Florence City Breaks
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Florence is one of the world's greatest artistic cities. A focal point for the Renaissance, one of history's most dramatic periods of creative endeavour, its churches, galleries and museums are filled with some of the finest art ever created. Florence is not entirely devoted to the arts, however, and visitors who restrict themselves to paintings and sculptures will come away with memories of an indoor city. It's essential to leave the rather gloomy streets and broody palaces for the city's gardens, bridges and half-hidden corners, and more so to join the Florentines - some of the most chic of all Italians - in their pursuit of outdoor pleasures, whether it's window shopping in Via dei Tornabuoni or sipping drinks in the city's elegant old-world cafés.
Florence CathedralThe magnificent Santa Maria del Fiore was built in the 7th century and is one of the most iconic symbols of Florence. Its interior is strikingly austere and breathtaking in size, holding over 10,000 people. It is Europe's fourth largest church.
Santa CroceThis famous Florentine church is celebrated for its superb Giotto frescoes and the tombs of Galileo and Michelangelo. Don't miss the Museo dell'Opera to the right of the church where highlights include Donatello's St. Louise of Toulouse.
Ponte VecchioUnlike all the other bridges in the city, this was the only one not destroyed by the Germans in World War II and its huddle of old buildings are among the most familiar sight of Florence. Head there at night for the most romantic views of the Arno River.
Uffizi GalleryOne of the world's finest art galleries containing a collection of paintings that feature all the great names of the Florentine Renaissance. Built in 1560 and originally intended as a suite of offices, the Uffizi is a must-see for lovers of artistic treasures.
Palazzo PittiPalaces and galleries do not come much larger than the Palazzo Pitti, built in 1457, home to the Medici for some 200 years and the setting for much of their private collection of paitings, silverware, costumes and miscellaneous objets d'art.
Piazza della SignoriaOne of the city's busiest meeting places, the square has long served as Florence's civic and political heart. Sights include the impressive Palazzo Vecchio and the Loggia dei Lanzi, an outdoor gallery sheltering several outstanding pieces of sculpture.