Tag Archives: Arno River

Pisa in Tuscany

Pisa: So much more than the leaning tower

The leaning tower of Pisa TuscanyPisa first belonged to the Longobard kingdom and later to the Carolingian empire. Already an important naval base in the Roman era, from the 11th century Pisa intensified its Mediterranean trade, with numerous victories of its fleet over Muslim cities and ships.

The Mediaeval Era coincided with the height of its economic, political and artistic growth, to which the urban planning of the old centre bears witness by its many religious and civic buildings, its squares, its typical narrow alleys that run perpendicular to the River Arno, the great trade route that for centuries represented the economic heart of the city.

The city walls, whose construction began around 1154-1155, were completed in the mid-14th century and today represent an important part of the architectural heritage.

In 1406 Pisa was conquered for the first time by Florence, thus beginning a long period of profound crisis that ended only with the political ascent of the Medici nobles. From the second half of the 16th century there was a recovery characterized by the development of the University, founded on the orders of Lorenzo II Magnifico at the end of the 15th century.
Cosimo I de’ Medici and his successors renovated the aspect of the squares and churches, rendering Pisa the second capital of Tuscany, until its annexation to the Kingdom of Italy in 1861.
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Florence in Tuscany

Florence: Renaissance capital of the world

The Duomo in Florence by Brunelleschi in Florence TuscanyBuild along the Arno River in a natural basin surrounded by stunning hills. Florence, or Firenze as it’s called in Italian, is THE city of the Renaissance, of Italian culture and art. The most famous places in Florence… The Uffizi Gallery, Palazzo Vecchio, Ponte Vecchio, Piazzale Michelangelo, but also many other gems, attract millions of visitors from all over the world every year.

As mentioned earlier, Florence truly is the Renaissance capital of the world, with his famous sons like Leonardo, Dante, Machiavelli and Michelangelo. The world-famous Duomo with Brunelleschi’s cupola and the marble clad baptistery are simply breath-taking, but not all the monuments are like this. A lot of streets of the historic town centre are often narrow and dark and still breathing that medieval feeling. The palaces are often robust and intimidating, but then you find yourself wander onto one the amazing squares in Florence: wonderful Mediterranean places where you will like spending hours sitting down, having a few beers and just watching people passing by.

A view at the bridges crossing the Arno in Florence from one of the viewpoints surrounding the cityTo get a great overview of Florence, you have plenty of choices: climb the “Cupolone” of the Duomo or the Giotto Tower, head for Piazzale Michelangelo in Oltrarno (South or literally “other” side of river Arno) or go a bit further, up to the church of San Miniato.

Recommended things to do in Florence

If you really want to get a taste of the town, it’s best to travel on foot with a city map in your hand and just take your time. For a more in depth look at the city and background information on the historic wealth of Florence we can only advise you to book a guided tour or even take an entry class in art history for 3 days including visits to the Uffizi, important churches and some Medici-villas. The best place to do this is at arthistoryflorence.com. A professor in art history will tell you all about the famous Medici-family, important paintings and buildings in Florence. Also highly recommended is the guided tour of the Medici gardens

Recommended Hotels in Florence

Hotel Price Range User Score
*** Hotel Rosso 23 € 117 per night per room 9,3
**** Grand Hotel Baglioni € 261 per night per room 8,1
**** Kraft Hotel Florence € 130 per room per night 8,8
Search all 375 hotels in Florence

Getting to Florence

Florence has it’s own airport, Amerigo Vespucci International Airport (IATA: FLR). The airport is pretty close to the town centre so you won’t loose much time there. With a bus or taxi it takes about 15 minutes to get to the centre of Florence.

Modern high-speed Eurostar Italia trains from Milano to Rome or Napels stop right in the town centre at Firenze Santa Maria Novella Station. There are also overnight trains from Paris and some German cities like Munich. These will get you in Florence in the morning and you’ll have the whole day ahead of you exploring this wonderfull city.

Driving your car to Florence is not really recommended. It can be quite expensive to park your car for the whole day and on some days it’s not even allowed to drive in to the city centre due to possible smog in the summer. Best place to park is under the central train station Santa Maria Novella or at the other side of the Arno in Oltrarno.

Getting around in Florence

By Bus
Visit Google Transit for the updated timetable of Florence town

You can also take a look at the following bus companies that operate in and around Florence

ATAF for Florence town
FLORENTIA BUS for Mugello, Valdisieve and Valdarno
LAZZI for Lucca, Pistoia, Empoli
SITA For the Chianti area or Val di Pesa
Florence to Siena by bus or Siena to Florence by bus every hour, departure near the Santa Maria Novella train station.

Pictures of Florence

A small collection of images of the beauty of Florence can be found on the page Pictures of Florence