Florence is a veritable Renaissance gallery, made up of artistic and historically significant pieces that snap together in a beautifully ornate puzzle. In the very heart of Tuscany, somehow the ancient and modern live in absolute harmony: impossibly narrow Roman streets dotted with convenience stores and gelato shops, towering Medici palaces sharing squares with chic enotecas, and modern designers vying for space with traditional leatherworkers. The city is rooted in the masterpieces of Botticeli and da Vinci, the legacy of the Medici rulers, and a menu that is firmly tied to the land, as it has been for hundreds of years. You’ll never be bored in this city, but for a truly memorable and uniquely Florentine experience, be sure to hit these eight sites before you move on.
Boboli Gardens and the Pitti Palace
The undulating, manicured gardens beside the Medici’s elaborate former residence are serene and majestic. Sitting on the other side of the river Arno, they are pleasantly removed from the downtown action, and though they still draw many visitors to the network of statue-lined paths and fountains, there’s enough space to wander without feeling cramped or rushed. Groves of fruit trees and hidden grottoes are the hallmarks of this beautiful space. If the weather turns, head into the Pitti Palace: it’s stark, geometric façade hides a selection of opulent, impeccably furnished royal rooms, along with a costume gallery and revolving art and artifact exhibitions.
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