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Florence's hidden gems

Monday 02 Jan 2017 {{NI.ViewCount}} Views {{NI.ViewCount}} Views

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Return time and again and you still won't see it all. Stand on a bridge over the Arno river several times in a day and the light, mood and view changes every time. Surprisingly small as it is, Florence (Firenze) is magnetic, romantic and busy. Its urban fabric has hardly changed since the Renaissance, its narrow streets evoke a thousand tales, and its food and wine are so wonderful the tag 'Fiorentina' has become an international label of quality assurance.

Arrival- The Florence airport (FLR), called Amerigo Vespucci, is connected to some of Europe's major airports and is situated just 4 km from the city center. The center of Florence can be reached in about 15 minutes by taxi (approx. 20 euros), and in about 20 minutes with the Busitalia SITA Nord "Vola in Bus" bus shuttle (6 euros) which operates between the airport and the central railway station of Santa Maria Novella.

However once you have arrived in Florence you don't need to stay on the tourist track. Why not explore some of the unique options below whilst attending ICS 2017.

Museums - La Specola, is the Museum of Zoology and Natural History in Florence, it is the oldest scientific museum in Europe filled with stuffed animals and wax anatomical models from 1700's.

Gardens - The Boboli and Bardini Gardens provide some of the best views of the city. You can buy tickets in advance to save on queuing. Most tourists walk around the gardens close to the palace and don't venture much further so you can relax in Boboli gardens without too many tourists surrounding you if you continue just a little bit more to where you will find the entrance to the Bardini gardens. This small Renaissance garden is perched up high enough so that when you walk in you get great views of the city.

Food - The Florence Food Tour is a must for anyone who loves food. This unique tour walking food tour around Florence is the perfect way to learn about the local delicacies, history and meet the locals! What could be better?

Heritage - Visit the Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella a centuries old pharmacy/perfumery which is part of Florence's cultural heritage and also includes historical objects relating to the production of medicine, creams and perfumes. It is free to enter and open every day from 10.30-7.00pm.

Architecture - if you love architecture you must visit the Pazzi Chapel! The Chapel was built by Brunelleschi (who also designed Florence's dome) and is a fantastic example of Renaissance architecture.

Mystery - Walk the secret hallways of the Vasari Corridor - The Vasari Corridor was built in 1565 as a private walkway for the Medicis (the monarchs of Florence). Entering through a hidden stairwell from the Uffizi museum, the passage contains a range of Renaissance artists, including Vasari, through to 20th century artists. Finally, enjoy the private view of the Santa Felicità Church. Booking is required be sure to book in advance.

Art - Head over to Oltrarno if you are interested in buying some modern art, this is Florence's Artists' Quarter. You will find a range of artists from glass, furniture, ceramicists, jewellers, woodworkers, paper marblers and more - the choices are endless! You can even visit the studio of a local street artist, CLET. He is well known for his local street art which you may see whilst you are in Florence- keep your eye out for unusual street signs!

Shopping - Florence is famous for its out-of-town fashion outlets, the Mall. Just a half-hour drive from the city, it’s home to many designer names all of them offering discounts from 30% to 70%.‬

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