Another of Italy’s picturesque and artistic cities, Florence is easily reached from the cruise ports of Livorno and La Spezia. Like when I wish to travel to Rome, I always travel from the cruise port to Florence by train as it saves time sitting in traffic on a coach.

Florence is one of my favourite cities because of the sheer amount of architectural beauty it has. Down almost every street you walk there is something of interest and Basilia di Santa Maria del Fiore dominates the skyline of the city. The entire historic centre of the city has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its historical and artistic roots.

The Duomo

The Duomo, as it is traditionally called, dates back to the end of the 13th century and the dome stands at an incredible height of 90metres, placing it significantly higher than the rest of the buildings in the city. Despite being completed over 600 years ago, the dome is still the largest brick and mortar dome in the world.

The top of the dome can be reached by the public, by climbing over 450 steps to reach the top, a climb that is rewarded by views over the city and surrounding hills. The exterior of the Duomo, and Giotto’s bell tower next to it, is decorated in marble panels in varying shades of green, pink and white.

The Ponte Vecchio is another example of Florence’s interesting architecture. The bridge, which is neither particularly high nor particularly wide, spans the River Arno at its narrowest point and connects the city. It is attractive because of the seemingly precariously balanced buildings on the edges of the bridge which are a collection of shops, and have been since the bridge was first reconstructed in 1345.

There are also a number of beautiful art galleries within the city, such as the Uffizi Gallery and the Pitti Palace which would greatly appeal to art lovers.

The Uffizi Gallery

The Uffizi Gallery can be found at the corner of Piazza della Signoria, and was founded by one of the members of the Medici family- the most powerful family in the history of Florence for around three centuries. It has some of the works of Leonardo, Andrea del Sarto and Raphael, to name but a few.

As such it is a definite must visit for art enthusiasts, as is the city of Florence itself. If you are visiting the Uffizi Gallery then tickets can be purchased in advance online which saves waiting in what can be a very long queue at the ticket office.

Thanks Emma