The heartstoppingly beautiful city on the Arno is, along with Venice and Rome, one of Italy's must-see cities. The cobblestoned streets, honey-coloured buildings, sublime churches and works of art that one almost trips over could suggest that Florence is a living museum - it is certainly a renaissance time capsule with art by Brunelleschi, Donatello, Michelangelo and Botticelli - but travellers booking flights to Florence will discover a warm, laidback city with a lively population.
It's thanks to the Medici family, enthusiastic patrons of the arts, that Florence is so full of treasures. The impossibly grand Church of San Lorenzo, near the Medici Palace, was the family's parish church and it's the final resting place of many of the Medicis. Other buildings associated with them include the Uffizi Gallery, the Pitti Palace, the Boboli Gardens and the Belvedere.
Florence is a great city in which to indulge in more earthly pleasures such as eating or shopping. Florence was the fashion capital of Italy until Milan seized the crown in the 1960s. All the greats are here: Armani, Ferragamo, Gucci and Zegna. For bargains, visit the outlet shops or take a trip to the warehouses of Gucci and Prada.
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