We believe that every person deserves a memorable and high-quality vacation experience. That is why we have been providing exceptional tours and excursions in Florence, Tuscany, and throughout Italy for over 60 years. Let us help you discover the beauty and rich cultural history of Italy – trust Gray Line Florence to take care of all the details and create an experience that you'll never forget.
Tour Expert, Gray Line Florence
You have probably heard of Florence’s Uffizi Gallery. It's one of the most famous art museums in the world. Completed in 1581, it houses some of the world’s most famous artworks, such as Botticelli's The Birth of Venus, da Vinci’s Adoration of the Magi and Titian’s Venus of Urbino. Many of the artworks used to be owned by the famous House of Medici and the museum is considered to hold some of the best examples of Italian Renaissance masterpieces in its wide collection. Be sure to book your tickets to the Uffizi in advance to avoid long lines if you want to make the most of your time.
The view from the top of the dome of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, also known as the Duomo, is breathtaking. If you appreciate engineering, it's a great opportunity to get up close to the dome of the cathedral to see the 15th-century structure. It’s not one for the faint-hearted — at 375.7 feet, the dome is the fifth highest in the world. Reaching the top is a bit of a workout, but it’s well worth the climb to see the incredible views from the iconic church for those with a curious spirit.
The Oltrarno quarter of Florence, south of the Arno River, is less touristy and has a more local feel than much of the city. Oltrarno has many interesting things to see, including traditional shops, artisans and picturesque squares, such as the 16th-century Piazza della Santissima Annunziata. A wander through the Piazzale Michelangelo will give panoramic views of the whole of Florence. Oltrarno, which translates as: “the other side of the Arno,” is also full of its characteristic narrow streets, artisan shops, and delightful parks.
If you're not including the Arno River in another tour, take some time out of your day and jump on the tram to a stop called Cascine. From here you can appreciate the river that has been Florence's lifeblood for more than 2,000 years. Those who live on the north side of the Arno have access to the city's most important religious and political buildings, as well as its squares and luxury shops. Located on the south bank of the Arno river you’ll find the Oltrarno neighborhood. On your walk, you can check out some of Florence’s famous bridges, such as the Ponte Santa Trinita. and the iconic Ponte Vecchio.
To the south of the Ponte Vecchio, you will find the Palazzo Pitti. This palace was the residence of several Grand Dukes of Tuscany, and now it's open to the public and houses several museums. These include the Gallery of Modern Art, Costume Gallery, and Porcelain Museum, which are all situated within the palace itself. Palazzo Pitti was constructed in 1458 and was bought by the Medicis in 1549. The Grand Dukes gathered much of their wealth inside its walls and it is now the largest complex of museums in the city. Visiting the palace and its gardens is definitely worth your time, but you will need to be prepared to spend at least a couple of hours there.
Did you even visit Florence if you didn’t sample the city's delicious gelato? Gelato — usually healthier than American ice cream — has been a staple of Italian desserts for almost 1,000 years. In Florence, you will find many artisanal gelaterias that use only the best ingredients for making the gelato we’ve all come to love. Hot tip — find the places where the locals queue for the most authentic experience.
If you want to rest up a bit, take an electric bike tour of Florence at night. You'll be able to take in the city's sights in the warm glow of street lights with ease. As you cruise along, you’ll tick off some of the sites you saw throughout the day, such as Arno bridge and Piazzale Michelangelo, but now you can see all of Florence's landmarks in their celestial glory.
Florence is an excellent base for exploring the rest of Tuscany. Consider taking a day trip to nearby towns such as Siena, San Gimignano, or Pisa — home of the iconic Leaning Tower. These towns have their own unique charm and they are all worth visiting. You can rent a car, or Gray Line runs a great tour that'll pick you up and take you to each location, adding historical and cultural context to your trip along the way. Also, the guides know all the best snack locations!
Tuscan food is some of Italy’s most delicious. If you are visiting Florence, you should not miss out on traditional Tuscan dishes such as pasta with wild boar sauce or ribollita. If you wish to maximize your culinary experience in Italy, you should take a cooking class where you can learn how to prepare some of these delicious dishes from local experts in fantastic locations.
Florence is a very popular tourist destination and many of the major attractions have long lines, especially during peak season. To make the most of your time and to avoid long wait times, you should consider purchasing skip-the-line tickets for popular attractions, such as the Duomo, Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia Gallery. This way, you'll be able to see more of the city and enjoy your visit to the fullest. Book in advance and you can worry less about waiting and make the most of your time in this beautiful city.
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