Florence
Italy
By Jenni Keller

The Tuscan capital city of Florence beckons all travelers from art aficionados and architectural enthusiasts to first time visitors seeking to experience the blend of this Renaissance-era city with modern day life. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982, Florence, or Firenze, is one of the most popular destination cities in the world. Florence boasts some of the most well-known works of art in the world along with centuries-old churches, monuments, plazas and bridges that are sure to awe and amaze any visitor.

To make your way to Florence, WhatsCheaper.com recommends booking a flight to Peretola Airport (FLR) by clicking on this link: (https://www.whatscheaper.com/flight.php). The most popular time to travel is from April to October. Florence is filled with myriad accommodations to fit any traveler’s budget. WhatsCheaper.com recommends booking your stay by utilizing this link: (https://www.whatscheaper.com/hotel.php).

WhatsCheaper.com’s selection for the first site to visit is the Duomo, the city's Cathedral. Until recently the unique brick dome was the largest in the world and today remains one of the most visible buildings on the Florentine skyline. The vast interior is famous for its beautiful, centuries-old frescos, marble pavement and stained glass windows. Free tours run about every 40 minutes. Hours 10:30 am - noon and 3-4:40 pm.

WhatsCheaper.com recommends climbing the Campanile (bell tower) for fantastic views of the cathedral and dome, the city of Florence and its surroundings. (Fee involved).

From there, WhatsCheaper.com recommends visiting the nearby Basilica of San Lorenzo, located in the city’s main market district. The large church shows the architectural works of Brunelleschi and Michelangelo and also contains the impressive Medici Chapel, the mausoleum of the most powerful family in Florence from the 15th – 18th century.

The Franciscan Basilica of Santa Croce, situated on the Piazza di Santa Croce, is the burial place of some of the most famous Italians such as Michelangelo, Galileo and Machiavelli, to name just a few.  (Fee involved).
When it comes to art, WhatsCheaper.com’s top choice is the Uffizi Gallery. It is considered one of the world’s oldest and well-known galleries with a spectacular collection of international and Florentine art from masters such as Botticelli, Giotto and Leonardo da Vinci. Tickets often sell out quickly so it is advised to buy tickets in advance.

To see the Michelangelo collection, including the original sculpture of David, WhatsCheaper.com highly recommends a visit to The Galleria dell' Accademia which also houses other important paintings and sculptures from the 13th – 16th centuries. (Fee involved).

Other museums include the Bargello which concentrates on sculpture works by such artists as Donatello and Michelangelo.
The Palazzo Vecchio is the other dominant building on the city’s skyline and serves as the current city hall. Hours: Weekdays 9am-7pm, Thursdays and weekday public holidays 9am-2pm. (Closed on Christmas and New Year’s Day, Easter, and the 15th of August).

The massive Romanesque castle overlooks the Piazza della Signoria, Florence’s most popular and politically historic square. The square is surrounded by cafes and restaurants and attracts many visitors to the adjacent Loggia dei Lanzi which features an open-air gallery of statues by well-known sculptors, and includes a replica of Michelangelo’s David.

The Vasari Corridor is another gallery built to connect the Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi with the Palazzo Pitti, Florence's largest palazzo that houses eight different museums and galleries including the Museum of Modern Art, the Costume Gallery, the Porcelain Museum and the Museum of Carriages. Behind the Palazzo Pitti are the Boboli gardens, with wide gravel avenues to stroll along and admire its statues and fountains, including the fountain of Neptune, as well as the Amphitheater.

The Corridor crosses the Ponte Vecchio, the first bridge built over the Arno River in 1345 and is noted for its unique architectural structure of the time. Today its edges are lined with shops selling jewelry and other wares.

There are multitudes of plazas dotted around the City. WhatsCheaper.com recommends The Piazza della Repubblica which is surrounded by palaces, luxury apartments and many cafes and restaurants. Other notable squares include the Piazza San Marco, Piazza Santa Maria Novella, Piazza Beccaria and Piazza della Libertà.

For some spectacular views of the city, WhatsCheaper.com recommends going to the Piazzale Michelangelo, a hilltop square well-known for its panoramic view. Also close by, San Miniato al Monte provides similar breathtaking views from the front of the Romanesque church.

Florence has some of the finest shopping in Europe. In addition to its many shops filled with fine art, clothing and jewelry, WhatsCheaper.com recommends walking around many of the open air markets that sell leather goods, antiques, clothing and food. The most famous one is the Piazza San Lorenzo and is known for its array of leather good. Another good place is Mercato Nuovo.

MUST SEE IN Florence LIST:

  • 1. Palazzo Vecchio
  • 2. Piazza della Signoria
  • 3. Uffizi Gallery
  • 4. Bargello Museum
  • 5. Statue of David
  • 6. Ponte Vecchio
  • 7. Giotto's Bell Tower
  • 8. Piazza del Duomo
  • 9. Medici Chapel
  • 10. Museum Casa Martelli

Florence EVENT CALENDAR:

  • 1. Fashion Shows - January
  • 2. Viareggio Carnival - February
  • 3. Scoppio del Carro - April
  • 4. Cricket Festival - May
  • 5. Maggio Musicale - May
  • 6. Fiesole Summer - June
  • 7. Football in Costumes - June
  • 8. Festa della Rificolona - September
  • 9. Amici della Musica - October
  • 10. Festival dei Popoli - November

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St. Regis Florence
Piazza Ognissanti 1, Florence, 50123, Italy
By Tenaya Courtney

Located in Central Florence just a five-minute drive away from the Florence Amerigo Vespucci Airport, the St. Regis Florence is luxuriously appointed and ideally situated to allow travelers to explore all that Florence has to offer. With an illustrious history of hotel service dating back to the mid-18th century, when the former palace was converted into a hotel, the St. Regis Florence has housed such famous greats as Queen Victoria. In addition to the hotel’s own rich history, it is strategically located in central Florence, near such culturally significant buildings as the Uffizi Gallery, one of the most famous art museums in the world.

The St. Regis Florence offers 81 luxurious guest rooms and 19 lavishly appointed suites, for all of which check-in is at 3 p.m. and check-out is at 12 p.m. Each room boasts a mini bar, a flat-screen television with satellite channels, and an elegant marble bathroom with a deep soaking tub. All Deluxe Rooms are outfitted in either 15th-century Florentine, Medici, or Renaissance-themed décor and offer incredible views. Rooms offer either a king, two twin-sized beds, or a French St. Regis bed, all wrapped in 250-thread count pure cotton linens. Wireless Internet access is available and complimentary in all public areas, and available in all guest rooms for a small fee.

In addition to the elegant guest rooms, the St. Regis Florence offers many amenities and services to keep guests relaxed and entertained. Experience professional spa treatments in the Iridium Suites by Clarins, enjoy the delicious Tuscan flavors of in-room dining or request a personalized meal to take with you on a picnic. If you’re feeling more energetic, visit the Fitness Center, where fresh fruit, water, and towels are made complimentary to guests. Or, for a unique taste of Tuscany, arrange a sampling of the hotel’s wine cellar.

If you are looking for a beautifully decorated hotel with a rich history, strategic location, and plenty of exciting amenities to offer, the St. Regis Florence is the perfect place for your stay. Make sure you get the best possible price for your stay at the St. Regis Florence by booking with WhatsCheaper.com (https://www.whatscheaper.com/hotel.php).

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Hilton Garden Inn Florence Novoli
Via Sandro Pertini, 2/9, Florence, Italy
By Jessica Howell

The Hilton Garden Inn Florence Novoli hotel in Florence Italy, is located in the northern part of the Tuscan province.  Referred to as the “New City” area of Florence, the hotel’s ideal location puts guests near all the modern attractions such as the new university as well as major companies, while staying true to rich history and heritage that Florence is famous for.  With 121 guest rooms, contemporary designs, and large meeting spaces, this hotel has something for every guest.  If you are traveling to Florence, Italy, WhatsCheaper.com suggests that you stay at The Hilton Garden Inn Florence Novoli.

The Hilton Garden Inn offers guests comfortable accommodations, as well as a plethora of other amenities.  In a country that is world renowned for its cuisine, the Hilton Garden Inn is prepared to tantalize your taste buds with tasty breakfast, lunch and dinner options at the hotel’s City Restaurant.  The Pavilion Pantry is also on premise offering beverages, snacks, and ready-to-cook meals to guests.  If you are tired from a long day of site seeing, just grab something quick and take it back to the comfort of your room and cook it up in your microwave oven or store it in your refrigerator for a late night snack.  

Also available in every room is the adjustable Garden Sleep System bed.  Adjust comfort levels to match your sleep preferences and relax while you enjoy room service and an in-room movie on the flat-screen TV.  Guests can also stay connected at all times with high speed internet access in every room.  

If you are traveling to Florence, Italy, WhatsCheaper.com suggests booking your stay at The Hilton Garden Inn Florence Novoli.  Click on the following link if you would like assistance booking your room today:  (https://www.whatscheaper.com/hotel.php). 

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Westin Excelsior, Florence
Piazza Ognissanti 3, Florence, Italy
By Jessica Howell

Amidst stunning mountain views and nestled beneath crisp blue skies filled with fluffy white clouds, The Westin Excelsior, Florence provides guests with unparalleled services and elegant accommodations.  This hotel’s reputation for professionalism and attention to detail earned it a place on the 2006 and 2007 Conde Nast Traveler Gold Lists.  WhatsCheaper.com insists that you book your stay at this charming hotel today.  

Guests can begin checking into their room at 3 p.m. and check out is promptly at 12 noon.  Guests will be greeted by friendly staff and amazing decor they enter this beautiful hotel.  Paying homage to the cities history, the hotel boasts sprawling marble floors and gigantic pillars.  As you enter the privacy of your warmly decorated guest room, you will be impressed by the signature Westin Heavenly Bed outfitted with luxurious sheets, divine pillows and a fluffy duvet.  At The Westin, the bathrooms are equally inviting with plush bathrobes, a spacious tub/shower and lavish bathroom amenities.

The Westin does not just have your comfort in mind, but also your health with the state-of-the-art WestinWORKOUT Gym.  The Westin also offers guests the option of seeing the cities sites up close with its Ready, Set Run WESTIN program.  Either be part of a group run around the city or have a Westin Hotel Running Concierge make you a custom running map based on your own unique interests and athletic abilities.  WhatsCheaper.com promises that this is one of the best ways to discover Florence – not to mention healthy after enjoying Italy’s irresistibly delicious cuisine.

If elegance, sophistication and comfort are what you seek in a hotel, WhatsCheaper.com insists that you stay at The Westin Excelsior, Florence.  Five star service and spectacular views await you.  Just click on the following link to get started booking your book today:  (https://www.whatscheaper.com/hotel.php).   

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