This marvellous fortress palace, with its impressive 94m-high tower, was designed by Arnolfo di Cambio between 1298 and 1314 for the city government. It is still home to the mayor’s office and municipal council today, and from the top of the tower you can get unbelievable panoramic views over the stunning city. Inside, you are greeted with Michelangelo’s Genio della Vittoria (Genius of Victory) sculpture that is situated in the remarkable Salone dei Cinquecento, an ornately painted hall.
Florence was the birthplace of Italy’s fashion industry. Notable fashion houses such as Guccio Gucci and Salvatore Ferragamo opened haute-couture boutiques in Florence in the 1920s and, ever since, fashion has thrived in this fabulous Tuscan city. Wander down Florence’s most famous street, Via de’Tornabuoni, the home of Salvatore Ferragamo’s first property. Via de’Tornabuoni also houses Gucci, Emilio Pucci, Versace, Roberto Cavalli, Hermes, Pomellato, Tiffany & Co, and Cartier to name a few. Via dei Calzaiuoli is also a popular street along which you will find ultra-luxurious shops - from iconic Chanel to modern department stores.
Every street of Florence's charmingly compact city centre is filled with Renaissance treasures to explore. Highlights include the Duomo cathedral, inlaid with pink, white and green marble and soaring above the surrounding buildings in the Piazza del Duomo and the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore – scale the cupola for a spectacular overview of the city. Visit the impressive Basilica di Santa Croce - that was designed by Arnolfo di Cambio between 1294 and 1385 - boasting a fantastic neo-Gothic facade that is inlaid with varying shades of coloured marble. Inside this magnificent church are the tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo and Ghiberti.
Visit the Uffizi Gallery where you might like to spend an afternoon with the masters of Renaissance painting. The Uffizi is Florence’s premier gallery and gained its impressive collection of art from the bequeathed Medici family in 1743, on the condition they stayed in Florence. The Galleria dell'Accademia is another fantastic gallery that was built to house one of the Renaissance’s most iconic masterpieces, Michelangelo’s David. His most famous and challenging work of art, this extradionary marble sculpture boasts impressive detail and a glimpse is well worth the queue!
If you feel like exploring further, you can find yourself deep in the heart of the lovely Chianti countryside in less than half an hour from Florence. Enjoy exploring the Chianti wine trail and vistas of the region's vineyards and live groves.
Our Travel Consultants can advise on, arrange and pre-book many things to enhance your holiday. This includes everything from spa reservations and dinner reservations, to a range of special experiences available in our featured resorts that you may not know about.
If you’re quite an accomplished cook, you may like to attend Belmond Villa San Michele’s famed Tuscan cooking school where the Chef will share some of his culinary secrets.
Meridiana and British Airways from London Gatwick to Florence. UK regional departures and charter flights are also available.
From London Gatwick to Florence: 2 hours.
Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk
Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/insect-tick-bite-avoidance/
In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.
Visit the FCO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Additional sources of information include: www.hpa.org.uk, http://nathnac.net,
www.fco.gov.uk, www.hpa.org.uk and www.nathnac.org, your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.