Often referred to as the "cradle of the Renaissance", Florence is a city in the northwest of Italy that owes much of its wealth and culture to the Middle Ages. The names of Pitti, Strozzi and Rucellai can be found all over the city, yet it was the powerful Medici family who led Florence for more than 300 years and contributed to the flourishing of Renaissance art. The sculptures of Michelangelo, the palaces of Michelozzo and the paintings of Botticelli prospered under their rule.
Whenever you may find yourself in the city, you'll be amazed at a variety of magnificent museums, theatres and art galleries among other prominent attractions abundant at every turn. Florence weekends offer a unique opportunity to view some of the highlights of the city of romance, notably the Uffizi Gallery, Piazza della Signoria, Ponte Vecchio, San Lorenzo and Palazzo Pitti among others.
To make your Florence weekends a memorable experience, consider the stay at Istito Gould, regarded as one of the top lodgings in the city, with a friendly welcoming staff and excellent service. The hotel is also known for its large courtyard that features plants growing out of wine urns. Located nearby is the restaurant and cafe "Acqua al Due" which is quite popular with young Italians. You'll be offered some of the Florentine special dishes with five types of pasta.
For cultural opportunities during your Florence weekends, visit some of the outstanding cathedrals and churches, renowned for their charm and beauty. One of the most beautiful -- the Piazzo del Duomo -- is recognized as one of the most famous monuments in Italy and the fourth largest cathedral in the world. The cathedral's dome was designed by Brunelleschi, with stained glass windows by Andrea del Castagno, Donatello and Paolo Uccello, and frescoes by Zuccari and Vasari.
Possibly the most widely reputed sight, Piazza della Signora was constructed between 1299 and 1314 and has served since then as the seat of the Florentine government. The greatest attraction of the area is Fountain of Neptune, designed by Bartolomeo Ammannati and his assistants in 1565 and a sculpture that suffered quite a bit of damage over the years.
Lined with numerous small shops and boutiques, Ponte Vecchio is the link between Palazzo Pitti and the Uffizi Gallery, and is considered to be the oldest segmental arch bridge in Europe and the only bridge to escape destruction during the World War II. When viewed from the neighboring river bank at sunset, Ponte Vecchio is particularly beautiful and mustn't be missed during your city breaks in Florence.
Art connoisseurs on Florence weekends will be offered a trip to Palazzo Pitti, home to some of the most popular museums in the country, notably the Galleria del Costume, the Galleria d' Arte Moderna and the Museo degli Argenti. Yet the most popular location has to be the Galleria Palatina, featuring the 16th and 17th century works by such prominent artists as Veronese and Raphael and Lezzi. Those looking for great shopping, should consider San Lorenzo, the largest as well as the cheapest open market in Florence, and one which spans several city blocks. Available in San Lorenzo is a variety of goods made of wool, leather and gold.
Florence weekends - a great introduction to beauty of Italy.