Some 13 million tourists flock to Florence every year, buzzing around the World Heritage Site landmarks of its historic centre. And as the cradle of the Renaissance, it is a city not to be missed. Within a short walk, you can marvel at its Duomo, gaze at the Da Vincis and Botticellis in the Uffizi gallery and Michelangelo’s David in the Galleria dell’Accademia, then stroll across the medieval Ponte Vecchio.
The warmest months are generally July and August, while June and September have warm weather without it being too hot. As Florence lacks a prevailing wind, summer temperatures are higher than along the coast. Keep in mind that in August many Italians escape the heat of the city - outside of the historical centre, a large number of businesses including shops and restaurants close down for at least two weeks if not the entire month. The coolest months are December and January, with January being a bit cooler.
The origins of Florence are Roman, but it was during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance that the city flourished as one of Europe’s greatest and wealthiest settlements – its wealth based on silk and fabrics, and on a series of immensely rich banking dynasties. Florence is called the capital of arts; according to statistics produced by Unesco, 60% of the world's most important works of art are located in Italy and approximately half of these are in Florence. From the 13th to the 16th century it was a seemingly endless source of creative masterpieces and Italian genius. Both Dante and Michelangelo were born here. Boccaccio wrote his 'Decameron' in Florence. The Italian Renaissance, Europe's richest cultural period, began in Florence when the artist Brunelleschi finished the Duomo, with the huge dome.
Few cities are so compact in size while so packed with extraordinary art and architectural masterpieces at every turn. The urban fabric of this small city, on the banks of the Arno river in northeastern Tuscany, has hardly changed since the Renaissance and its narrow cobbled streets are a cinematic feast of elegant 15th and 16th century palazzi (palaces), medieval candle-lit chapels, fresco-decorated churches, marble basilicas and world class art museums brimming with paintings and sculptures by Botticcelli, Michelangelo et al. Unsurprisingly, the entire city centre is a Unesco World Heritage site.
Types of property
Many overseas buyers long for an apartment in the centre of town, with a panoramic rooftop terrace to soak up the views. They are also gravitating towards buildings such as the Four Seasons-managed Palazzo Tornabuoni, which provides a product of international standards in a landmark palazzo. Others seek respite from the city in the nearby hills where you can combine the luxury of space and tranquillity with the privilege of having great art and culture on the doorstep.
Florence is well-connected with the rest of Italy and with Europe, and is easy to get to by air or land. In the last few years there has been a significant increase in traffic in and out of Florence's Peretola Airport, and the infrastructure and facilities are constantly being upgraded. It is the international airport of Florence, the capital of the Italian region of Tuscany. It is the second-busiest Tuscan airport in terms of passengers after Pisa International Airport. Florence is also a key node on the Italian railway network. It has good connections with the main cities in the north, while to the south Rome is only about an hour and a half away. The A1 motorway, the main road artery linking the north and south of the country, runs past Florence, which has four exits.
Read more about property in Italy in our Italian View publication.