Florence

David in Piazza della Signoria

David in Piazza della Signoria

Florence is one of my favorite places. It has many of my favorite criteria – it’s a walking city full of incredible art, excellent restaurants, colorful streets and pleasing architecture. Plus, there’s a great running route along the river.

Along the Arno

Along the Arno

View over the city

View over the city

The downside is that everyone in the world also loves Florence, so the city is always packed. I’ve not been in the middle of summer, when it is surely most crowded, but I have been in springtime, autumn and the dead of winter and can attest to full-on congestion.

Building detail

Building detail

Florence is full of art. There’s no shortage of museums and two of the world’s most famous, the Uffizi Gallery and Accademia Gallery, are located here. It’s absolutely essential to buy tickets ahead of time.

Leather goods everywhere!

Leather goods everywhere!

Though designer boutiques line many streets, artisan workshops still populate the Oltrarno neighborhood. Florence is best known for its leather goods, which can be found on every block.

Charming buildings

Charming buildings

13th-century Palazzo Vecchio

13th-century Palazzo Vecchio

Palaces, churches and towers help narrate the city’s history, which dates back to 200 BC when the Etruscans first settled.

Dante, one of Florence's favorite sons

Dante, one of Florence’s favorite sons

The city thrived in the 14th – 16th centuries, or the Florentine Renaissance period, which kicked off the general Renaissance, a period of significant cultural change and achievement.

In Piazza del Duomo

In Piazza del Duomo

Luckily, the influences spread to the rest of the world, but there’s nothing like visiting the source.

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