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6 reasons to visit Florence, Italy

Oct. 18, 2020
5 min read
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The Italian city of Florence is a picturesque spot that's hailed as being the birthplace of the Renaissance. With an entire historic city center deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site -- not to mention a metropolis filled with quaint and romantic hidden spots just waiting to be discovered -- this Tuscan paradise is a prime travel destination.

Here are six reasons why you should plan a trip to one of our favorite cities in the world.

1. The river

Strolling along the river in many cities is a lovely experience, but the riverfront in Florence has an ethereal quality to it, setting the vibe for the entire city -- you might say the Arno River breathes life into Florence. The bridges are gorgeous day or night, and somehow the sunlight never hits them in just the same way, so crossing at different hours always makes for unique photos.

The Ponte Vecchio is the most popular bridge, but the real fun lies along with the other, less touristy bridges. Be like the locals and bring a bottle of wine and some snacks after dark to sit on the Ponte alle Grazie with your friends and take in the scene or order an Aperol Spritz at the bar on the corner and enjoy the view. For a quieter walk, wander across the Ponte Santa Trinita or the Ponte alla Carraia.

Read more: The best destinations to visit from Milan, Italy

(Photo by Peter Zelei Images/Getty Images)

2. The art, history and architecture

Florence is heaven for art and history buffs, thanks to the Uffizi Gallery, which hosts some of the most spectacular art from the Italian Renaissance. Michelangelo's Statue of David (at the nearby Galleria dell'Accademia di Firenze) and the Duomo Cathedral, with its famous dome by Brunelleschi, are must-sees, but the whole city is truly a work of art so you don't even have to set foot in a museum or gallery to soak up the glory.

Those who love charming details will fall in the love with the cobblestone streets, intricately designed fountains, statues on every corner and rickety thatched rooftops and the colorful shutters of local homes.

The Duomo looms over Florence.(Photo by Alan Brutenic / EyeEm/Getty Images)

3. The shopping

While Florence isn't the fashion-forward haven of Milan, look past the crowds see that the city is still filled with enough style to make even the most devout fashionista envious. The Italians stand out like sore thumbs among the tourist masses thanks to their deeply ingrained sense of style and reluctance to leave the house in activewear.

The city is home to every possible high-end designer shop that exists as well as museums dedicated to Gucci and Ferragamo. If you're looking for more affordable boutiques, spots like Sofi and Floreiza offer stylish finds. The city is also home to high-quality and affordable leather products, so check out boutiques like Massimo's Leather or the San Lorenzo Market for great finds -- and bring your haggling skills with you.

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(Photo by Buena Vista Images/Getty Images)

Read more: How to have a budget vacation in Italy

4. The food

Tucked into the hills, Florence is in the middle of the Chianti wine region, meaning you can drink cheap and delicious varieties of wine all over the city, or take a day trip for wine tastings at local vineyards.

The food is incredible and aside from typical Italian fare like pizza, pasta and gelato, Tuscan regional favorites include wild-boar pasta, tripe and bilberry steak, a perfectly cooked filet mignon soaked in warm bilberry sauce (bilberries are almost identical to blueberries).

Delicious cuisine abounds in Florence. (Photo by Rafa Elias/Getty Images)

5. The Tuscan countryside

Visiting small villages in the rolling hills of Tuscany is a perfect day trip. Medieval towns like Lucca and Siena are within easy reach, as are larger cities like Pisa and Genoa -- even Bologna is only about 90-minutes from Florence. If you don't want to rent a car, there are several organized tours that can get you out of the city for a day or two or you can always hop on the trains, which are especially easy to use in Italy and a fun way to get some great views.

(Photo by Francesco Riccardo Iacomino/Getty Images)

Read more: 7 beautiful Italian destinations for an autumn vacation

6. The festivals

While Florence is gorgeous all year long, the city offers wonderful festivals throughout a typical year that can be amazing cultural experiences. Some of the most popular are Carnevale in February, the Gelato Festival in April, the Pitti Immagine fashion fairs (various dates) and the Festa della Rificolona (paper lantern festival) in September. June is considered to be Florence's golden month, with a number of patron saint days as well as music and dance festivals.

Gelato in Florence. (Photo by FilippoBacci/ Getty)

Bottom line

Florence has a lot to offer and being in Tuscany -- the food and wine are incredible. So from shopping to gorging to beautiful vistas, what's not to love?

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Cons

  • While cardholders can earn a significant amount of points on travel purchases, there isn't any way to redeem points from the Wander Card for maximum value (beyond 1 cent per point).
  • Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel
  • Earn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel site
  • Earn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
  • Earn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Redeem your reward points for statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, flights, hotels, and more
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  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for Credit One Bank Wander® Card
at Credit One Bank's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for earning alternative rewards for travel purchases
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel partner site
5XEarn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
1XEarn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel

    Earn 10,000 Bonus Points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    Fair/Good

Why We Chose It

The revamped Wander Card from Credit One Bank earns cardmembers up to 10 points per dollar spent on eligible travel purchases. With no foreign transaction fees, the card is also great for international travel. However, points earned from this card can only be used at a fixed value, so it may not be the best option for those striving to get maximum value from their rewards.

Pros

  • This card has no foreign transaction fees and earns up to 10 points per dollar on travel purchases through the Credit One Bank travel partner site.

Cons

  • While cardholders can earn a significant amount of points on travel purchases, there isn't any way to redeem points from the Wander Card for maximum value (beyond 1 cent per point).
  • Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel
  • Earn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel site
  • Earn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
  • Earn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Redeem your reward points for statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, flights, hotels, and more
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Free Online Credit Score and Credit Report summary, terms apply
  • If you are a Covered Borrower under the Military Lending Act, you may get a different offer
  • See Rates & Fees