Florence has been a favorite travel destination for centuries, and that will not change any time in the foreseeable future. The city is geared towards tourism, with every conceivable type of lodging, restaurant and entertainment. Combine these things with the amazing collection of art and architecture that the city boasts and you can see that everyone from the student or backpacker on a shoestring budget to the five-star all the way traveler happily find their way to the cradle of the Renaissance.
Photo by Jim Linwood
When you are looking for a place to stay when heading to Florence you will be astounded how many options that a city of less than 400,000 residents has to offer. From hostels in virtually every quarter to family owned bed and breakfasts to large hotels and culminating in Four Seasons Florence you literally can find a room from about 30 Euro a night to 15,000 Euro a night. The damper that the economy has placed on tourism has had a big impact on the prices of hotel rooms in the city, with prices dropping typically about 30% over what they have been the last few years. If you are aware of how consistently high the prices on hotel rooms in Florence tend to be, then you realize how significant that is.
That savings on your hotel room can treat you to some of the best food the world has to offer. Despite the presence of a few McDonald's in the city, the food in general is amazing. If you can avoid most of the tourist oriented restaurants if you are looking for a bargain you will be surprised at the quality and quantity of food you can get for your Euro. The most effective way to find the best value and quality combination is to go off the beaten track. The permanent presence of hoards of annual tourist supports restaurants that specifically cater them, almost always with disappointing results. If you befriend a concierge or can read local Italian bloggers and their restaurant experiences you will have a great food experience. If not, the trick is to walk slightly outside of the high traffic areas and find a restaurant that does not have English menus. Quality of the food, great, hospitality, great, and prices to put a smile on your face compared to the restaurants in the famous piazzas.
Scenery in Florence is some of the best urban scenery in the world. Statues stand guard over centuries old piazzas, the presence of the Medici's ancestral home and their nurturing of the artists of the Renaissance created some of the most beautiful works of art known. Both man-made scenery and the surrounding natural beauty of the Tuscan hills will offer photo opportunities unparalleled in a city of this size. One helpful hint for all budgets, lines for museums are insanely long, a quick visit to the representative website a day or two prior to your anticipated visit to reserve and purchase your tickets online will save you hours of time. (Be sure to check out the Uffizi Gallery .) The beauty of the city and small size of the historical center allow for walking to virtually every work of art and piazza you will want to see, a huge amount of walking tours are available, so bring your comfortable walking shoes and enjoy the experience.