Florence is a city made by art lovers for art lovers. Botticelli, da Vinci, Michelangelo, the Medici clan… a whole roll call of famous names lived in the city in the 15th century. These thinkers, artists and political theorists sparked a flurry of art and ideas that we now call the Renaissance. Walking holidays in Florence uncover a work of art around every corner, from the cathedral’s magnificent Brunelleschi Dome to footpaths that lead to sculptural gardens. You can still feel that vital spark here, too – especially when people spill out onto the streets on warm summer evenings to put the world to rights over a glass of Chianti.
Discovering Florence on foot
The streets of Florence are a walkable work of art, with the Piazza del Duomo a great starting point. From here, roads run parallel to the Arno, framed with world-famous galleries, restaurants, wine bars, churches and shops. Ponte Vecchio, with its medieval wooden-shuttered shops and arches over the river. From there, it’s a climb up to Palazzo Pitti, and up again to the Boboli Gardens for views over the city below. Walking tours led by local guides are the best way to learn about the Florentine past and present, revealing just how the Renaissance transformed Europe.
Eating out: feasts alla Fiorentina
Regular refuelling is required to get you around all those galleries and beautiful streets. It’s a good thing, then, that Florence is piled high with hole-in-the-wall bars, pizzerias, Michelin restaurants, family trattorias and markets. City specialities include supersized steaks (bistecca alla Fiorentina), arancini, bread salad (panzanella; more delicious than it sounds) and thin-crust pizza.
As for a digestif, sweet vin santo is served with cantucci – the Florentine edition of biscotti. Crema Fiorentina gelato is a must-try too, whipped up for a Medici wedding in the 17th century and flavoured with a generous glug of honey. For a more hands-on approach, sign up to a cooking class headed up by a local chef who’ll teach you the tricks of cooking up a Tuscan feast
A window into the world of Tuscan wine
Florence makes itself at home in the heart of Chianti country. Visit a wine estate in the hills to learn all about the history of the first named wine region in Italy. Back in Florence city centre, almost 200 wine windows (or buchette di vino) are ensconced in walls around the city; originally used to sell drinks and food at the time of the plague. Seek out the functioning few, some of which were revived at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. Negronis are the cocktail of choice in Florence, sipped in a sun-warmed piazza or at the pop-up beach bar that emerges like a mirage on the banks of the Arno each summer.
It’s hard to believe that anyone can have their fill of Florence, but if you’re curious about what lies beyond the city limits then there are plenty of easy explorations to hand. In the north, streets zigzag into the green hills stacked behind the city, past churches, grand villas and panoramic picnic spots. Sedate strolls come courtesy of the riverside walking and cycling path along the Arno, which wanderers can trace east to Girone. For a complete change of scene, Pisa and Lucca and Montecatini are within day-tripping distance by train or coach, as well as dreamy Tuscan hilltop towns such as Montepulciano.
Why book a summer holiday in Florence with Inghams?
At Inghams, we do walking holidays differently. With no fixed itinerary, you have more time in your destination and the freedom to walk as much or as little as you like, discovering some of Florence's best activities at your own pace.
With over 85 years of outdoor travel experience, our holiday packages to Florence include flights, transfers, and accommodation, so you can relax and leave the small details to us. Our experts can help you choose the best holiday for you, and our team in resort can give you the inside scoop on how to spend your time away with us.