Sixt Europe Travel Guide – Florence
Today’s Europe month instalment is our second Italian entry and capital of the Italian region of Tuscan. Florence was the center of medieval European trade and was formally one of the wealthiest cities in the world. Rich with history, Florence is widely considered to be birthplace of renaissance. And with its beautiful churches and Piazzas, it’s easy to see why such a picturesque city could inspire some of the greatest thinkers of all time.
Italians are consistently referred to as being romantic people, a church in Florence that represents this is Beatrice’s Church. It is at this church where Dante met his forbidden lover, Beatrice. The actually name of the church is Santa Margherita die Cerchi, however, is commonly referred to as Beatrice’s due to this tale. Tradition has seen that Jilted, distraught and betrayed lovers often leave message on Beatrice’s grave as it is now seen as a symbol for lovers who can’t stay together.
Another church not to be missed during your time in Florence is Basilica of Santa Croce where many of the great minds from the renaissance have laid to rest, including Dante, Galileo, Rossini and Michelangelo. The grandest cathedral in Florence has simply been coined ‘Il Duomo’, real name Santa Maria del Fiore. The cathedral was completed in 1436, having taken almost 200 years to finish. The astonishing gothic architecture was years before its time and still stands the test of time.
Open all day from Tuesday to Saturday, San Lorenzos Market Florence is favorite with locals and tourist alike to grab a bargain. The market is split into two; one, a two tiered indoor market selling food, with an abundance of free samples of the delicious Mediterranean food; the other is a huge outdoor market selling clothing, leather and souvenirs.
However, the most visited attraction in Florence is the Uffizi Gallery, one of the oldest and most famous art galleries in the western world, which host the world best collection of art from the renaissance period. This is regarded as one of the must see while visiting Florence, so much so that it is advised to book your tickets in advanced to avoid disappointment. Inside you will find masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Botticelli.
Florence is one of Italy’s top tourist destinations, although just a short drive outside the city are some great little towns that are definitely worth a look. Val d’Orcia encompasses all that you would consider beautiful and Italian. This stunning area of Tuscany is home to a handful of castles, hamlets, villages offering stunning views of the valleys and a collection of the regions finest wine. Val d’Orcia is a 2 hour drive from Florence in your Sixt rent a car, and complementing this scenic drive perfectly would be a Fiat 500. With this compact vehicle, the 2 hours will fly by. To fully utilize your rent a car, also drive it to Cinque Terre. Following your relaxing drive you can enjoy hiking trails offering break taking views of the landscape or simply bask in the 11 miles of uninterrupted coastlines. These areas can get busy, so your Fiat 500 will be perfect for finding those hard to reach parking spaces. For more information on car rentals with Sixt, contact Sixt rent a car in Florence.