Arno South Bank Walking Tour, Florence (Self Guided)

Arno South Bank, also known as Oltrarno, what literally means "beyond the Arno", is a magical place, though not everyone knows about it. The many historical places located in this part of the city will amaze you. Take this tour to see some wonderful sites that you will never forget.
How it works: Download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

Arno South Bank Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Arno South Bank Walking Tour
Guide Location: Italy » Florence (See other walking tours in Florence)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 13
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.0 km
Author: greghasleft
San Frediano in Cestello

1) San Frediano in Cestello

One of the lesser visited attractions in the city of Florence is the San Frediano in Cestello. This beautiful structure represents the late Baroque style of architecture.

The present church is built on the same site as the monastery of Santa Maria degli Angeli that was founded in 1450. In the early seventeenth century, the church was occupied by the Cistercians, which is where the word, ‘cestello’ is derived from. By the end of the seventeenth century, the church was commissioned for renovation under architects Gherardo Silvani and Giulio Cerutti. Work on the new design started in 1680 and by 1689 the construction was abruptly stopped leaving the façade that faced the Arno River and the town unfinished. Like many other churches in Florence, the façade of the San Frediano also remains incomplete till this present day.

Although Florentine churches may not have much in terms of craft and design on the exterior, the interiors are sure to mesmerize you the minute you step in. This is also seen at the San Frediano. The interiors of the church showcase the late Baroque style and design. The dome of the church is embellished with ornate frescos that were contributed by some great artists like Anton Domenico Gabbiani, Matteo Bonechi, Alessandro Gherardini and Antonio Puglieschi.

Today, the San Frediano in Cestello is converted into an Archiepiscopal Seminary, which is still very active.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Santa Maria del Carmine

2) Santa Maria del Carmine

The Santa Maria del Carmine church serves as a shrine to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the name given to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Built in the late 13th century, what one can see today on the exteriors is just the remains of the Romanesque- Gothic structure. In the 18th century, a fire nearly destroyed the entire structure and miraculously spared the Brancacci Chapel- the Renaissance Fresco, the church is most renowned for.

The Brancacci Chapel stands as a monument of the immergence of the Italian Renaissance. The fresco that adorns the wall of the Santa Maria del Carmine is among the most influential and an important turning point in the history of Italian Art. The making of the fresco in the Brancacci Chapel began in 1425, when Masolino da Panicale was commissioned to work on three walls of the chapel. Masolino called upon his associate, the 21 year old Masaccio to assist him throughout the project. His brief visit to Hungary left Masaccio in charge of the fresco, which led to a major influence of his style on the fresco which is seen as one of the best works of his life. However, Masaccio’s demise in 1428 left the fresco abandoned for 60 years till the arrival of Filippino Lippi, who also contributed immensely to the Chapel.

Corsini Chapel also makes part of the Santa Maria del Carmine church. The Corsini, probably the richest family in Florence during the 17th–18th centuries, had this chapel built in 1675, to hold the remains of St. Andrew Corsini (1301–1374), a member of the family who became a Carmelite friar and the Bishop of Fiesole, canonized in 1629. The architect Pier Francesco Silvani choose for it the Baroque style then popular in Rome. The small dome was frescoed by Luca Giordano in 1682. The elaborated Italian Rococo ceiling is from one of the most important 18th century artists in the city, Giovanni Domenico Ferretti.
La Specola

3) La Specola

Amidst the historical churches and architectural marvels surrounding Florence is the oldest science museums in Europe, The La Specola.

The Museum of Zoology and Natural History or better known as La Specola, was opened in 1775 by the Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo di Lorena. The Prince envisioned a museum which was open to public. This is why he purchased a block of building very close to the Pitti Palace and converted it into a museum. The museum was inaugurated in 1775 and was officially opened to the public and has been ever since. Up until the 19th century, La Specola was the only scientific museum in the world with open admission, opening hours, guided tours and museum curators.

Spread across 34 rooms, the La Specola boasts a vast collection of fossils, natural resources, minerals, animal specimens, exotic plants and rare books. Many exhibits in the museum date back to fourteenth and fifteenth century and the Medici family. The Medici family had a passion and tradition of collecting artefacts from all over the world which is displayed very proudly at the La Specola.

However, the prized possession of the museum was, and still remains, the collection of anatomical wax models, an art form introduced by Ludovico Cigoli. The wax models were made for teaching anatomy without having to cut open a cadaver.

Operation hours: October 1 to May 31: Tuesday - Sunday: 9:30 am - 4:30 pm; June 1 to September 31: Tuesday - Sunday: 10:30 am - 5:30 pm
Chiesa di San Felice

4) Chiesa di San Felice

The Chiesa di San Felice or the Church of Saint Felix is in the Piazza San Felice, west of the Pitti Palace. Located on the south banks of the River Arno, the Chiesa di San Felice is arguably the oldest church after San Lorenzo. The first structure on the site traces back to the Roman times. However, a church on this site has been mentioned in documents only since the 1066. This church is said to have been built in 1400’s. However, the structure subsequently underwent a number of modifications and restorations. In 1926, the Church caught fire after which it underwent a major restoration.

The Chiesa di San Felice is constructed in accordance to the Gothic style of architecture. The façade done by Michelozzo, however, blends in a Renaissance essence in to the Church. The Church is also known for the large Crucifix adorned in the main chapel over the high altar which is the work of either Giotto or his school.

The Chiesa di San Felice also played an important role during the Second World War and German occupation. The Church not only stood as a pillar of resistance during that time but also played a vital role in protecting and giving refuge to prosecuted Jews.
Casa Guidi

5) Casa Guidi

Casa Guidi is the fifteenth-century patrician house in Piazza San Felice, 8, near the south end of the Pitti Palace in Florence, in which the piano nobile apartment was inhabited by Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning between 1847 and Mrs Browning's death in 1861. After their son Pen's death in 1912, the apartment was bought by several Browning enthusiasts. By that time, Casa Guidi was in poor shape, and the apartment retained hardly any furniture or paintings. The Browning Society in New York restored it, before giving it to Eton College which undertook further work so that the building could be used as a study centre. Today, it is part of The Eton College Collections, but is administered by the Landmark Trust, who also look after the house in Rome where Keats died. When not being used by Eton boys, the property is available for holiday lets booked through the Landmark Trust.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Palazzo Pitti

6) Palazzo Pitti (must see)

Palazzo Pitti is yet another architectural marvel in Florence to miss which would be a shame. The main highlight of the palace is undoubtedly Renaissance architecture coupled with the spectacular gardens every turn of which breathes new adventure.

Today the enormous palace brings under one roof several museums, whereas originally it was the official residence of the incredibly powerful Medici family. First built in the second half of the 15th century for Luca Pitti, it was still unfinished at the time of his death in 1472. In the year 1550, the palace was bought by Eleonora di Toledo, wife of the Grand Duke Cosimo I de' Medici. When the Medici dynasty came to an end, the property fell into the hands of the House of Lorraine and, in the early 19th century, Napoleon Bonaparte used it as a power base during his reign over Italy.

Everything about this palace oozes class, be it the Palatine Gallery with over 500 paintings, or the lavish Royal Apartments of the Medicis, or the “Medici Treasury” with the priceless 15th-century silver, or the Costumes Gallery, or the Porcelain and Carriages Museums. The impressive painted ceilings, walls and ground decorations project the image of a private royal residence despite the fact since 1919, the palazzo itself and everything inside have been the property of the Italian people, donated by King Victor Emmanuel III, nowadays attracting over 5 million visitors each year.

A combined full ticket to the Pitti Museums & Gardens is valid for 2 days. Depending on how much time you've got, you can easily spend 3 hours just walking around the gardens – as long as you don't forget your hat and a bottle of water.
One way to avoid a long queue to the palace is taking a tour – yes, there is a cost involved, but the tour implies skipping the line, plus a good use of your time in Florence because the guides will direct you straight to the highlights of the collections which you otherwise would have struggled to locate yourself. Wise move!!!

Tue-Sun: 8:15am-6:50pm (including the Palatine Gallery, the Royal Apartments and the Gallery of Modern Art)
Boboli Gardens (Giardino di Boboli)

7) Boboli Gardens (Giardino di Boboli) (must see)

The Boboli Gardens is one of the most elegant gardens in Florence. Sitting just behind the Pitti Palace, they are said to have been the first few gardens of the 16th century – built for the wife of Cosimo I of Medici, Eleonora di Toledo – involving many renowned landscape architects of the time.

One of them, Niccolo Tribolo worked the gardens till his death in 1550, upon which the job was taken over by Bartolomeo Ammanati and Bernardo Buontalenti both credited with the invention of the so-called Mannerist style that succeeded the Renaissance period in Florence. Replete with long axial developments, wide gravel avenues, a considerable stone element, lavish employment of statuary and fountains, and a proliferation of detail manifested in the classical accents such as grottos, nymphaea, garden temples and the like, the Boboli Gardens thus represent an ideal showcase of the Mannerism in all its diversity. The openness of the garden, with an expansive view of the city, was also rather unconventional for the period and served as the prototype which inspired many European royal gardens, especially Versailles.

Over the years, the Boboli Gardens have undergone large-scale reconstructions as a result of which they now cover an area of approximately 11 acres of land – or 4,5 hectares. They are also often looked upon as an open-air museum displaying art, sculptures and antiquities dating back to the Roman era through the 16th-17th centuries.

Whenever you may want to take a break from it all – noise, crowds, queues – just to be surrounded by natural beauty, this is the place. 10 euros on the door may seem like a steep price, but if you pack your picnic and stick around for a while so as to soak up the atmosphere to the maximum, you will see where all the money goes. It takes some stamina to get around the garden as it is quite hilly and sometimes lots of stairs too, but in return, you will get some truly terrific views of the city, plus the numerous pretty discoveries along the way. There are several recommended walking paths in the garden to match everyone's abilities. At the end, you can take the northern exit to visit Fort Belvedere or the south-western one to visit La Specola which houses the Museum of Zoology and Natural History. The choice is always yours!

Entry is included in the FirenzeCard and you don't need to queue if you have the card; go straight to the bookshop inside the Pitti Palace to gain access.
A full exploration will take approximately 2 hours – bring some snacks, water and good shoes.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 8:15am-6:30pm
Santo Spirito

8) Santo Spirito

The Santo Spirito or the Basilica of Santa Maria del Santo Spirito, is another building in Florence that is credited to the brilliant Renaissance architect - Filippo Brunelleschi. The Santo Spirito was built as a twin to the church of Saint Lorenzo which was also initially designed by Brunelleschi.

The Santo Spirito was constructed on the site where once stood a thirteenth century Augustanian convent that was destroyed in a fire. Although the church was designed by Brunelleschi, he did not live long enough to see his plan take form. However, his designs and plans were incorporated and influenced the construction of the building tremendously.

At first glance the Santo Spirito, with its plain exteriors, may not look like a very impressive building. However the true beauty and design can be appreciated in the interiors of the church. The interior of the church is termed as one the finest specimen that displays the grandeur and elegance of Renaissance architecture. One can see a lot of Baroque embellishes in the interiors, and a special mention to Baldachin over the high raised altar. The walls of the chapel are adorned with some of the finest works of Fillipino Lippi, Alessandro Allori, Fransesco Botticini, Cosimo Rosselli and other renowned renaissance artists.

However, sharing similar fate with its twin, the Santo Spirito too has a plain façade.
Chiesa di Santa Felicita

9) Chiesa di Santa Felicita

The chiesa di Santa Felicita (Church of St Felicity) is a church in Florence, probably the oldest in the city after San Lorenzo. In the 2nd century, Syrian Greek merchants settled in the area south of the Arno and are thought to have brought Christianity to the region. The first church on the site was probably built in the late 4th century or early 5th century and was dedicated to Saint Felicity of Rome. A new church was built in the 11th century and the current church largely dates from 1736–1739, under design by Ferdinando Ruggieri, who turned it into a one nave edifice. The monastery was suppressed under the Napoleonic occupation of 1808-1810. In the church there are also the Martyrdom of the Maccabees (1863) by Antonio Ciseri in the 3rd chapel on the right, the Meeting of St. Anne and St. Joachim, attributed to Michele Tosini, at the end of the right transept, the Assumption of the Virgin with Saints (1677), attributed to Baldassare Franceschini, at the end of the left transept.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge)

10) Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) (must see)

Ponte Vecchio (or The Old Bridge) in Florence appeared in documents for the first time in 996. Of all the six local bridges crossing the river Arno, it was the only one spared by the retreating Germans in 1944. Today, this Medieval stone arch bridge stands testament to what a monarch can accomplish in terms of lasting legacy.

Still lined with shops, as was commonplace in the Middle Ages, this bridge is presently occupied by jewelers, art dealers and souvenir sellers, whereas initially, its tenants were all butchers who habitually dumped rotten animal carcasses straight into the river below. That was the case until the 16th century when Grand Duke Fernandino I de' Medici demanded that all the butcher shops were replaced by goldsmiths – thus not only did he rid the bridge of its rotting stench, but also turned it into the golden-most spot in Italy.

If looking at Ponte Vecchio from a distance, one can notice there an upper level, which is in fact a kilometer-long tunnel linking the Palazzo Pitti with Palazzo Vecchio and using which, back in the day, Duke Fernandino could walk freely between the two palaces whenever he felt insecure in public. Although the passageway is now closed since 2016 for safety reasons, the Uffizi Gallery has announced plans to re-open it by 2021.

One of the legends surrounding the bridge is it that the economic term “bankruptcy” originated right here when a money-changer who couldn't pay his debts, in punishment for his insolvency had his trading table physically broken by soldiers, so he could no longer sell anything. The table was called "banco", and thus the term "bancorotto" came into being.

Today, the Ponte Vecchio is a pleasant place to walk in the evening, if not packed end to end with thousands of tourists traversing the river over its cobblestones.

Why You Should Visit:
The sunset light here makes it a special spot to cross or watch from afar. The morning light on the river is just as gorgeous a sight to behold and, if you come here early in the day, you may stand a pretty good chance of having this “old bridge” all to yourself!

If you do cross the bridge, be careful with your surroundings to avoid getting pickpocketed.
Fort Belvedere (Forte di Belvedere)

11) Fort Belvedere (Forte di Belvedere)

A perfect sample of both Italian Renaissance and military architecture, Fort Belvedere was built at the end of the 16th century by Grand Duke Ferdinando I de' Medici to protect the city of Florence and to demonstrate the power and prestige of the Medici Family. In addition, it was used to hold the Medici's treasury, as well as to provide emergency shelter for the Grand Duke himself, should the city ever come under attack. For that purpose, the fort was connected to Palazzo Vecchio via corridor over the Ponte Vecchio, plus there were other passages connecting it to the Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens.

From a military standpoint, the fortress – largest in Florence – occupies a strategic vantage point over the city and surrounding area. Due to the nature of the Renaissance-time warfare, forts were paramount to the defense strategy and Belvedere served this purpose all too well as a citadel and garrison for troops for over 100 years after its completion. Its walls are purposely placed at angles to each other so as to allow good observation of and, if necessary, crossfire to defend the neighboring walls. Galileo Galilei, in turn, used it for astronomical observations and, after being sentenced to life imprisonment in 1633, used to live nearby at Villa Arcetri.

After five years of renovation to improve safety, the fort was reopened to visitors in July 2013, now serving primarily as an exhibition center. A small entry fee to the place is worth every penny of it and you can walk around the site freely, enjoying a beautiful panorama of Florence and the surrounding hills.

On the upper floor of the Fort, there is a nice cafeteria where you can have a decent meal or a cold drink.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 11am-8pm
Piazzale Michelangelo

12) Piazzale Michelangelo (must see)

Florence is a very beautiful city and Piazzale Michelangelo does prove it in all certainty. Designed by Giuseppe Poggi, this large square – filled with souvenir stalls – provides a magnificent panorama over the rooftops of Florence, with the most recognizable and photographed view being that of the Duomo Cathedral and its cupola, along with the Giotto Bell Tower and Palazzo Vecchio. Over the years, this famous view has been reproduced on countless postcards, although there are other landmarks in the vicinity too, such as Fort Belvedere, Santa Croce, and Ponte Vecchio.

The square itself was laid out in 1869, at a time when Florence was the capital of Italy and the whole city was involved in an urban renewal program, the so-called "Risanamento" ("Rebirth") of the city's middle class.

Dedicated to the great Renaissance sculptor Michelangelo, the square houses copies of some of his works found elsewhere in Florence, such as “David” and the four allegories of the Medici Chapel of San Lorenzo. While the originals are all in white marble, the copies here on display are made of bronze and were brought up the hill by nine pairs of oxen, all of them likely in a very sweaty state, to fulfill Giuseppe Poggi's original dream.

Thousands of people want to be here at sunset, which admittedly is beautiful, and if you are in the right spot, you can enjoy the sun reflecting off the Arno river with a glass of wine in hand. Bringing your own drink is a good option, unless you want to take advantage of the restaurants and bars located all around, the most famous of which features a Neoclassical design. Taking into account the precious location, prices here are actually quite reasonable.

About halfway up the main stairway is a city rose garden, where you can spend a quiet half-hour wandering and relaxing, with views of the Duomo and city framed by trees and roses.

After sunset, you can walk down, which is much easier and you can enjoy more of the dusk on the way.

The square on a sunny day will torture you with heat – bring your hat at the least.
San Miniato al Monte

13) San Miniato al Monte (must see)

Standing atop one of the highest points in Florence, San Miniato has been described as one of the finest Romanesque structures in Tuscany and one of Italy's most beautiful churches. Though it's not easy to get to in case of limited mobility, it makes a very nice combination with Piazzale Michelangelo, and is completely free to visit along with the adjoining Olivetan monastery seen to the right of the basilica, when ascending the stairs.

An Armenian prince serving in the Roman army under Emperor Decius, St. Miniato or Minas was denounced as a Christian after becoming a hermit and was brought before the Emperor who ordered him to be thrown to beasts in an amphitheater where a panther was called upon him but refused to devour him. Eventually beheaded in the presence of the Emperor, he is alleged to have picked up his head, crossed the river Arno and walked up the hill of Mons Fiorentinus to his hermitage. A shrine was later erected at this spot followed by a chapel in the 8th century.

Construction of the present basilica was financed by a clothe merchants' guild who were responsible for the church's upkeep. Tuscan Romanesque in style, complete with beautiful mosaic decorations, superb marble inlay altar, and even a “pagan” horoscope, it is quite a spectacular sight with many pieces created by some of the finest artists in Florence.

Once you have explored the church, it's interesting to poke around the rather surreal and intriguing cemetery that houses some very old and elaborate tombstones, including those of many important city residents, such as Carlo Collodi of “Pinocchio” fame.

Last but not least, the small gift shop on the premises carries a wide assortment of interesting gifts, such as herbal liqueurs, honey, herbal teas, and high-quality medicinal tinctures prepared by the Olivetan monks.

At 5:30pm, you can join or observe the mass which is in Latin and Italian with all the hymns sung by the priests. By 6:30 pm, the monks come out to chant their vespers, too!
And, of course, make sure you go behind the church to view the city in all of its glory!

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9:30am-1pm / 3:30-7pm

Walking Tours in Florence, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Florence

Create Your Own Walk in Florence

Creating your own self-guided walk in Florence is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Historic Centre Nightlife

Historic Centre Nightlife

Well known for its beautiful historic architecture and for its huge contribution to the Renaissance movement in Italy, Florence remains a vibrant, thriving center of activity that hosts not only a large tourism trade, but also attracts a lot of international students studying abroad. As such, Florence possesses a hot nightlife scene where guests from around the world can hear some amazing music...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 km
City Orientation Walking Tour

City Orientation Walking Tour

The city of Florence was founded by Julius Caesar in 59 BC as a settlement for veteran soldiers and, as such, was built in the style of an army camp with the main streets intersecting at the present Piazza della Repubblica. The original name Fluentia was due to the fact that the city was built between two rivers. Later, the name was changed to Florentia which means “flowering” or...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 km
Duomo Souvenir Shopping

Duomo Souvenir Shopping

It would be a pity to leave Florence without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Florence, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 km
Novella Walking Tour

Novella Walking Tour

Florence is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, and has been called "the Athens of the Middle Ages". This city has to offer a lot of wonderful places to admire. Take this tour to walk along the Arno embankment and explore the south-eastern part of the Santa Maria Novella quarter.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.1 km
Novella & Indipendenza Walking Tour

Novella & Indipendenza Walking Tour

Florence is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, and has been called "the Athens of the Middle Ages". This city has to offer a lot of wonderful places to admire. Take this tour to explore Indipendenza and Santa Maria Novella quarters, visit beautiful Dominican basilica of Santa Maria Novella, as well as Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Accademia di Belle Arti, Cappella dei Principi and...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 km
Michelangelo's Masterpieces Walking Tour

Michelangelo's Masterpieces Walking Tour

Michelangelo spent over 20 years of his life in Florence during which he created some of the most beautiful masterpieces this city had ever seen. The most famous of them, the David, is also located in Florence along with a few copies. Take this tour to discover the Florence side of Michelangelo's artistic mastership.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

Souvenir Shopping Guide: 16 Unique Products to Buy in Florence

Souvenir Shopping Guide: 16 Unique Products to Buy in Florence

Compared to other Italian "grands" like Rome, Venice, or Milan, Florence is relatively less-known to an outsider for any local products, save, perhaps, Florentine mosaics and Fiorentina FC. Fortunately, there are tonnes of locally-originated things that this Italian city is rightfully...
Florence's Tasty Coffee Shop Guide

Florence's Tasty Coffee Shop Guide

The caffe scene throughout Italy is an important factor of everyday life. People will pop in to their favorite bar on their way to work for a quick espresso breakfast with a pastry, they’ll grab a slice of pizza for lunch or drop by for an aperitivo before dining out and take a peaceful digestivo...
Top 14 Pubs in Florence

Top 14 Pubs in Florence

Florence, the city of art and beauty has no problem in mastering the art of the nightlife as well. Local pubs are very popular and appreciated among the Florentines and the tourists. Locals and native English speakers that study or live in the city cannot wait to welcome tourists in their cozy...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Florence for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Florence has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes

To save yourself time and money visiting Florence's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as the Florence City Pass issued by Musement and the Florence City Pass by TicketBar.

A city pass combines all or multiple Florence's top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows you to skip the lines at major attractions, thus saving you precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels

Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Florence hotels that are conveniently located, but at the same time, also not so ridiculously expensive: Strozzi Palace Hotel, Rocco Forte Hotel Savoy, Hotel Pierre.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Florence, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours

We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Florence typically costs from around US$25 up to US$90 or more per person:

- Board a hop-on hop-off double-decker to enjoy sightseeing of Florence from the open top of the bus, listening in the headsets to the commentary provided in a variety of languages, and be able get off at any of the stops along the route.

- Embark on a self-balancing Segway tour – this usually lasts 3 hours and allows visitors to get a real sense of the city. Most people (even those aged 70+) find it quite fun and convenient, enabling to cover much more ground than you otherwise would have done by walking.

- Pedal your way around Florence on a 2.5-hour bike tour to visit the city's most spectacular sights, stopping at each of them for a bit of rest, watching the surroundings, and learning much about the city from an informative group leader.

- Enjoy a day of art and sightseeing in Florence at a great discount on the Florence Super Saver tour combining two best-selling guided tours for the price of one! Be guaranteed to skip the lines to the Accademia (hosting David) and Uffizi Galleries.

- Get yourself “under the skin” of Florence and explore the city's ghosts and curiosities at night. On this 2-hour night walk you will see the famous Florentine attractions in a different light and hear historical anecdotes and stories associated with them.

- Make the most of your time in Florence with a 3-hour guided walk to the most prominent sights of this magical city, e.g. Piazza della Signoria, Ponte Vecchio, Michelangelo's David, also discovering some of its hidden gems!

- Unleash your appetite for Florentine delicacies on this 3-hour food tour replete with tasting stops throughout the city. Follow an expert guide to eat and drink like a local, treat yourself to some of the top gourmet delights this city has to offer, including rich Italian coffee and gelato, explore the San Lorenzo Market, and so much more!

Day Trips

If you have a full or half day to spare whilst in Florence, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations, like Pisa and Lucca, Assisi and Cortona, Portovenere and the Cinque Terre, Siena, San Gimignano, or Chianti. For as little as US$50+ to US$100+ per person you will get a chance to discover the highlights of the UNESCO World Heritage sites including the legendary Leaning Tower of Pisa, Cortona and other towns of Tuscany, set your eyes on the small piece of paradise on Earth manifested in five little villages hanging on cliffs above the sea, learn about the life of St Francis of Assisi, enjoy the sight of a unique landscape and taste the food and wines of Italy. For any of these tours you will be picked up either straight at your hotel or a designated place in Florence, and transported by a comfortable air-conditioned coach, minibus, boat or a private vehicle (whichever is applicable) to the destination of your choice and back again.