Not to be missed: one of Europe’s most beautiful cities and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city’s historic, religious and artistic centre is Piazza del Duomo with the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore topped by Brunelleschi’s majestic dome, the Baptistery of San Giovanni, and Giotto’s bell tower. In Piazza della Signoria stand the 14th century Loggia dei Lanzi, the Fountain of Neptune and the Palazzo Vecchio. The stunning Uffizi gallery is home to one of the world’s most important art museums. Palazzo Pitti boasts the wonderful Boboli Gardens, with architecture, statues and fountains.
Dining out: The traditional cuisine, based on country fare, is made from simple ingredients: toasted savouries (crostini) topped with chicken livers and veal spleen; pappardelle pasta with hare ragout; panzanella sala; tomato soup or “pappa al pomodoro”; the famous Florentine T-bone steaks; stewed tripe or “lampredotto” tripe sandwiches; and boiled or casseroled beans are just some of the very tasty specialities. The wines are also excellent, and include Chianti Classico DOCG, Pomino DOC, Bianco dell’Empolese DOC, Colli dell’Etruria Centrale DOC, Toscana IGT and Vin Santo DOC.