Florence

Florence

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About Florence

The cradle of the Renaissance

Florence is the capital of the region of Tuscany, and was politically, economically and culturally one of the most important cities in Europe for almost 250 years from the beginning of the 14th century. Today the city is regarded as a cultural, artistic and architectural gem.

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Choice is not the problem when deciding where to stay in Florence, as walking through the centre, it seems that every other house, appartment block or palazzo is masquerading as a hotel, pensione or B&B.

Florence is equipped with hotels for all budgets; for instance, you can find both budget and luxury hotels in the centro storico (historic center) and along the Arno. Florence has so many famous landmarks that it's not hard to find lodging with a panoramic view.

If what you want is top-of-the-line famous designer goods, there is certainly no shortage of these shops in Florence.

A love of fashion is part of the very essence of living in one of the art capitals of Europe.

Beauty abounds throughout the shops, whether it’s the articles sold, the way of presenting them, or the décor and design of the shop itself.

Florence’s rustic cuisine has humble origins that date as far back as the Etruscans, an ancient civilization after whom Tuscany was named. Although pasta is said to have originated in China, the Etruscans blended certain ancient grains to create a spaghetti-like concoction of their own. Among the typical Florentine pastas is pappardelle, often served al cinghiale (wild boar sauce) or sulla lepre (rabbit sauce).

Taste
March 11-13

Florentine foodies flock to this huge gastronomic extravaganza, part trade fair and part gastronomic free-for-all, housed in the converted Stazione Leopolda train station. Centred on long rows of food and wine stalls inside the Leopolda, the three day event also offers tastings, exhibitions, talks, pop-up food stalls and off-site events in Florence restaurants, hotels and landmarks.

Scoppio del Carro

Easter Sunday

One of Florence’s most ancient events, the Scoppio del Carro centres on a cart stuffed with fireworks pulled by a team of white oxen and escorted by a procession of Florentines in Renaissance costume. Once the cart gets to Piazza del Duomo (and the oxen have been detached) a fiery mechanical dove swoops from inside the cathedral to light the blue touchpaper. For a Christianised pagan rite of spring, it’s all great fun.

One of Florence’s most ancient events, the Scoppio del Carro centres on a cart stuffed with fireworks pulled by a team of white oxen and escorted by a procession of Florentines in Renaissance costume

Maggio Musicale
April -June

Founded in 1933, the Maggio has become Italy’s leading opera and classical music festival, with a strong remit for new work and revivals of little-known curios amidst the more mainstream fare. A roster of visiting performers bolster the sterling work of the city’s Maggio Musicale orchestra and choir conducted by Zubin Mehta. Main venue is the dramatic Teatro dell’Opera di Firenze concert hall by ABDR architects, which opened to the public in May 2014.

Firenze Gelato Festival

April 21-25

Florence’s long standing tradition of top-quality artisanal ice-cream is celebrated in this five-day festival dedicated to gelato in all its forms (including frozen cocktails), which takes over the lanes and piazzas of the centro storico for five days in May.

Estate Fiesolana

Mid-June to end of July

Climb the hill to the lovely town of Fiesole for a host of performing arts events, many in open-air venues, from jazz in the Roman theatre to classical concerts in the Basilica of Sant’Alessandro.

Estate al Bargello

August and September

This regular summer festival brings a plethora of music, theatre and dance offerings to the atmospheric setting of the Bargello Museum, whose Medieval courtyard is turned into an open-air auditorium for the occasion. At the time of writing the 2015 programme had not been announced, but with the remit covering jazz, classical, electronic music and other genres there’s usually something here for most musical tastes.

This regular summer festival brings a plethora of music, theatre and dance offerings to the atmospheric setting of the Bargello Museum

50 giorni di Cinema Internazionale
October to December

A raft of autumn festivals and other cinematic events in Florence come together under the ‘50 Days of International Cinema’ banner. Top draws include the Festival dei Popoli documentary festival in November and the River to River Indian film festival in early December. Many events centre on the historic Odeon cinema in Piazza Strozzi.

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Key facts

Language:Italian
Currency:Euro
Time zone:GMT +1 hour
Flight time:2 hours 10mins
Airport code:FLR
Holiday type:City Break / History & Culture / Relaxing / Sightseeing / Summer Sun

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