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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.

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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.

(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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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
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Rewards Rate

6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
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  • Intro Offer
    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

    Earn 100,000 points
    75,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $125
  • 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.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

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  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees