome is Florence’s domineering feature, standing out in that famous view from Piazzale Michelangelo. For a small fee you can climb up the dome, an experience you won’t forget. During the 463-step journey you’ll get a close look at Giorgio Vasari's frescoes of the Last Judgment, before discovering more exceptional city views, arguably matching the Piazzale’s.

Wine and dine – Florence isn’t just a hub of wonderful art, but also of fine wine and cuisine. Stretching between Siena and Florence, the Chianto Classico subregion produces some of Italy's best red wines. These can be found in the abundance of high quality restaurants in a city that has always been a bastion of gastronomic excellence – Trattoria Sabatino, IO osteria personale in particular draw in fine dining lovers from the world over. And of course, those Chianti reds go perfectly with some famous Florentine steak…

Stroll around the Giardino Bardini – This garden is perhaps one of the more overlooked attractions in Florence, but certainly merits inclusion in our list! Another legacy of the Renaissance, it has views to match Piazzale Michelangelo and boasts a delightful array of wildlife and plants, including rock pigeons, blackbirds and woodpigeons. It is a throwback to the days of Florence’s 19th century English aristocratic mass tourism, whilst maintaining a distinctly Italian feel with its olive trees and hillside terraces. What better escape from the hustle and bustle of Florence’s more renowned attractions than to spend an afternoon here in the sunshine?