If you take a city break in Florence during a peak season month such as June or September you’re likely to find that the prices are pretty high. In contrast, for those people looking to spend a few days away in one of Europe’s most beautiful cities during the winter months there are some fantastic deals to be found, with flight and hotel prices often being at their lowest.
Most visitors to Florence fly in to nearby Pisa, as Florence’s own airport is small and has a very limited number of flights. The flight options available in the winter months are more limited than in the summer, but flights are possible from some regional airports and prices are often very attractive. From Pisa airport there are excellent rail and coach links into the centre of Florence.
Florence can get bitterly cold in winter, but for tourists who don’t mind wrapping up, January and February are delightfully peaceful months when you can wander around the city centre in peace and view the stunning architecture and the treasure trove of art galleries without fighting with crowds of people.
For art lovers, the top Florence attraction is, of course, the Uffizi Gallery. Giotto’s frescoes and canvases by Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci are just a few of the highlights. You could spend a whole week visiting the Uffizi, seeing a room a day. However, in winter it is possible to see all the important masterpieces such as the Birth of Venus in only a few hours.
It is also worth checking what’s on at the Palazzo Strozzi, one of Italy’s most dynamic exhibition venues. The Strozzi offers a wide variety of exceptional shows. The current exhibition, The Russian Avant-Garde, Siberia and the East, runs until 19th January.
Another of Florence’s must-see sights is the Duomo, With the eight white ribs and terracotta tiles of the famous Brunelleschi dome, the Duomo is enormous close to and a guide is recommended to fully appreciate its history. Brave (and fit) visitors will climb the 463 steps to the top where you can see the inside of the dome up close and get an amazing view of Florence below. Nearby are the Baptistry and Museo dell’Opera del Duomo which are also worth visiting as you can see many of the original statues and decorative elements from the cathedral.
The Ponte Vecchio, the oldest of Florence’s six bridges, is another of Florence’s famous treasures. Probably dating back to Roman times with its stone pillars and wooden planks; it was rebuilt after a flood in 1333. In the winter months you will be able to browse in the many charming shops on the bridge and perhaps enjoy the sunset upon the ArnoRiver, a breathtaking sight.
Make the most of an off-season visit to Florence – wander into the Piazza della Signoria at night and enjoy having the place to yourself. The site of political decisions, executions and sublime works of art, your eyes are drawn up to the menacing Torre Vecchio then down to the copy of Michelangelo’s stunning, legendary Boy David (the real thing is in the Accademia). Just stand here and experience Florence in all its glory.